5 Steps to Doing Less


Time Magazine says there is a revolution taking place right now – a movement that is dedicated to simplifying life and becoming more mindful about our choices. It is called Essentialism. Essentialists are committed to the idea that less is more and in my last blog I talked about four great things you get from doing less and getting more. If you’re a concrete thinker, you are probably looking for some hard core steps you can take to implement those ideas, and here they are!

1. Conduct a radical life audit

Make space in your life by conducting a radical life audit. Recently I asked myself the question, “Is this life giving to me and others involved?” Am I really contributing value to this? The result was stepping down from several boards, and resigning from 2 voluntary positions.

2. Check the expiration dates

All activities old and new carry an expiry date. We’re great at starting things, not so great at ending them. What are you doing just because they are there to be done? Is their purpose fulfilled already? Doing things by habit does not always serve us well, so review the key activities in your life and their expiry date.

3. Get off!

Going away for holidays is really, honestly more recreational. Schedule a regular off-site for work. Quarterly might be too difficult at first so try bi-annual. In our company we took an offsite to Sydney, had lunch in the Rocks, brought in a management consultant and had a blast. The next time we took a day in the Gallery in Canberra.

4. Just say no

Say no to at least one good opportunity every week. Just because you’re invited to do something fun, nice, significant or worthwhile does not mean it should get an automatic yes. It is wonderfully rewarding to say no and set a boundary, then see how much time you claw back for yourself.

5. Outsource and automate

Use the four D system (do it, diarise it, delegate it, dump it) to simplify your task list. Then go through everything else seeing what you can outsource – think of Odesk tasking a person offshore to do the work while you sleep. After that, ask if anything can be automated, turned into a system and done by a computer.