Sunday, March 16, 2014

Need to Get More Done – Do One Less Thing?

"Work smarter, not harder” - Unknown (yes unknown – that was a surprise to me as well)

Huh? What the heck does that mean – do more by doing less.

Yes – that is the idea. As workers and leaders, we are burdened by too many priorities – too many things to do and as a result, work consumes you and sucks the life out of you and that can affect all other parts of life – family, relationships, money and more.

I was introduced to Dr. Tasha Eurich, author of  Bankable Leadership: Happy People, Bottom Line Results, and the Power to Deliver Both  (which I am reading and highly recommend). Dr. Eurich, who is an organizational consultant and a self-proclaimed leadership geek, shared an article that clearly demonstrates why companies pile new work on and one, when they should be focusing on what is really critical, and taking things off the priority list to be more effective. As people, we do the same in out lives – too many priorities and not focusing on the real important priorities. 

Dr. Eurich calls this the OLT Principle, which stands for "one less thing". If you want your team to be more effective and happier, encourage them to ask 3 questions about any given task. One: Can it be focused or simplified? Two: Can we delegate it? Three: Can we stop doing this? Do you know a leader who has done this in a company – likely not. Have you done this in your own life – well you can and you will be happier, more productive and grow. 

In her article, Dr. Eurich quotes studies that prove this point. One study found that half of employees believe their current workload is unsustainable. As a result, 33 percent of people start thinking about work the moment they wake up and 75 percent think about it until they go to sleep at night.
So whether you’re spending too much time at the office or taking your stress out on your family, allowing your job take over your life is a slippery slope of misery.  More scientifically, research shows that workers who experience such conflict are less healthy, less happy, and more likely to engage in passive coping behaviors like overeating, drinking, or drugs.  

From Bankable Leadership and Dr. Eurich: Want your job to stop ruining your life? Here are three tips to end the madness:

Stop Wasting Time at Work
More hours at work don’t always make us more productive. Think about a typical day in the office. You arrive, fire up your computer, and answer e-mail. Then maybe you wander down the hall to the coffee machine and leisurely pour a cup of coffee. You run into your friends and discuss last night’s football game. You wander back to your office, start a task, and get interrupted by a member of your team. And on it goes. By the time you leave at 7:00 p.m., you might have had only five to six productive hours. Do you ever wonder if there’s a better way?
We live in a society where the number of hours we spend at work can be a barometer for our self-worth. Because I spend twelve hours per day at work, we think, I must be important and valuable. This reasoning is dangerous and illogical. It is not a crime to do things efficiently; if you can get the same result in eight hours versus ten and spend two more hours with your family, do it! 

Harness the Power of Power Breaks
Just like Jim discovered, being tethered to your e-mail 24/7 isn’t a good idea.  One study examined the effect of uninterrupted work on our ability to focus. The researchers asked two groups of students to complete a forty-minute task that required concentration. One group simply completed the task. The other group was asked to stop the task and memorize a set of numbers at three points wile they completed it.
The results were striking. Even though the second group spent less time on the task, they performed better. Viewing the numbers served as a “power break”: something that let them briefly turn their attention from the task to something else.
Similarly, power breaks from work help us perform better. Certainty, it’s not easy to take a three-week vacation and lock your phone in the hotel safe. But at a minimum, carve out evenings and weekends to escape your “technology tether.” Perhaps you can’t unplug every evening—then aim for three evenings per week. If you have to work on a Saturday, don’t work on Sunday. Find what works for you.

Get Moving
There’s a great deal of evidence that exercise reduces stress—in particular, high-intensity workouts have proven effective in reducing anxiety. And recent research suggests that exercise actually decreases work-family conflict. In a study of 476 workers, Russell Clayton and his colleagues found that people who exercised regularly had less conflict between work and home. Why? They argue that exercise can be a powerful way to “psychologically detach from work.”

So, it will pay off to keep your New Year’s resolution to exercise more—not only will you look better in your jeans, you’ll have a more balanced life!

Thank you Dr. Eurich for your advice, and I hope you will heed it. It is all about taking control of your life and work, and determining to change and fix what is broken. When you do, you will be in power and control, and not be controlled. Start today! And thank you for reading this. - Dan

PS: Want a copy: Books can be ordered at  To connect with Dr. Eurich, please visit and 

Dan Moran
President & Founder
Next-Act, Division of DVG, Inc.
Career Management & Transition Specialists
Corporate Management Services

Celebrating 26 years providing career & corporate management services in 2014!
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Albany, NY 12205
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