Doing Less Can Be a Lot More

Sometimes, slowing down is exactly what we need.

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I hear a lot of this from people doing outstanding work (and yes perhaps slight overachievers):

  • “I love my job… but I’m just exhausted.”
  • “I’m not complaining, but I just have a lot going on.”
  • “My schedule’s not a problem. I have the weekend to catch up.”
  • “I’d love more time to [fill in blank].”
  • “I’d get so much more done if I didn’t have to wait for/rely on xyz, which is out of my control.”
  • “My current work routine really isn’t sustainable…”

Moreover, in many environments, the pressure to do more with less only exacerbates this running-on-a-treadmill feeling. It’s tempting to put the onus on the institution: “This is just how it is here.”

Let me push back on that:

How did being high-performing lure (or trap) you into feeling you need to be even higher performing?

Remember: You are in control of you. And I strongly encourage you to give yourself permission to do less.

Before you start listing reasons you can’t do this, remember: Rarely does anyone make you do something (if so, I encourage you to ask yourself if you think this type of environment is what you really want).

Be accountable to yourself first. Rather than assuming more is better, ask yourself what better means to you?

When you answer that, not only are you defining meaningful success for yourself — you’re also modeling for others that we can change how the system works.

Excerpted from “Why You Should Give Yourself Permission to Do Less

Created by Molly Tschang

Originally published on

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