Why I Do “Less” (Eat, Exercise and Work) for Better Results

My general lifestyle theme for the last decade (and on this blog) has been one of practicing more simplicity in all aspects of my life.

Not because I’m trying to neglect myself of anything (that’s not that point of a simple lifestyle), but rather quite the opposite. It is because of what a more simple life can bring in return as far as happiness, sense of freedom, reduced stress and even more results.

Trust me, I still want to accomplish and do many things…but I’ve found that by simplifying the steps to get there, those results can happen quicker. I’m much more focused and efficient at what I do.

Sounds like something worth trying right? So here’s some of my reasons I continue with simple eating, exercise and working. Hopefully it will inspire you to try something new and simple in your lifestyle approach as well!

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Why I Eat “Less”

By eating “less” I’m not really talking about calorie restriction or “starving” myself, but I mean in the amount (frequency) of meals.

I like to eat when I do…no one will ever say I don’t eat (if they watch me put stuff down).

However I’m not focused on eating all day, and that has lead me to many benefits that I wouldn’t have believed if you told me 10+ years ago (as I was into the whole 6x/day mini meal philosophy…which I’m thankfully not anymore).

So those are my reasons. I have more energy, stay lean with ease, feel healthier and enjoy eating more higher quality of foods. Plus not being focused on eating all day frees up how much time I have to worry about shopping, cooking and just chewing.

I can enjoy eating when it is time to eat, but outside of that…there is more to life to go see and do!

It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential ~ Bruce Lee

I’m a fan of Bruce Lee quotes (like the one above). Simple yet powerful. Here is also a fun video I found that gives more of his philosophy.

Why I Exercise “Less”

I’ve always been active since I was a little kid, and I still enjoy doing it today. When it comes to exercise (“working out”), I used to spend hour+ in a gym 5x/week.

No more of that.

My workouts are now much shorter, and I like it that way for many reasons.

Progression (with intensity) and consistency. Those are the real keys to success over the long run. Forget how to get in shape “quick” in 6 weeks…that’s a marketing pitch to sell something. Instead focus on what simple workout you can do today, and then don’t get distracted by the rest.

Never confuse motion with action ~ Benjamin Franklin

Why I Work “Less”

When I talk about working less, I don’t mean not getting anything done (and laying around to just goof off). I’m talking about forcing myself to get more done in a shorter amount of time.

When do you think we typically get the most done? Here’s one time, the day before you go on vacation. In that day you know that you only have so much time to get certain things done, so you just do them. You ignore other things (distractions) that aren’t going to help, and you focus on what needs to be finished.

Why not use this mentality all the time?

We all have enough time during a day, it’s just how we “choose” to use it that separates us.

I’ve also found that if I give myself all day to get something done, I get distracted very easily and it just draws itself out. Now if I give myself a short period to get that same work done (a deadline), I focus and finish. Shut off the phone, don’t check Facebook, not looking at email…etc.

This is what I like to call the “burst” method. I work hard and focused in “bursts” whether it be 30 min or 2 hours…but set my limits to get stuff done (like writing this article).

Multitasking is a mindset that I don’t think works. It can’t help, as you are just jumping from one task to the next without any real focus.

Instead I choose to “single-task”. I focus on one thing only, give it my undivided attention, get it done, and then move on.

You also need to make time off to let your mind and body recover. Work hard, play hard as they say.

In the living laboratory of sports, we learned that the real enemy of high performance is not stress, which, paradoxical as it may seem, is actually the stimulus for growth. Rather, the problem is the absence of disciplined, intermittent recovery. Chronic stress without recovery depletes energy reserves, leads to burnout and breakdown, and ultimately undermines performance. Rituals that promote oscillation—rhythmic stress and recovery—are the second component of high performance. Repeated regularly, these highly precise, consciously developed routines become automatic over time. ~ The Making of a Corporate Athlete, Harvard Business Review, 2001

So find ways in your life in which you can focus more, and simplify down to the essential tasks that matter. Too many of us may just be jumping around without focus and wasting time with too many distractions. It is up to you to take back control, and ignore what you don’t need (or just control the amount of time you spend doing it).

I’m going to end with a good quote from the book Less by Marc Lesser (a very good read into being more productive with work…by doing “less”).

Our daily incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce a to-do list and tick off items by each day’s end — seem to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us. But if we approach our days in a different way, we can consciously change this out-of-control pattern. It requires only the courage to do less. This may sound easy, but doing less can actually be very hard. Too often we mistakenly believe that doing less makes us lazy and results in a lack of productivity. Instead doing less helps us savor what we do accomplish. We learn to do less of what is extraneous and engage in fewer self defeating behaviors, so we craft a productive life that we truly feel good about.

So tell me, what are YOU going to do right NOW…to help simplify your life and make it a more productive and enjoyable one? Putting off till tomorrow is just another way of not taking control right now.

CC Photo by Ihtatho

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