Do Fewer Things, Better | Ross Gibbs


Do you ever take on too much?

Trying to do it all and getting hardly anything done the way you internalized it? Here’s a visual to illustrate the point: Do you ever go to a trampoline park and jump in the ball pits? Most companies operate by taking on everything in the pit.

Everything seems important. However, I’ve found that when everything’s important, nothing’s important.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly endless rotation of tasks and responsibilities that life is throwing at you, the last thing on your mind is to do fewer things. However, that’s almost always exactly what needs to happen. Trying to overload your schedule doesn’t make you more productive; it makes you less effective.

The truth is that it is not our time that is limited each day; it is our energy. In their book, “The One Thing,” Gary Keller and Jay Papasan explain that given this is true, it is essential to streamline and prioritize your values and long-term goals. They cite the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto’s theory, which is commonly known now as the 80/20 rule. The principle is simple: identify the 20% of tasks that generate the most value and then invest your energy on them.

Yes, prioritizing can be tricky, but if you think in terms of moving the needle like an earthquake moves the Richter scale needle. In other words, if those few things don’t get done, then you will not have advanced the needle. Don’t get me wrong, the other things are essential and still can get done, but not before the few that absolutely must get done.

Let’s say I wanted to build a house, and my priority is to protect myself (objective or goal) from the elements as quickly as possible, but only the walls are up. For full protection, I’ll also need a roof, windows and doors. Therefore, those three items would be your essential priorities for achieving your objective. Anything beyond your roof, windows and doors is a nice to have, but not necessary.

Focus on the three to seven most important items that align with your goals and objectives each quarter and year. The key is to simplify your goal planning process — and have all your arrows pointing in the same direction.

It seems that most successful people agree the less you do with greater focus, the more impactful, accomplished, and fulfilled you’ll be. Now, go and do fewer things better; and, rid yourself of the “everything must get done” mentality.

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