It is mid-summer, and many people are on vacation. My schedule has no external meetings, only many phone conversations, and an enormous task list. It is beautiful weather, and I question myself; can I do all that work in half the time, hence allowing more time for myself and my family?
Based on that question I decided to do a little experiment over the last week. Can I indeed do the same amount of work in half the time? To do so, I need to be more effective, make decisions faster and eliminate distractions. If I succeed, I will have more time for other things, like simply enjoying the weather, sharing more time with my family or doing one of the long overdue tasks in the house and garden.
As a first step, I blocked half of my calendar with the appointment “do other things”. This created a visible entry in my calendar, reminding me of an appointment I had – an appointment with myself. Secondly, I forced myself to be more effective in my execution. Next, I decided to unsubscribe every newsletter that was coming in that I was not really reading and I turned off all distractions caused by all kind of notifications from computer and iPhone apps.
I time blocked certain activities following the Pomodoro* technique, and I decided to act on some difficult decisions that I was dragging along. These decisions involved stopping activities about which I communicated in an open and transparent way to the people involved.
The results? The decision to stop an activity resulted in a request for a proposal for an activity that fits perfectly within my core focus. I finally allowed myself time for a long overdue task in the garden and I had time to spend more time reading. I watched some films on Netflix and spent more time with the family. In the end, I worked on average about 5 hours each day, I got more done and even had time and space to think about new developments.
So, is less more? Yes. The experiment taught me that by working fewer hours, I need to force myself to be more effective and make decisions faster. Hence I even get more done.
Is it sustainable? Only time will tell! It will be more difficult in a week with external meetings in my schedule that require me to travel. But I will continue to work on it, simply because I like the payoff for myself, my family and my customers.
Could less be more for you as well?
PS: I’m currently reading Exponential Organizations* by Salim Ismail, a very interesting read about “Why new organizations are ten times faster, better, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it).“