#5: Getting More Done With Less (thinking)

Is it possible to actually get more done with less? Why is it that despite great advances in communication, transport and digital technology, a lot of us struggle with finding enjoyment and an authentic sense of accomplishment in daily work and life?

We briefly explore in this episode how the personal mind and our thinking can seem to create a sense of stress by distracting us away from ‘presence’.

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Transcript of episode #5

Suraj
I have with me Rani, as usual.

Rani
Hello, really looking forward to today’s episode.

Suraj
Yeah, so we have got another exciting topic to discuss today. So this is called “Getting More Done With Less”. What do you understand by getting more done with less? What comes to your mind, Rani?

Rani
I’m basically thinking about having less clutter in the mind, having less thinking going on. Anyone you talk to these days – if they are busy professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, everyone will talk about not having enough time. Every time they think about sitting down and getting through their to-do lists, something else else pops in. They might have hundreds of emails waiting for them. And most of them will be marked urgent and important. And so it seems like we have this thing going on for us where we want to do our best, we have in mind what we are going to do a particular day or that week or month, and then other things get in our way. And would it not be wonderful to be able to get everything done – everything that’s important and not worry so much about the things that we can’t seem to do. Does it make sense?

Suraj
Yeah absolutely. Isn’t it quite common to hear people moan about these days that despite all modern advances of digital technology and life getting so much easier that we still get quite stressed by the things we have to do? There seem to be more jobs than before. And people think they can’t cope.

Rani
And maybe technology is part of the problem. Because in the past, you might have received a snail mail from someone through the post, and now you get instant access to anyone through the email. And so if you, like me, if you have a email app, then again, there are times where you’re just looking through your emails, and that’s again worrying you about extra things, additional things you need to do,

Suraj
I almost get a sense we are trying to pack in more in our 24 hours then we used to in olden days, good olden days of snail mail, when you had time to respond to things, less stuff, demanding your attention. But now if you if you get an email, for example, you get a sense that there is an expectation the other person wants a reply. You have to get to it within a very short period of time, and it’s probably worse for social media, isn’t it with the instant nature of chat and conversations within it.

Rani
Yes. And if say, as a business owner or as an entrepreneur or a leader, you have Twitter or Facebook and Instagram, and then your followers are asking you questions, you also feel this obligation to respond straightaway. And think that I need to answer within the next eight hours although you already have a complete schedule, a very busy schedule. You also feel an obligation thinking that I can’t rest until I respond to that, because otherwise they might be upset about me not responding in a timely manner.

Suraj
Yes, I was talking about getting that sense of us putting ourselves under a lot of pressure of getting more things into our 24 hours. There is almost the sense of you getting reinforcement for being very prompt and responsive. For example, if you look at the Facebook business pages or something, you’d say, well, or this business is very prompt and responsive if you leave a message, and there’s always that scheme of rewarding. There’s a carrot and stick. So if you’re not responsive, then you see it as not a very good or responsive business or whatever it may be. And that can pile on a lot of pressure on businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals and the common man as well.

Rani
Yes. And when we were talking before recording this, Suraj, we were talking about having a to do list. That’s important, isn’t it? Because in a way, we do need a general sense of direction of travel. Say, for example, when you start a day, we need to just refocus or realign and say – what are the things that I need to do today, and out of all the different things, which ones are most important for me to do. So we do need that. But at the same time, we’ve also seen ourselves and also colleagues and other people we’ve served, that sometimes having a list can also burden you. You know that you have done quite a few but you’re still worrying about the ones that you still haven’t been able to get to yet. And they all have an urgent and important sign next to them – like I really need to get this done. So isn’t it interesting and fascinating that this is what we are up against. So there will be this constant sense of stress that I haven’t done enough.

Suraj
Yeah, absolutely true. You know, when you go hiking, if you want to go on a long track or hike, you have got this map of where you need to start from and where we need to get to. The map is needed. Outcome, of course, is to reach your destination, but the joy of hiking comes from the hike itself. And I think that that’s something we don’t tend to be mindful of in our day to day life. It’s almost like we’ve got this map, we want to go on a hike, but we get into this dark long tunnel looking to get to the end of it.

