Over the summer a girlfriend texted me and asked me if I could teach her how to do less. I chuckled to myself as I read her message because I too am the product of a culture that’s taught me that my worth is associated with how much I do. The concept of doing less is so foreign to us that we need someone to teach us how to stop all the busyness. We’re so caught up that we can’t stop ourselves.
January can be particularly noisy with messages about the importance of the hustle, the grind, putting in more hours, more effort, and more and more work. There’s a lot of talk about more.
If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “Why did I say yes to this?” or “I’ll have more time for myself when…..” then this message is for you.
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Last year when I ran the Do Less Experiment for the first time, I heard about a community who thought I’d lost my mind. They simply did not understand how doing less could be a worthy goal that would lead to anything other than their lives and businesses falling apart.
And I so get that. There are parts of me that feel that way still. But there’s a wiser, deeper part that keeps at her low whisper, lovingly urging me to steer my ship towards less.
I had a boyfriend in high school who wrote me a poem that started with the line:
Child of Atlas…
And went on to basically say that I could take the world off my shoulders now. That he promised it would keep spinning without me holding it up. (Much more poetically, but that was the general gist.)
Whether you were raised in a family where you had to grow up faster than you wanted to, you take on more than your fair share of the responsibilities at home and at work, or you feel like the wellbeing of those around you and the world at large are your job to take care of, I see you and I get you because I have also experienced all of those things.
But here’s the deal:
A little over a year ago I called my husband Mike from my multi-night trip away from our 13-month-old daughter and told him that my new direction in business was finally emerging. I told him about all of my entrepreneurial mom friends who were drowning with the weight of the world on their shoulders. I told him that my new message (for me and for them) was to do less.
He told me that was perfect because, completely independent of this conversation that we had not yet had, he had just ordered new vanity plates for our new car that said “DoLess.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
If you doubt that doing less is even possible or that it could possibly have a positive impact on your life, here’s what I want you to know:
When you do less, you have more energy, time, and enthusiasm for the things that matter the most to you. And focusing in on those catapults your results in ways that feel miraculous but turn out to be a logical result of giving what matters your attention.
When you do less, you’re more present and you actually notice the richness of your life and you automatically feel more satisfied.
When you do less, it doesn’t mean you do nothing. You simply do less – but more of what matters.
When you do less, you breathe deeper because your central nervous system isn’t all jacked up 24/7. And when you breathe deeper your parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which switches your body from stress to relaxation. Relaxed people generally feel happier than stressed-out people.
When you do less, you have more space to respond to situations in your life rather than reacting to them and saying things or doing things that you wish you hadn’t said or done. Relationships get better. You’re prouder of the kind of mother/wife/sister/co-worker/boss/friend/human that you’re being.
When you do less, your intuition gets louder and you’re able to steer the ship of your life based on a deeper wisdom than when you make decisions from the anxiety and immediacy of doing too much.
When you do less, the things you choose to do get done faster and more effectively.
When you do less, you have more space to be.
Since adopting doing less as a life philosophy, my insomnia has evaporated, I’m a way better mom, I feel way more connected to my husband, issues that I’ve needed to address for years but have been too busy to attend to have risen to be healed, and for the first time I’m taking my work in the world seriously, and I trust my voice more deeply than ever.
Quantifiable results-wise, we had our first 7-figure year as a company the very same year we made doing less our guiding philosophy, I wrote a second book in 2.5 months (and it was joyful, not grueling), we grew our team to 9 amazing people I’m super proud to work with, and we’re routinely two weeks to one month ahead of our workflow after spending years scrambling and doing things at the 11th hour.
I’m still rewiring my addiction to rushing and the constant pursuit of more, but I’m making progress – and it’s working.
Interested in experiencing the myriad benefits of doing less in your own life? Join me for the second annual Do Less Experience starting January 14th. This free, two-week event serves up bite-sized ways to do less every day so that you can practice it and see what your life is like when you do less.
I can’t promise that it’s going to revolutionize your life, but it’s pretty darn likely.
Let’s source our worth from who we are in 2018 instead of what we do. You with me? Sign up here.
How do you feel about doing less? Is this something you already practice in your life? If so, how? If not, what are the biggest fears that come up around trying it? Tell me in the comments!
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