by Stever Robbins
The following comprises excerpts from the introduction and first chapter of Get-It-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More . You can download a PDF of the entire Introduction and Chapter 1. Learn more about the book and find more downloads.
A lot of what we humans do doesn’t serve us very well. It doesn’t move us toward our goals, it doesn’t make us happy, and it makes us chip our nails and need manicures. It’s time to change that.
I’ve reduced the quest to work less and do more down to 9 simple steps. Each step will help you work less. Each step will also help you do more. Once you’ve stopped with the work that isn’t serving you, you’ll learn to do what you’re already doing, but in different ways. You’ll learn to recognize when you can get a little more oomph out of life without putting in any more oomph. In fact, you might be able to put in some “aaaahhhhh… yum” and get a little more oomph. And if that isn’t everyone’s dream, I don’t know what is! With these 9 steps you’ll be working less and doing more in no time:
Step 1: Live and Work on Purpose
If you’re anything like me, a lot of what you call work has very little to do with getting anything important done in life. Like when I compulsively check my social media sites every hour. That kind of thing must go. See more about this staff after this list.
Step 2: Stop Procrastinating
What is procrastinating except the very art of not doing the very stuff you know is most important? We’ll cover how to nip this in the bud, or at least arrange for someone to kick you into action when you’re delaying. And just in case you’re someone who claims being kicked into action doesn’t work for you, we’ll get out an Ostrich feather and tickle you into action instead.
Step 3: Conquer Your Technology
Our supposed savior, technology, is for many of us, the greatest obstacle we have to being truly productive. You’ll learn how to use your technology to help you focus, instead of… hey, hang on a second. There’s an instant message coming in.
Step 4: Cultivate Focus
Do you have any idea how much time is wasted multi-tasking? A lot. If you keep yourself focused and eliminate distractions, you can toss yourself into the kind of flow where the results come fast and easy. And you’ll do it entirely without the use of pharmaceutical supplements.
Step 5: Stay Organized
When you have a place for everything and everything in its place, it’s no work at all to find what you need, when you need it. I’m not just talking about physical clutter; this is also about organizing your thinking, your projects, and your processes. Reclaim all that time you otherwise spend hunting for the next step, the next paper, or the next person by knowing exactly where to go and what to do when you need it.
Step 6: Don’t Waste Time
Sometimes you appear to be doing exactly, precisely what you should be doing, but are actually wasting time that could be spent doing something more meaningful, like eating bon-bons and sipping fruit flavored beverages in a hammock strung between your computer and your doorframe.
Step 7: Optimize!
As I mentioned before, doing things twice bores me silly. Especially when it comes to making mistakes. In Optimize, you learn how to do things once or twice, streamline them to the point where the task is completely brainless, and… Let’s just say that I’ll leave you to connect the dots. Think, “brain-eating Zombies.” The implications will jump right out.
Step 8: Build Stronger Relationships
You can’t get there alone; you need someone to program the GPS while you’re trying to read street signs. Relationships are, ultimately, how everything gets done. Together, we can do far, far more than we can alone. For example, one of us can measure while the other mixes, and then we can both eat the cookies when they’re ready. You’ll learn some excellent ways to create and deepen the relationships that matter most.
Step 9: Leverage!
The ultimate in Doing More, our final destination of leverage will give you several ways to make sure when you do get results, you get better, stronger, and faster than you’d ever dreamed possible.
More about Step 1 … here’s the number one principle and our first step to working less in your life: Stop doing stuff that doesn’t help you reach your goals. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? It’s a shame almost no one does it. The most common way we work more and do less is by working on the wrong stuff. We spend our time doing, doing, doing, even if the doing has nothing to do with our goals, business, or life. Surely I’m not the only one who has spent five hours a day spewing one-line nonsense “status updates” on my favorite social-media Website, and then wondered why I’m running so hard just to stay in the same place.
Of course, it’s much easier to say “work on what’s important” than it is to do it. In this first step to working less and doing more we will explore how lacking clarity about our goals both at work and at home can be our doom. I will help you overcome this problem so that you never waste time working on the wrong stuff ever again — or at least not when you follow my advice. You can learn how to identify your ultimate goals for every situation and then develop a life map so you’ll know when you’re on track and when you’re just fooling yourself with busywork.
You can get hijacked into nonsense-land when you don’t know what you want. Before you can streamline life, you must know your goals. If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t make getting there effortless. When you know your destination, you can chart a course in advance. Moment-by-moment, you can make sure you’re doing things that take you where you want to go. Otherwise, all your activity is nothing more than busy-ness.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Stever Robbins is a successful entrepreneur, Harvard MBA, and MIT grad whose mission is helping people reach their dreams and be happy doing it. He loves productivity, in the service of fun. A veteran of nine startups, including FTP Software, Intuit, and HEAR Music, he authored It Takes a Lot More than Attitude and speaks on leadership, entrepreneurship, culture, and persuasion. As CEO of Stever Robbins, Inc., he coaches executives in building stronger businesses, careers, and lives.