Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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Five Ways to Get More Done With Less Work

We all want to do more in less time. There are many things we can do to help us accomplish this goal, but it is important that we don’t sacrifice the quality of our work.

How many hours of the day do we spend doing things that don’t matter? It’s time to regain control.

These suggestions show you how to use your limited time more effectively and simplify your life.   By following these tips, you’ll be able to get more done in less time and focus more on what really matters.


How can we optimize our workflow and increase productivity?

1. Delegate and outsource. Many people look at their workdays and wonder how they can get more done in less time. Delegating and outsourcing can be tough, but it’s worth the effort.

A person might not always have time for all of the projects they want to accomplish, or they may lack the resources necessary to achieve certain goals that need completing.

You can only do so much alone, so ask for help! You will be able to accomplish much more with less time and effort when you work with other talented people. You may be able to ask a colleague for help or consider hiring your own virtual assistant.

Having an assistant can help you regain your time and save your energy, so you can get important tasks done. Give your assistants tasks that align with their skills.  You also may find it helpful to have someone working with you on a shared task or goal.

When we assign responsibilities to others, then they are responsible for completing the job.  They may not do it the way we would do it.  They may do it better.  If they can do it at a lower opportunity cost and faster, that means more free time for you.


2. Stop doing what doesn’t matter. One great way to get more done in less time is to stop. That’s right, stop spending time on the tasks that don’t matter and focus on what is most critical. Review last year’s and last month’s projects and determine if they still need to be done.  Stop wasting valuable time on projects that are not yielding results.


3. Change your environment. If you’re over-worked and stressed out, you won’t get nearly as much done and you’re more prone to mistakes and illness. Sometimes you need to take a break and completely separate yourself from work. Getting physically away from your normal workspace changes your perspective. You’ll find that taking a break is just what you need the most – even if it seems to be the opposite of what you should be doing. The best part: once you come back to the task, you’ll feel refreshed and more creative.


4. Update and refine priorities. You need to make an organized and frequently updated list of priorities. When you prioritize outstanding tasks, you’ll suddenly find that all of the work on your plate really is manageable. You can prioritize using letters or numbers so you clearly can see what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.


Now is a perfect time for you to assess the most important aspects of your business. Take this opportunity to determine what really matters to you by asking yourself these 5 questions:

1) What are my top 3 professional goals?

2) What is my number one priority at work?

3) How should I spend the majority of my work time?

4) How can I contribute more meaningfully to this organization?

5) How am I developing myself to continue to stay relevant and add value?


5. Stay on track and organized. Have a system to daily review what needs to be accomplished and what you need to be successful. Daily reviewing of priorities, goals, and practicing good habits take less time than most people think when done properly.


Check out Mary’s 2021 book on being a better leader in less than 5 minutes a day,  The Five Minute Leadership Guide, available here:   to develop the right daily habits for better productivity and better leadership.


  1. Betty Garrett

    Great article. Thanks for sharing for it gave me insights I can implement. You are so AWESOME

    • Mary Kelly

      Hi Betty,
      Thank you so much. I am glad to that you can use some of these items in your day to day life.
      Thank you

  2. Wayne W Westerholm

    Thank you, Mary! I needed that advice today. I am short-handed and trying to do the job of three people; therefore, I am running in circles getting little done. This was just what I needed to focus on the important things. Thank you and have a great weekend!

    • Mary Kelly

      Hi Wayne,
      I hope you find some useful tools in the article to help you plan and get things done without working harder.
      Thank you

  3. John Lamm

    Always reading Mary’s good writings….always trying to work Smarter, not harder, but working smart & working hard is enjoyable.. My goal is to talk to Mary…..John.

    • Mary Kelly

      Hi John,
      Thank you. I look forward to speaking with you.


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