Time Management: Do More by Doing Less
You’ve been putting in 12-hour days for the past month, yet you feel as if you still haven’t made a dent in that big project you need to finish. You’re tired, overwhelmed, and distracted — and wish you could figure out a more efficient way to get things done.
Sound familiar? Here's one simple suggestion: Do more by doing less. That’s right, by tackling that huge job in daily increments instead of all at once, you may actually finish it faster.
You see, the bigger the pursuit, the harder it can be to get your arms (or head) around it in one sitting. This is particularly true when you’re running a small business and getting besieged by distractions.
Experts suggest blocking out short periods to concentrate on the small, specific tasks that make up the larger whole. Doing this on a regular basis enables you to:
- Avoid feeling as if you’re turning your back on your everyday responsibilities
- Avoid feeling as if you’ll never finish
- Feel good reflecting on how much incremental progress you’ve made
Tackling a big project in small steps is also the most realistic approach to completing it, given your likely quite busy schedule. For many entrepreneurs, it’s rare to be able to devote a whole day, a weekend, or an entire week to a single endeavor.
But, if you work on a project only sporadically, you lose time refreshing your memory about the details your brain dumped when you set it aside. By blocking out time to tackle incremental tasks more frequently, you eliminate this time-wasting “warm-up period” because the details remain fresh in your mind. This can make you more productive.
Working in bursts also helps you eliminate much of the pressure you may be putting on yourself to complete the whole project. That’s because you don’t have to accomplish a great deal all at once in order to cross smaller items off your to-do list.
Also, because you’re working frequently on your big task, it’s never really out of your mind, even when you're doing something else. This makes it more likely you’ll spot opportunities, make better choices, and be able to apply new trends to your big task.
So, do more by doing less. By tackling big projects in small, manageable increments, you’ll finish your business or marketing plan, operating budget, advertising campaign, or whatever else you’re working on — perhaps even before you anticipated.
Robert Moskowitz is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.