Power-on with less

Leading Ladies can have very BUSY lives. Often juggling big jobs, families, hectic travel schedules, work in professional, social or community groups … as well as finding time to eat, sleep and, oh yes, exercise!

This week I read Leo Babauta’s book “The Power of Less.” Some of you might already know Babauta from his radically successful blog “Zen Habits.” Most of us could really benefit from his compelling reminder that less can really be more.

Appropriately short and simple, the book provided some tips that really helped me to have a more effective week. Among them:

  • Single-task: Women are known for their multi-tasking powers, but these should be reserved for emergencies only! Focus on one thing at a time.

So, you mean I shouldn’t write a slide deck, while being available to any of my colleagues at zero notice, while drinking a coffee, responding to phone calls and planning dinner? Sounds obvious when I say it like that.  

  • One goal: If you want to make a new habit, choose one at a time and dedicate yourself to it for 30 days. Trying to form more than one new habit at once dilutes your chances of forming any … and is harder work.    

So, the new approach to organisation, daily journaling, marathon training, paleo dieting and meditation practice shouldn’t all start as soon as possible? NO they should not. Pick one girlfriend, one. And start slowly (even if the over-achiever in you thinks otherwise).

  • Every day, identify your three Most Important Tasks (MITs) and focus on completing these above all else. Spend your most productive hours focussed on those tasks. This was a breakthrough for me! Achieving nothing more than one MIT in a day feels better than achieving a long list of less important things. Achieving 3 before 11am feels outstanding.

So I shouldn’t check emails first thing in the morning to make sure my boss hasn’t emailed me something urgent? Sound crazy? It’s the sanest thing ever.

  • Focus on completion: The goal is not to do work, the goal is to complete tasks. Better to complete one of your MITs that do 10x “other work”.

Sometimes we find ourselves juggling and dipping in and out of tasks that are partially complete. It’s simply not possible to complete tasks efficiently this way and can become quite overwhelming. See those MITs all the way through, one by one. It’s liberating.

  • Cull before you organise. Get rid of stuff before you start organising it. This goes for work tasks you shouldn’t do because they should be delegated or are unimportant to all that crap you are hoarding in your house.  

I know you’re thinking this stuff is common sense. It is. But ask yourself how much of that common sense you are successfully implementing in your life (or are you too busy?). And Babauta makes another excellent point - if you want to get better at something, read about it to motivate yourself.

Leading Ladies will always be busy, but if we just becoming 20% better at focussing on one thing at a time, through to completion and cutting out the junk … we might still be busy, but not busy chasing our tails.


Article by Toni Moyes