Rani
So are you saying that when we are looking at doing things and getting things done, we are looking at jumping to the outcome. It’s like – what’s the fastest way to get to the outcome, and we don’t seem to enjoy the journey because we think that’s not important. What’s important is the end outcome, whatever that outcome could be.

Suraj
Yeah. And I think that spoils the fun of the journey, doesn’t it?

Rani
So everything that way could become a chore. Even the business that you created because you love what you do could become a chore. We talk about everyday things that we need to do as – oh, I need to get over this, and they’re just mundane and it’s annoying and is frustrating. So what’s the answer then, Suraj? If this is what we are up against. It’s like a quick fix, isn’t it? We want to jump to the outcome and that seems more important than the process. So what’s our suggestion to our listeners?

Suraj
I was thinking about that before we got on our podcast. From my experience it is important to be clear. You do what you do. What is that expectation? Why are we after a goal? In our previous episodes, we have touched on this idea of what is constant and what is the ‘being’. When we know that we can start from that place of what is. When we get to experience that, in terms of our understanding and awareness, I think it becomes a lot easier. And we become more mindful of the journey as well as being focused on reaching, whatever outcome we’re seeking.

Rani
As human beings, we have different roles. We need to function in this world of form. And it’s important to have a general sense of where we’re heading. And some people are very, very organised. And they might have a system that works for them. Like they might have this structure in mind that every morning they spend five minutes going through their checklist. In the middle of the day, they check whether they are still going in that direction and towards the end of the day, they will say – Yes, I have done it. So some people are very organised. I’m not like that at all. But I do look into my diary. I do have a list of things in mind I know I need to do. How I see it is that there can’t be a system that everyone has to follow. No, it’s more important to follow our intuitive self and to be guided by that. And go and do what we need to do. But the other thing I wanted to say is that being human we are living in time – time, space, matter and we are time bound. We have constructed this, right? Rather than focusing on time bound activities and time bound process, what we keep pointing to is, and what I heard you say is that – let’s start looking at the timeless presence, what Is, the Now.

Suraj
Yeah, very nicely said. Before we came to this understanding of innate well being and innate health, there was this tug-of-war in my mind about the paradox of planning and that sense of presence of what Is. This sense of, we have only got this moment, this present moment and the timelessness of our existence and to go out into life – to enjoy, to do what we have to do, do what we want to do, with a sense of knowing deep down.

Rani
Going back again to the title “Getting more done with less”, we’re saying leave your mind aside.You do not have to follow your mind. Mind will generate a lot of stressful thoughts about what you should be doing in this moment. Keep coming back to what Suraj and I keep pointing to – that which is the timeless presence. Somehow we will have less in our mind and get more done. I’m sure you resonate with this, at some level.

Suraj
Want to add something about being heart-centred again, at this point in our discussion. It almost seems like the journey becomes more enjoyable and more meaningful when we are less in our minds, but more sitting and seeing our experience through our hearts. We keep bringing the same thing again and again, because it’s actually that simple. Once we get that understanding.

Rani
Simple presence.

Suraj
Yeah, absolutely. Again, the mind can’t be our friend when we’re looking to be less stressed with the things we need to achieve in a day. The mind doesn’t come to our rescue usually. Leaving the mind aside, not following what our mind says and knowing the limitations – how much the mind can support us and direct us.

Rani
The mind is good at planning. But if you allow the mind to do the worrying for you, that’s where the problem is. So use the mind for the correct thing, which is planning and organizing, and then give it a break.

Suraj
It’s about harnessing the potential of the mind in the right way, I suppose.

Rani
And getting more done with less. So thank you for listening to us. We really hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you have any questions about what we just said, if you think, umm, I’m not sure I got that, do drop us an email or connect with us through social media. All the links will be below in the show notes. But you can also come and visit our website…

Suraj
https://listeningintowellbeing.com. Thank you for listening to this episode. If you’ve enjoyed it, please feel free to share it using the social media buttons on this page. We’d also be very grateful if you could rate, review and subscribe to “Listening into wellbeing”.

Rani
Your reviews help us reach and connect with more listeners like yourself. Remember true wellbeing is always innate and constant.