Less is More: Why You Need to Set a Limit on Yourself to Achieve Your Goals

by | 1 Mar 2016 | Coaching

It’s always interesting to me how I’ll hit ‘pockets’ of coach calls where very different clients are either bringing the same issue, or have made a similar breakthrough. And of course I’ll particularly notice it because the theme will be relevant to me as well!

This last week or so the recurring theme has been around how when clients place a limit or boundary on themselves, they achieve more, not less.

So, in one instance it was a client who is working on her own coaching skills with her team. A highly empathetic and caring person, in the past her one to ones could go on for hours and leave her physically and emotionally drained. However she’s been experimenting with setting and holding tight time boundaries with these sessions, which felt uncomfortable to begin with but now both she, and her team members are delighted with the quality and outcome of these much more focussed conversations.

In another example my client had an impending deadline for a large and mostly boring task. Instead of his usual approach (leave it to the last minute, then have a mammoth and slightly panicky session to just get it done), he set a timer and allowed himself to tackle the task in 25 minute chunks. To his surprise, he got it done well ahead of schedule and had time and energy to spare.

For myself, as an easily overstimulated introvert, these conversations have been a timely reminder that less is more.

If I allow myself too much choice (whether that’s in time, activity, task, or even simple decisions about what to wear, eat or buy) I get caught in analysis paralysis, procrastination, confusion and frustration. Whereas if I limit myself and keep it simple, I have clarity, sense of purpose and energy (because I haven’t used it all in trying to weigh up all the options).

As a side note, I was reading some of the research behind this the other day; the concepts of maximising and sacrificing and the impact on happiness. As I was planning this blog post I found myself being pulled off to try to dig this research out in order to write a much more lengthy and in depth post. But, interesting as that may be, I suddenly realised the irony of what I was doing – I’d planned a simple, focussed blog post, and suddenly I was allowing my time and focus to drift away and getting bogged down in detail.

So instead I’ll save that research for another day (because it is interesting), and hold my boundaries on this blog post in the firm belief that less really is more!


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