Why I’m Trying to Do More and Get Less Done

2014-10-07 13.41.09

I’m goal oriented. I’m motivated by deadlines, checkmarks, and gold stars. I get a thrill from getting things done, from the accomplishment of finishing.

This is both a strength and a weakness. Lately, I’ve been running up against the weakness part.

Specifically, I’ve noticed that I’m struggling to follow through on process goals, anything that can’t be defined by results.

For example:

  • I say I want to practice yoga, but more days then not I skip pulling out the mat.
  • My hands itch to make stuff, but there never seems to be a good time for arts & crafts projects that aren’t for something specific.
  • I want to write more often, but I get stuck when faced with a blank page and no clear purpose for writing.

I tend to justify time spent with results yielded, but a lot of what makes me happy is rooted in the process instead of the product.

So much of living is in doing, not in having done.

One of my goals for 2015 is to do more, even if that means getting less done.


I practiced DOING yesterday when I decided to spend an hour painting. I wasn’t painting anything special or frame worthy (seriously, here it is on Instagram), and I didn’t get to check anything off a list when I was done. In fact, I didn’t even get to finish before I had to head off to lead a Girl Scout meeting, but I spent that hour living joyfully. Just because.

This morning I danced around in my pajamas for 20 minutes before I got into the shower. I didn’t measure calories burned or count steps taken. I just enjoyed every single beat, because dancing makes me happy.

I don’t want to stop achieving entirely. A life is, in part, measured by what has been done. I am grateful for my ability to tackle a project and Get Shit Done.

But the best stories are not told about standing on the podium; the most memorable tales are about what happened in the trenches.

Plus, doing just for the sake of doing helps pull me into the present moment. It helps me to let go of my expectations about the future when I’m not mentally attaching my current actions to a future outcome. (That is much easier to write than to do!)

In the spirit of doing rather than achieving, I’m consciously avoiding turning this into some kind of project or goal. I’m not promising myself to be more in the moment in future moments, because that would be the exact opposite of the point.

But boy am I tempted.

And that’s how I know this is an important shift for me.

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  1. Amber says:

    I recently lost my job and suddenly I have a whole lot of time on my hands. As I ticked the last item off my to-do list for the week I panicked. I have spent so much time getting stuff done and having a goal for so long that I honestly don’t know what to do when I’m NOT running to keep up. So, this post came at a very good time to me.

    Here’s to living in the present moment and allowing yourself to do things without the pursuit of a specific outcome!
    Amber’s most recent post: A Word for 2015: Strength

    • Britt Reints says:

      My husband struggled with this HUGE when he stopped working so we could take our big RV trip in 2011. It was the first time he hadn’t worked since he was 14 and it took him a while to adjust to not having a daily list of things that had to be done. Good luck during this transition!

  2. Cody Mann says:

    I can definitely relate to this because I am always trying to do more than one thing at once and oftentimes I end up not getting anything done. But it’s a shame the way our society has progressed because we are never living in the moment. We are always looking forward toward something in the future. When we are in school we are always working to get to the next grade, in college we are working for a degree, then we get out in the job world and are constantly working for a promotion and working to get a better television or car. But not many people take the time to stop and think how beautiful it is to be alive on this beautiful planet right now.

  3. Johnny Blaze says:


    Plant the seed of creativity in the market place, then wait for it to reap. However long it takes.

  4. Amit Sodha says:

    Hey Britt,

    At first the title confused me a little then I read it and thought about what a great way to look at it.

    Most people are focussed on getting more done rather than less so I love your take on this! :-)

    Have a lovely day,

    Amit Sodha’s most recent post: How I Quit Sugar – And How You Can Too

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