How to Know When Less is More

May 28, 2015, Written by Haley Deprato

lessblogMy coworker and I have been working on a project. Crossroads hosted our first social media on-site training class, and we attempted to put together all of the necessary materials to make it the most beneficial 3 hours it could be.

In our preparing, we spent many hours researching, writing, designing and planning. We wanted to set up a system that could be used long after us. An e-book that could be purchased not just for this class, but for anyone wanting to make their social media marketing worth it.

However, we spent a lot of time on it. Maybe more than what is profitable this go around.

And so I’m reminded of a simple truth that I know you’ve seen hanging on a wall somewhere today: less is more.

But less is not always more. And you know that when it comes to running your own business, doing less often puts you, your family and your employees and their families in danger. Sometimes, you have to do more.

5 Indicators that Less is More

So, when is less really more? When is doing less worth it?

  1. When it stops being profitable. If you are devoting hours and hours into a project or a product and will never see a profit margin, it is literally costing you more than it is worth. Especially when factoring in opportunity costs. Think about the amount of time you are spending on that project or the amount of money you are paying an employee to spend on that project. Is it worth it to make that product just right at the expense of your time and budget? Unless it will increase profits long-term, no, it’s not. You must know when to call it quits in order to stay above margin.
  2. When it prevents your employees from growing. As a business owner, it’s easy to want to take charge and handle everything. You may feel overwhelming pressure to make sure everything is done right in order to keep the business afloat. Sometimes, you really just believe that you know how to do it best. Which may be true. But if you never delegate, your employees will never grow into the competent team members you want them to be. They will be dependent on you and unable to function without you. You must learn to do less, so that your employees can learn to do more.
  3. When you experience a diminishing return in the quality of your work. If you ever took even the basics of Econ, you know the law of diminishing returns. In this law, if one input is increased while all other inputs are fixed, a point will be reached where the input will yield a progressively smaller increase in output. To put this in practical terms, if your amount of work increases, but your time, energy, capabilities, and resources are fixed – you will eventually experience a decrease in return on that work. Your work will be less effective, lower quality, and unbeneficial to your clients/customers. When you see this start to happen, it is time to stop.
  4. When it affects your personal health. If you are working to the point of being physically, emotionally or spiritually unhealthy, it is time to reevaluate and slow down. God has called us to be good stewards of what He’s given us, and that includes our time and bodies. We are not being good stewards when we are working 70+ hour weeks and neglecting ourselves in the process. When you start to see signs of increased fatigue, stress, irritability and the like – this is past the point of doing less!
  5. When it becomes more about you than it is about God working through you. When we are consumed with always doing more, it is easy to develop a sense of pride in our accomplishments. As Christian business owners, we want to reflect God in all areas of our business. But when you take everything on all of the time, your actions are saying, “God, I’ve got this. I can handle it all.” We run the risk of “being puffed up with pride” (1 Tim. 3:6) in our abilities, rather than submission of God’s ultimate guidance, direction and authority. If you recognize false motives in your actions, or pride becoming a daily companion, turn your work over to the Lord and watch Him do “immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).

I’ve found that all things should be done in moderation: doing less and doing more. If you always do less, you will end up stagnant, lazy and ultimately unsuccessful. However, if you always do more, you will end up drained, ineffective and ultimately unsuccessful, too. Doing less isn’t always more, but there are key indicators that reveal when it is time for you to loosen the reigns and slow down.

[Tweet “You cannot do it all. But more than that, doing it all often means doing it all less effectively. “]

Take the time to evaluate where you are on these indicators, and commit to doing less when it really would mean more.

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Haley Deprato

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