How Doing Less Leads to More

I’ve been firmly in the “stop the glorification of busy” camp since 2012, when my work came to a screeching halt for two years; I discarded all my old assumptions about how we “should” be and began testing out what made me most creative and productive–starting with Eckhart Tolle’s suggestion to “get the inside right, and the outside will fall into place.” I’d just started to write what would become Living the Mess when Tim Kreiger published his manifesto (or call-to-inaction) “The Busy Trap.” 

And ever since, I’ve loved the research that’s been flooding in, about how the traditional approach to work and creativity is just…not very effective. And more, how walking and nature and daydreaming all enhance creativity. So I was thrilled to see this post by compassion and happiness researcher Emma Seppälä. My favourite bit is about how just looking at plants makes people more creative (I’ve experienced this first-hand; it’s one of the reasons I spend so much time in nature). I’ve written a bit about my experiences in Accessing Deep Creativity and The Law of Increasing Flow.

 What continually astonishes me is how much more I can accomplish when I keep my life simple, my mind free from clutter (admittedly, it stacks up pretty quickly) and take the time to get centred before I do any work. I get so much more done; on top of that, whatever I do has better quality–from my writing to my interactions with friends–and I haven’t sacrificed well-being to do it. 

I now offer “Find Your Flow” creativity coaching, rooted in mindfulness practices. Please visit for details (scroll down the page)

Image credit: Scott Webb via Unsplash

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Sarah Chauncey

For more than two decades, I struggled multiple treatment-resistant mood disorders. I spent more than 20 years in psychodynamic therapy and tried 18 different medications. In 2010, I began searching for ways to rewire my brain naturally for inner peace. I write about the practices and insights that have improved my mental, physical and spiritual health.

1 Comment

  1. Ken Pepperdine on November 28, 2015 at 9:15 am

    I always thought there would be a place for a book entitled ” Doing Not Doing and Undoing”
    The premise of the book would be When we spend too much time doing, we have to spend a lot of time undoing. If we spent enough time not doing, we wouldn’t have so much undoing to do because we’d have the time to think twice about what we’re doing.

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