Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Achieve More By Doing Less

"Achieve more by doing less" said Dr Wayne Dyer and suddenly I lost focus on everything else he was saying. It sounds nonsensical at first but there is a powerful truth behind this statement and it is a key success strategy whether successful people use it consciously or not.

There are several ways to achieving more by doing less and becoming super-productive. Let's take a brief look at three ways this goal can be achieved.

1. Do things in a calm, relaxed manner

When you work in a calm, relaxed manner you achieve more in less time.

Have you ever noticed how frenetic some people are in doing their activities? I once watched former 400m athlete, Roger Black, take part in a celebrity chef competition. His kitchen looked liked a disaster zone. There were ingredients scattered everywhere. He was preparing food on every surface imaginable. Sweat was pouring from his brow. He looked tense and stressed and, knowing what was going on behind the scenes, I would not have wanted to partake in the meal he was preparing.

In contrast, in another competition, a chef who in the past had found the time limit somewhat a constraint, decided to create a simple yet at the same time sophisticated starter. This meant he had more time to concentrate on preparing his main course and dessert. He appeared busy, yet unhurried. He was in control. As Gordon Ramsay of Hell's Kitchen fame said to his protégés:

"You control the kitchen or the kitchen controls you."

The dishes prepared by this chef were visually stunning and from the expressions and comments of the judges they tasted great. He was crowned "Master Chef".

There is another lesson that can be learned from this in relation to the "doing less" theme:

"Focus on the key elements of your project - the elements that will have the greatest impact on your business success."

2. Systemise

Create systems for the things you do on a regular basis. Systems may take time to install and implement but, in the long run, they will save you time, energy and money. Businesses often get up and running and then decide to adopt various systems to smooth operations. Deciding upon the systems you need upfront can be very beneficial to your bottom line. Plus, if you hire staff they will have a set of procedures to follow. This will have the added advantage of standardising what you do and make it easier to test the effectiveness of your strategies.

In some cases you will be able to use ready-made systems. However, for unique or highly specialised projects you may need something that is customised. Again, the initial outlay may be costly but, in the long term, you will recoup your investment through being able to optimise your business more efficiently. The systems you implement can then improve your business's profit margins and cash flow while reducing your work load.

3. Go with the flow

If you swim against the current you will get nowhere fast and expend a lot of energy in the process. When life feels like a constant uphill struggle it is an indication that you are probably either doing the wrong thing or doing the right thing in the wrong way. At times like this it's important to stop, reassess where you are and where you are heading. If you suspect that you are working towards the wrong goal examine your motives for doing what you are doing. Your answer may help you to discover a far easier way to achieve your goal.

If you set out on a journey and discover you are going the wrong way you wouldn't continue along the same route and expect to arrive at your planned destination. In the same way, if you discover that what you are doing isn't working, it's time to make a course correction. It may be a small issue that is affecting your progress. However, unless you review and evaluate your progress you will continue to go headlong in the wrong direction and you will continually feel as if you are doing battle. You will lose the ability to feel the joy that should be associated with your life's work.

Yes, if you're not enjoying your work, if you're not having fun, it is a clear sign that all is not well and that you're going against your flow.

Imagine a life where you thoroughly enjoy your work and where you regularly take time off to replenish your spirit and have fun doing other activities. Just think how healthy you would feel plus your creativity and productivity would soar!

Most people say that they work to earn money. The world-renowned philosopher, Bob Proctor, says you should go to work for satisfaction and that you earn money through multiple streams of income. There is also a saying that:

"The more time off you take - the more money you're likely to make".

It's a question of discovering how to work on your business rather than in it. So re-examine the way you work to see how you can "achieve more by doing less".

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