How communicators can do less and survive—and even thrive

The answer is not more ‘touchpoints’ or ‘connectivity.’ Focus on doing fewer things, and shed the extraneous stuff that’s not driving substantive results.

How to do less

Pick up and examine your plate of workplace tasks.

It’s heavy, isn’t it? Sure, there are portions of meaningful, hearty fare on there, but I bet your plate is laden with mushy, empty communication calories. That whole left side is occupied by the same musty, stale newsletter hash that’s been there for years.

What if you scraped most of what’s on your professional plate into a garbage can?

“B-b-b-b-b-ut I have to have projects to create the illusion of being busy!”

“We’ve been producing ‘Next Level Synergy Value Add’ magazine for 10 years!”

“If we don’t do the newsletter, what do we do?”

“We have to generate more connectivity, right?”

“We’ve got to get the conversation going on the intranet.”

Just stop, breathe, and relax. Imagine fewer “touchpoints.” Less connectivity. Less “engagement,” even. It’s possible, and it’s OK.

Here are four reasons you should consider doing less:

You’ll produce better work. It’s the ol’ spray nozzle principle. You can blast content all over the place—and hope some of it hits the target—or you can direct a laser-like stream toward specific, measurable targets. (You should do the laser thing.)

Delegate or scrap all those crap jobs no one cares about, and focus your efforts on work that supports and drives substantive business results.

Tip: If you have something on your plate that you suspect is useless and would be missed by no one, just stop doing said task and see if anybody notices.

You’ll be happier. If you focus on pieces and projects that turn you on, and spend less time doing things you abhor, you’ll be more engaged, invested and interested. That makes work less of a bore or a chore or a war—and more of a delightful score.

Identify which aspects of your job you enjoy most, and try your damnedest to make those things your primary job function.

Your colleagues will pay more attention. Most people, at any given moment, are teetering on being overwhelmed by life. They don’t need more “touchpoints.” They probably don’t need a new Slack channel or a new platform to master.

There doesn’t always have to be a “conversation” going. It’s fine, your colleagues needn’t be your “fam.”

If you send out too much content, you risk becoming a white-noise machine or the person who cried wolf. Do less—with excellence and great care—and your colleagues will read your words more carefully.

You’ll have more time to dedicate to measurement and strategic planning. This is the key to rising above “order-taker” status. If you want to bolster your internal authority, clout and credibility, you must measure the results of your work (and pivot accordingly), and establish key communication goals.

Now, how does that workplace plate look? Hopefully it’s a little bit lighter, brighter and healthier for you.

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