How to Do Less But Achieve More

Have you ever experienced working hard on something but achieving very little? You may have poured a lot of time and energy into it, but the results you get is below your expectation. On the other hand, you may have experienced working relatively less on something but achieving more than you expected. It’s as if you put 5 units of effort and got 8 units of result. It’s as if you received more than you deserved.

I have experienced both of them. Take this blog for example. Some of the most popular posts in this blog are those to which I spent relatively less time and energy. On the other hand, there are some posts to which I spent a lot of time and energy but went nowhere.

I learn a useful lesson from such experiences in my life: we can do less but achieve more. And – in my opinion – this is the key to do less but achieve more:

Follow the wind.

Let me explain. Imagine that you are now running to a certain direction. If there is no wind, you will run faster with more effort. That is the normal case which most people expect. Now imagine that the wind blows to the opposite direction. You will then run slower with more effort. This is the worst case, and I’m afraid that we experience it pretty often (it’s the experience of working hard with few results; sounds familiar?). The best case, of course, is the wind blows to the same direction. In that case, you will be able to run faster with less effort. You will receive more beyond your effort.

As you can see: if you follow the wind, you will do less but achieve more.

But how do you follow the wind? Obviously, it’s by first sensing where the wind is blowing so that you can move to that direction. And this is how you sense the wind: you sense the wind through your intuition. Your intuition can somehow tells you what is the right thing do.

So to accurately sense the wind you need to sharpen your intuition. You sharpen your intuition by increasing your spiritual intelligence (one of the four intelligences in Stephen Covey’s The 8th Habit). Spiritual intelligence (SQ) – I believe – has strong influence on intuition. It makes your intuition more sensitive. It makes you capable to accurately sense where the wind is blowing.

This diagram summarizes what I’m talking about:

All these are based on my experiences. I know that some of you might not agree with some of the ideas here, and that’s fine. I just want to share what I’ve learned throughout the years which has been proven again and again in my life.

This lesson is important for me. In fact, this is one of the most important lessons I ever learn. There is still a lot of room for improvement for me, but this lesson is clearly well worth the effort (or to be exact, worth more than the effort).


  1. […] I don’t mean to promote laziness through this post because it’s not about working less per se, but increasing your efficiency and efficiency definitely reduces the amount you require to do a task. Efficiency and method removes things from the scene that don’t achieve much, cause hindrances and waste lots of time. Donald at Life Optimizer in How To Do Less But Achieve More says that in order to achieve more by doing less you should move in the direction of the wind (figuratively). Although this doesn’t make you a revolutionary (swimming against the tide etc.) it certainly helps you preserve your energy and perform better. […]

  2. Agreed… it’s much easier to go with the flow than struggle against the current (another weather/natural phenomena analogy lol)! Thanks Donald 🙂

  3. You’re welcome, Becky! It seems like we can learn a lot from the nature 🙂

  4. An interesting Book about ‘Smart Laziness’ you might consider to read is:

    “The Lazy Way to Success”.

    All the Best,

  5. Thanks for your recommendation, HP! I will check it out; I hope the library has it 🙂

  6. Yes i think its a good approach and we all should always travel with the wind,but sometimes there are situations where you might have to walk against the wind to achive your goals ,correct me if iam wrong but this is a fact .

  7. Babar,

    I think it depends on what we mean by “wind” here. If it refers to how people tend to do something, yes, there are times when we need to walk against the wind to achieve our goals.

    If it refers to our intuition, I think we should follow it most of the time, provided that our intuition is sharp enough (which is not easy). Of course, there are situations which do not require intuition, such as calculating numbers, but I don’t think it means that we walk against the intuition.

  8. Well there is also “Quantum Mind Power” that shows enjoyable and automatic way to sharpen your intuition and get an avalanche of new ideas. So it’s not just matter of sensing the direction of wind but finding which one is more fun to follow and possibly even which one requires least effort.


  9. Interesting, Paipals. I believe there are several ways to “follow the wind”, and one of them may be yours.

  10. […] How to Do Less but Achieve More @ Life Optimizer […]

  11. This is the second time I am feeling good and happy about “following one’s intuition”. Gut feeling is what many call it and it is so powerful that when followed with trust and conviction, it won’t let anybody down. There are situations that demand you to be logical and comply with the social norms but when it is not the case, follow the wind…achieve more by doing less and feeling happy and contended.

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