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Embracing Intentional Living: The Power of Doing Less

My bookshelf is lined with books on improving productivity. My Google search history is full of terms like "time blocking" and other hacks to get more done. I’ve spent countless hours listening to podcasts on high performance while driving so my time isn’t “wasted.” Despite all of this, I found myself burnt out, exhausted, easily overwhelmed, full of frantic energy, unproductive, and feeling chaotic and ungrounded most of the time. You can imagine what a pleasant person I was to those closest to me—not very.

What I’ve learned again and again is that the cure is not to find ways to do more in a limited time but to do less. It’s about being realistic with what I can accomplish, recognizing that every time I say yes to something, I’m saying no to potential opportunities that may come up. It’s about figuring out what I can take off my plate and delegate to others. It’s about building in time, no matter how short, for rest and restoration. It’s about doing less but doing that less with intention and being present in the moment.

We live in a culture that glorifies constant productivity. The idea that we must always be doing something, improving something, or learning something is ingrained in us. We are taught that to be valuable, we must be busy. But this relentless pursuit of productivity often leads to burnout and dissatisfaction. Instead of feeling accomplished, we end up feeling overwhelmed and disconnected.

After reaching a point of burnout, I realized that my approach to productivity was flawed. More tasks and more hacks were not the answer. The key to a fulfilling and balanced life lies in doing less but doing it with intention. It means being selective about what we take on and recognizing our limits. This realization was a turning point for me.

Below I have created five practical and small steps to help you start doing less:

1. Set Realistic Goals: Don't overload your to-do list, set realistic and achievable goals. Focus on what truly matters and let go of the rest.

2. Learn to Say No: Every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. Be mindful of your commitments and don’t be afraid to say no to things that don’t align with your priorities.

3. Delegate Tasks: Identify tasks that can be delegated to others. Trusting others to help not only lightens your load but also fosters collaboration and teamwork.

4. Schedule Rest and Downtime: Make this a non-negotiable part of your schedule. Even short breaks can have a significant impact on your well-being and productivity.

5. Be Present:  Whether it’s a work task, a conversation, or a moment of relaxation, do it with intention and be fully present in the moment.

Truthfully, I don’t know if I will ever fully master the art of doing less, but it’s something I will recommit to working on as often as I can. It’s an ongoing journey of finding balance and being kind to myself. By focusing on doing less with intention, I am gradually finding more peace, fulfillment, and connection in my life.

In a world that constantly pushes us to do more, it’s essential to step back and reevaluate our approach to productivity. True productivity is not about cramming more tasks into our day but about doing less with greater intention and presence. By embracing the power of doing less, we can create a life that is not only more manageable but also more meaningful.

So, let’s take a deep breath, slow down, and give ourselves permission to do less. Let’s focus on what truly matters, be present in the moment, and find joy in the journey.


Stacey Jo

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