The Key to Having More Time is Doing Less

Jun 27, 2023

Are you tired of just trying to get through your days and feeling discouraged that you seem to be further and further behind?

When you have too many things that are 'must do's' and it always feel like you're letting work and your family down.

Or perhaps you want to stop feeling the constant pressure to do more and stress from all the time commitments.

So you can feel more balanced and be present and enjoy your time with your kids and a slower pace.

Or maybe you want to get back to being strategic and focusing at the right level at work. Everything feels like a priority, you're in the weeds and you don't have time for it all.

You feel overwhelmed and worry that you're a bottleneck and if you don't support your team when they need, they will have to wait on you.

If only you had MORE time for it all.

Sound familiar?

But here's the thing. The key to having more time is doing less.

And if you want more balance, less stress and to be your best at work and at home, it's time to get serious about making this shift.

This analogy below has been a big 'aha' for many attendees in my recent workshops and can help you re-think your time and priorities, so I want to share it again with you . . .

"What's in your carry-on?"

On a family trip to Toronto back in December, we decided to only pack carry-on luggage.

It would be quicker to go through the lines at the airport and eliminate time waiting at the baggage claim. Plus, we’d have less to tote around the city as we hopped from Ubers to hotels.

Not to mention that we would also be in control of our luggage (which sounded appealing after hearing so many stories of lost baggage at airports)!

But it also meant a bit of extra thinking and planning about what to pack.

I started thinking about how taking a carry-on on a trip is a lot like prioritizing your work week.

Most people’s work weeks are an overstuffed 50-lb suitcase. Maybe even two suitcases!

The traditional thinking is that, in order to keep up with all the demands, you have to work harder and do more (and more).

But this often leads to being overloaded and exhausted, which hurts your performance, mental health and relationships.

In order to be truly effective, plan to do less – and understand that you can accomplish more this way because you are focused and get to the heart of what really matters.

Instead of all the non-stop “busy” work.

This can be a hard concept to wrap your head around, yet can yield dramatic results in your happiness, sense of balance and performance when you put it into practice.

What if you approached your workload for the week like you could only fit it in a carry-on?

  • What critically important tasks or projects would you keep, where you add the highest value
  • What meetings would you attend? What is a necessity you must do, no matter what?
  • What is something you’re good at and enjoy – that’s like your favorite sweater – you want to ensure you bring?

More importantly, what would you NOT pack?

  • What are the projects, tasks, and meetings that aren’t the best use of your time (delegate or say ‘no’)?
  • What steals your attention from important work, or stresses you out that isn’t going to make the cut
  • Where do you complain, procrastinate or get sucked into drama that you just no longer have room for?

The reason this analogy works so well is that you would be FAR MORE selective and thoughtful about what you say ‘yes’ to and what you say ‘no’ to.

You would make sure you pack what’s important.

And you would be more willing to let go of that extra pair of pants – a.k.a that meeting you don’t really need to attend.

Doing less not only helps you focus on the right things, it also gives you space to think, play, breathe, rest, and be present in other important areas of your life.

Yes, it takes a bit of time upfront to prioritize, but you will more quickly accomplish what’s important, waste less time on what doesn’t matter, and be more in control of your workload. Plus it feels way better.

So, if you were to consider your work week an overstuffed suitcase, and you could only keep a carry-on size worth, what would you pack?

Let's make it smaller. When you look at your week ahead, what is ONE thing you would pack above all else and ONE thing you do NOT have room for?

And if you'd like help to take control of your workload and balance your life so that you can have more time for what really matters to you . . .

Send me an email and I can send you the details. I am currently enrolling clients for September and I am around for a couple more days before vacation.

This could be the perfect time for you to get serious and make a decision to no longer settle for the way things are now!

All my best,

What Next?


Wherever you are on your journey, I'm here to support you in the way that works best for you!

1. Discover how professionals who have it all - great life balance AND high performance - operate behind the scenes. Hint, to have it all you have to stop doing it all! Click here to access this free training.

2. If you are a professional woman who wants to take control of your workload, balance your life and be your best at work and at home (even with all the demands and messiness of everyday life), book a complimentary call and we can see if The Balanced Leader™️ is right for YOU. 

3. I also offer speaking presentations, workshops and coaching programs to support leaders and teams in creating more balance, less stress and high performance. Book a complimentary call or contact me here to discuss bringing this in for your organization.

4. Follow me on your favorite social media platform whether it's LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook for ideas, inspiration and real-life lessons.  I hang out mostly on LinkedIn!


Stacey L. Olson is a Leadership and Certified Positive Psychology Coach, has 15 years of corporate experience and has gone through her own transformational change from burning out to balanced in life while performing at a high level (both in her corporate career and own business). She works with professionals who want to work less, live more and be their best even with all the demands, high expectations and messiness of everyday life. Stacey is the founder of The Balanced Leader™ program and offers executive and leadership coaching, workshops, and speaking. 


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