I love to read business books on how I can improve my productivity – especially when it comes to saving time. A recent blog from Money Meaning & Beyond highlighted the concept of only putting in the minimum level to achieve the same result – not just at work but in life.
People are creatures of habit. After doing things the same way for so long, it can take a little shock treatment for us to stop.
However it’s important that we do, because far too many of us are chronically tired and overworked, yet are still trying harder to do more with their energy and time.
The old way of thinking and old habits can be very costly – to both the success of your work and your overall happiness.
Do you invest too much energy into tasks that aren’t worth it? Are you using a lot of time on a project that could be done with much less?
If you have a thumb tack in front of you, you wouldn’t use a power tool to put it in, right? It would be a massive, disproportionately powerful tool to get the result you want.
This can be a difficult one, but try to develop an awareness of how to apply just the right amount of energy and resources to the appropriate tasks.
If you’re used to providing a full-fledged proposal for a client, would a two-page summary work just as well? Do you send over five possible ideas for how to ‘redo the living room’ when three would be equally delightful to your clients?
When you write emails, do you always proofread and double-check before you send out? If you’re doing a series of follow-up calls that are administrative in nature, could an assistant do the trick?
You get the picture. Experiment with the minimum level.
Based on experience, we estimate people waste an average of 20-30% on tasks that would be just as complete if they’d leave well enough alone.
Seeking the minimum level definitely goes against the grain at first, because we are used to working hard, and racing to keep up. But give it a go – what have you got to lose? And think of what you can gain…