You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘less is more’. It’s one of the main principles of the minimalist philosophy, and it can be applied to anything in life, including your business.
According to minimalism, simplifying things can make our lives easier. There’s too much complexity these days because of information overload, which perpetuates the fear of missing out. The fact that a new product or technology is designed and a new startup is started almost every minute somewhere in the world and everyone has tens of tasks on their daily lists , there are countless distractions that prevent us from doing our work.
All of this is overwhelming. We are taught to always want more — more information, more goals and dreams, more desires, more people around us, more attention, more followers on social media, more money in the bank, more stuff in our home, more thoughts on our mind, and so on.
The big picture gets scary. But we are the ones who make it all overly complex. However, if we unlearn this behavior of always choosing more, we can get back to a simpler and happier form of living and finally find some peace of mind in the chaos of everyday life.
Less is actually more because it reduces unnecessary stress and worry and removes all of the unimportant tasks, people, and belongings in one’s life. Then there’s room for more freedom, more contentment, more meaning, and more focus. These are the things we live for, after all. And the beauty of all this is that once we go for the less of anything, we actually start getting more done and see some fantastic results.
Here are a few areas in life where choosing less is the better option that will actually increase your productivity:
1. Fewer Meetings Mean More Work Done
Today, we can do business in a smarter way, and meetings are actually an unproductive activity.
The truth is, nothing really gets done there; there’s rarely a clear agenda, and people need time to prepare for meetings mentally and then to concentrate on work again after them. That takes their attention away from what’s truly important in any business — getting things done.
So if you’re looking for ways to optimize the way you work and you want your employees to do a better, more focused job, eliminate meetings or have them as rarely as possible.
Too much unnecessary information is discussed there anyway, and no one really leaves with a step-by-step plan on what to do next when they’re over.
2. Fewer Expectations, More Acceptance
Expecting something means we create an ideal of how things should be in our head, and the reality rarely meets it. We also expect for people to behave in a certain way and for life to turn out exactly the way we want it.
What does this lead to? Disappointment, dissatisfaction, misery.
Not anymore. If you simply let go of expecting, over time, you can replace it with acceptance. This means that you’ll be okay with people and things the way they are, you will enjoy them more, and you will now have a clear mind to focus on your work and goals in life.
So stop expecting too much and start accepting and living more.
3. Stop Planning, Start Doing
Planning too much can often cause trouble. So another way to radically simplify your life is to just ditch it and focus on taking action instead.
To plan is to imagine what will happen in the future, to overthink it, to try to see what might go wrong and prepare. All that, in the world of minimalism, is absolutely unnecessary.
What we should all be doing, really, is working on the task in front of us and thus getting closer to our goals. So instead of living in the future, be here right now and get to work.
4. Fewer Decisions, More Time
Decisions take time. But the ones we face daily can be automated. Here’s what I’m talking about:
You can decide now what you most like eating for breakfast and start consuming it every day. You can even prepare enough for it over the weekend so that you won’t need to think about it again during the week. Imagine how much time you’ll save.
What about choosing what to wear every morning? Some people waste half an hour, or more, just to make that decision. And, honestly, the more they think about it, the harder it gets.
But Steve Jobs used to wear only black, and he only had one main outfit that he put on every morning. Mark Zuckerberg does something similar. You’ll only see him in plain clothes, usually in one out of three or so colors.
People like that can’t afford to waste time and energy on such average situations and, most importantly, on decisions that can be easily automated. Instead, a creative mind should be engaged with thoughts about the next big idea, customer satisfaction, or growth strategies.
So automate what you can in your life, and you’ll make things much simpler; you’ll also free up more of your time for better things.
5. Fewer Goals, More Progress
Having too many goals at once is why New Year’s resolutions fail and why some companies are never great at one thing but average at a few things.
We’re just not made for such complexity. Our minds work much better and faster when there are just one or two things on the table and we give them our whole attention and focus.
So even in terms of goals, don’t aim for more. Choose less but be sure you can reach them pretty quickly, and the results will be more satisfying. After that, you can move on to the next thing on your list.
What other aspects of your life can you think of in which less is actually more?
Originally published 9/22/16.