What if the secret to productivity is doing less, not more?
We have more distractions than ever before.
We have to manage multiple social media accounts, check our email, reply to text messages, and navigate the ability to always be connected and work anywhere anytime because of the powerful computers in our pockets that we call a phone.
I’ve been reading a lot about productivity this year.
Everything is about how to get more done. How to optimize your time so you can work harder.
Seriously, I read a book that suggested sleeping only four hours a night so you could get up super early and outwork everyone. What a terrible idea!
It’s always more, more, more.
And I cannot help but feel that all these productivity “gurus” are wrong.
Yes, you could do more. We could always do more. But doing more doesn’t equal productivity. In fact, I believe many of us are less productive than ever because we are doing too much.
Doing too much decreases the quality of our work. So although we may get “more” done, all we have accomplished is more mediocrity.
What if instead of doing more, you did less?
What if you took a hard look at your life and decided just to stop doing all the stuff that didn’t move the needle?
Do you have to be on social media? Do you need to respond to every email?
I’m a believer of the 80/20 rule. It says that 80 percent of our work gets 20 percent of the results, and 20 percent of the work gets 80 percent of the results.
That tweet that you spent 15 minutes working on, and had two likes, got practically zero results. But that big project you finished moved your organization forward.
Over the last month, I have seen this work in my life. Nothing moves the needle for my ability to help more pastors like writing a book.
I have been writing my upcoming book for months, but as I moved toward the finish line, I had way too much going on. I was not going to finish this massive project any time soon because I was so distracted by less important things.
So I hit the pause button. I put everything that I could on hold or autopilot for 30 days. I still had responsibilities that I could not set aside, but I intentionally procrastinated on many things until later.
The results? I finished the final edits of the book, finalized the cover design, and finished recording and editing the audiobook. It’s all set to launch next week!
In 30 days, I was able to do more to move the needle on my book project than I would have in 90 days otherwise. I went from an incomplete manuscript to a finalized, physical book in my hand.
Here’s my point: Pastors fall into this trap so fast that it’s not even funny.
We have to answer the phones, check email, manage social media, write sermons, deliver sermons, create slides, create videos, manage volunteers, create graphics and promotional materials, manage people, visit hospitals, teach classes, lead small groups, create small group materials, balance the budget, change the lightbulbs, plan outreach events, plan mission trips, and anything else the day throws our way.
What if you just stopped. What might happen if you dropped everything you don’t need to do and only did the things that make the biggest impact?
We can get so caught up in doing good things that we neglect doing great things.
So eliminate, delegate and automate everything else, and (as Andy Stanley says) only do what only you can do.
You will get 100 percent more done by doing less than you will ever get done by doing more.
Plus, you will make room for others to use their gifts to serve in the positions you have been occupying.
Stop trying to do more. Do less better.