How Doing Less Will Give You What You Want

By applying a simple principle to my life I’ve been able to increase my output while doing less. I’ve written this text so that you can learn in a few minutes what took me years to figure out.

The principle is based on evidence that people are biased towards adding rather than removing when they want to increase the value of something. (The evidence is supporting the hypothesis that we have a bias towards adding in problem solving. I’m extrapolating that evidence to the ”problem” of increasing something’s value.)

For example if you write a report, you might believe that making the text longer will increase its value. If you’re organizing your wardrobe you might think that buying a new shirt will improve it.

However in many cases removing rather than adding will be more beneficial. It might be better to remove words from the report. For example unnecessary adjectives or even whole paragraphs. It can make it easier to read and help you convey your message more effectively.

In the wardrobe example it could be better to give away a piece of clothing to charity. In addition to the assumed positive external effect of the charity, removing clothes can add value to the wardrobe itself. With less clothes in it, it could become easier for you to find what you’re looking for. This can improve the value of your existing clothes.

The great thing about this principle is that it not only applies to projects and work but to anything in life. You can apply this to your circle of friends for example. If you have any friends that are a net negative for you, ending that relationship might be more beneficial than adding a new one. If you have any bad habits, removing those might be better than adding good habits.

What It Did For Me And What It Can Do For You

This principle has helped me become more productive and less stressed. I’m saying no to more things both in my personal life and at work. I say no to social gatherings that I don’t really feel like going to. I say no to meetings that I don’t see the point in attending. It frees up a lot of time. The expression ”saying yes to something is saying no to something else” puts the finger on my attitude.

You can inverse the expression: ”saying no to something is saying yes to something else”. It has given me energy and time to focus on the relationships and projects that I value the most.

In my personal life it means spending more time with my favorite people. And professionally I have a bigger impact. It’s fantastic. I achieve more with less time. In addition to the improved output, it brings me peace of mind.

I encourage you to ask yourself the following question if this is something you want to try in your own life. Instead of adding something, what can I remove to make things better? Which relationships? Which habits? Which responsibilities? Which belongings?

Removing things will make your life leaner. It can improve your peace of mind. It can also have a positive financial impact for you (further reducing stress levels.) It can reduce your expenses and improve your wealth creation.

What do you think would have the biggest positive impact on your life if you removed it? Please post in the comments below.

One response to “How Doing Less Will Give You What You Want”

  1. […] make things more complex than necessary. Unfortunately this goes against human intuition and we are biased against simple solutions. So this will take active work to achieve, at least […]

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