How I Managed Doing Less And Achieving More Productively


I reveal my secret to achieving more with less effort. It is simple and learnable. by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Imagine Mr Wise, a mature person with a similar look in this cover photo. This is a story attributed to a person who helped me rewire my brain and taste the joy in life while producing sustainably.

The title of my story may sound paradoxical, but it is a proven life-hack from my experience.

I aim to share my story and acquired insights from a distinguished research supervisor who helped me understand the importance of focus on situations that truly mattered in my life.

Applying the learning empowered my professional, leadership, and writing endeavours substantially. The empowerment was sustainable.

My purpose in this story is to emphasize three points:

  • the benefits I gained from my life hack,
  • how to apply the simple principle of “doing less achieving more” and
  • explain how I turned it to a productive habit in my life.

Doing less and achieving more is a principle I learned in the early 90s during my postgraduate studies. One of our senior lecturers, who was also one of my doctoral research supervisors, taught me to focus on essential tasks to complete my scholarly assignments on time.

Due to the nature of research-based studies, one can easily be distracted and digress to a myriad of other attractive ideas and diverse content, not necessarily core to the fundamental idea of the research at hand.

As the Internet was new in those days, I had the privilege of freely accessing many invaluable publications in the body of academic knowledge globally. My brain was loaded with excessive dopamine. The hormonal imbalance was evident in my frenetic behaviour.

I was overloading my brain unnecessarily and unconsciously. Most of the information and knowledge I were sucking my mental power. They had minimal merit to support my big goal.

I fell in love with libraries. They were my heaven.

However, libraries were slowly poisoning my perfection-hungry brain. by Free-Photos from Pixabay

My silver-headed wise supervisor recognised my stress symptoms. He knew the root causes as he had been there and done that.

Each time when we met, my supervisor asked me what important tasks I planned to undertake on that day. He kept asking me about my priorities and wanted to review them. He provided instant feedback.

He was like a god-sent angel, disguised in human form, to me. He emphasized some points with care and compassion. He pointed out that my key focus must be to complete my studies on time “effortlessly”.

The word effortlessly was paradoxical and sounded too good to be true.

Because of his demonstrated wisdom, I started calling him Mr Wise. He did not mind this nickname.

He taught me two ask two simple yet powerful questions.

With his guidance and encouragement, I started prompting myself with this question each day:

“Is this important?”

This simple question made a huge impact on my progress.

Mr Wise also taught to ask another powerful question. He wanted to ask this question each morning when I woke up:

“What results do you want to achieve today”.

When I asked this question in the mornings, Mr Wise wanted me to jot down the answers on a piece of paper quickly. He wanted me to carry the piece of paper with me and check the points during the day.

He suggested that if something was not on the list, and unless that point is urgent or critical at the time, his request was to ignore, delay, delegate, or schedule the specific point so that I could act on it at another time.

I came across many interesting things and had the urge to act on. But I paused and remember what to do. After ignoring or delaying those interesting but unnecessary things, they transformed into an unimportant category.

By practising to delay unimportant things, I learnt that leaving things to time sometimes could be magical. Our perspectives change as time goes.

Mr Wise’s principle transformed my focus from perfection into wisdom.

His wisdom helped me rewire my brain day by day. by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It took me a while to get used to this empowering discipline. However, with repetitive and caring guidance from Mr Wise, I turned this principle to a habit.

I felt that my brain was rewired. It was noticeable from my behaviour. And Mr Wise noticed it.

With this novel and habitual approach, I achieved to reduce my stress stemming from my work, studies, and family commitment happening in parallel.

I learnt that focusing on only the things that truly mattered have significantly reduced the unnecessary load I used to carry prior to meeting Mr Wise.

What was my core issue?

Since I loved learning new things and explored new ideas each day, I was quickly digressing to many different unrelated areas.

I was striving for perfection in knowledge acquisition. This natural human tendency was creating unnecessary stress for me. A great deal of stress!

Unfortunately, I was unaware of this accumulating stress and did not know the ramifications. The stress was causing extreme muscular pain. My body was in an inflamed state. When tested, my inflammation biomarkers depicted excessive stress in my body. My cortisol level skyrocketed.

Being in the guidance of Mr Wise was a privilege for me.

It was wonderful to be observed from a trained observer, to be diagnosed correctly, and to be treated with care and compassion.

I am still grateful and remember the magical words of Mr Wise on each thesis review sessions who successfully helped me rewire my brain sustainably.

As a giveback, I am now passing on this invaluable learning to my friends, colleagues, proteges, and readers hoping to make a real difference in their lives.

I want to outline practical tips for setting priorities because this simple action made the biggest difference in my progress.

One of the key points Mr Wise helped me understand was the importance of 80/20 rule in making my priorities.

I also learnt from him not to manage time but to manage my priorities based on my goals.

His words were wisely echoing in my ears that time was not manageable.

Learning to complete small tasks in a systematic priority order methodically and in agility helped me to complete my research, write my thesis, and submit my dissertation on time.

Before knowing these simple principles, submitting a dissertation with over 200,000 words looked a mammoth task, almost like pie in the sky.

Mr Wise’s principles helped me to focus on writing 100 words per day rather than worrying about 200,000. It was like eating the proverbial elephant bite by bite deliciously when my appetite was on. If one’s appetite is not there eating can be hard work.

In addition, I applied the principle of “to do less and to achieve more” in my professional work, writing practice, and leadership ventures.

Applying the principle of "doing less and achieving more" to my daily work helped me become effective at work. This simple principle contributed me to become a recognized leader in my field. More importantly, with reduced stress, I tasted a joyful life.

This simple yet effective principle helped me transform into a more stoic and satisfactory lifestyle. It was sustainable. Nowadays, I love doing less and achieving more effortlessly each day.

Since it is so important to learn this principle, I highly recommend this approach to all my readers who want to achieve more with less stress and more joy.

Thank you for reading my perspectives.

If you enjoyed this story, you may check my other mental health, productivity, and self-improvement articles published on News Break.

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Perspective To Living With Joy In Six Steps

Sustain Your Motivation and Produce Like A Boss In These Challenging Times

One Simple Point Helped Me Reduce My Elevated Cortisol

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I write about important and valuable life lessons. My ultimate goal is to delight my readers. My content aims to inform and engage my readers. Truth, diversity, collaboration, and inclusiveness are my core values. I am a pragmatic technologist, scientist, postdoctoral academic and industry researcher focusing on practical and important life matters for the last four decades.


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