Doing More with Less: Six Simple Tips!

By Colleen Kettenhofen

“Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can only be felt if you don’t set any condition.” Arthur Rubinstein

Could you use tips on how to be more efficient and, -effective—how to just get things done by doing more with less?

Initiate these six simple, techniques immediately and see your productivity soar:

  1. Practice patience and perseverance. In this age of mobile phones, tweeting, and texting, it’s easy to want what you want when you want it—and that’s now. It isn’t only two year olds who demand instant gratification. It seems no one is willing to wait anymore. Yet whether it’s vying for a promotion at work or starting a business on the side, anything worth accomplishing still requires perseverance and patience.

As I ran behind a fellow jogger while on the shores of Lake Michigan a few summers ago, I read the slogan on the back of her t-shirt and still remember it. It said: “Miracles Require a Lot of Hard Work.” A great reminder!

  1. Discover how to overcome procrastination once and for all. Doing this will help you get—and stay—motivated. Why? Studies show the longer you procrastinate, the harder it becomes to get started. I believe that, deep down, most people know what things will improve their lives but put off doing them. Whether it’s getting rid of extras in the closets, sorting through the desk drawer, or cleaning up your eating habits, don’t wait. By procrastinating, you “clutter” your minds further by thinking about what you “should” be doing. If you can’t do it now, make a plan. And follow it!
  2. Stop doing everything yourself. Even if it means hiring a high school student to do the menial tasks—I know what you’re thinking. “If I want it done right, I might as well do it myself.” Or, “In the time it will take to train someone, I could have had it finished.” Yes, you can “do it all,”—but only for so long. Eventually, the stress will catch up to you and you could find yourself spending more time accomplishing less. Delegate!
  3. Edit your to-do list. As my mother used to say, “Take it in baby steps.” If you must do everything yourself (and these days, few organizations are replacing people who leave), at least do some of the work right away. At a minimum, commit to what you will accomplish today both in writing – and verbally to someone you trust. Then, step back,–and cut down your “to-do” list the best you can. If you select two projects to finish by a certain time, do them to the best of your ability rather than rush through four projects and not be happy end the end! Why? Studies show that, due to unforeseen interruptions, it takes 25% longer to complete a project than you think it will. So, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, be realistic about what you can get done today.

No matter the number of projects on your plate, do this: Move everything off your desk except the one you’re working on. Then, concentrate on it single-mindedly. Give it the full attention it deserves. After it’s done, proudly strike it off your list!

  1. Practice positive thinking. I read that the number one thing people want to change in the New Year is adopting a more positive attitude. Consider this: Your thoughts lead to words; your words lead to actions; your actions determine your approach to your relationships, career, family, and everything else. So think about what you’re thinking about, whether it’s positive or negative. Then pick positive!

I confess to being a worrier. How ironic since part of my job is helping people become more productive, positive, and patient with others! I’ve consistently tried to break my worrying habit and, 90 percent of the time, I’m able to pause and ask, “What’s the best that can happen?” Doing this works! After all, worrying is wishing for what you don’t want. Plus it doesn’t solve anything nor does it add a single day to your life. Again, become aware of your thoughts. Your reward? People like being around you!

  1. Eat healthy foods and exercise to feel happy. Studies have shown that junky foods produce junky, negative thoughts. When you feel better physically (–and exercise gets those endorphins going), –you become happier mentally. See your doctor to find out what kinds of vitamins and minerals you should be taking. Start your morning with protein for mental acuity and to stabilize your blood sugar. Increase your daily intake of  fruits and vegetables. Drink more water. If you’re under a time crunch (who isn’t these days?), grab raw nuts such as almonds or pumpkin seeds for protein and iron. And keep moving!

Bring these six new habits into your life and you’ll accomplish your goal of doing more with less every day!


Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace employee and management expert, corporate speaker, and career turnaround specialist. She recently interviewed more than 200 managers and CEOs for her new book, Secrets Your Boss Isn’t Telling You. A media expert, she has appeared on numerous radio shows and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. She has published 10 audio programs and two books, available on her website To have Colleen improve productivity in your organization through her keynotes, seminars, and workshops, call, (971) 212-0479 in Portland, OR.