Some time ago I heard a great segment on NPR that discussed the history of doing more with less — a phrase that used to make me shudder. Today, smack in the middle of Agile Business and processes of the like, producing more output with fewer resources is incredibly rewarding and exciting. But, understandably, there are still those out there who hear the phrase and immediately think burdens, budget cuts, layoffs, etc.

So let’s look at the elements of doing more with less from a different, more approachable angle:

Being Productive

Does “doing more with less” make you more productive? I’d say yes, given the classic definition of productivity. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, defines productivity as “the rate at which goods or services are produced, especially output per unit of labor.” But in the information economy, it’s a little trickier to measure. We’re not all producing widgets and calling it a day.

I suppose it’s important for academics and analysts to understand and measure productivity, but I’ve found the definitions of productivity to be too limiting. What about the cost of productivity? And the quality of the outputs?

I touched on these questions a bit in a great podcast, “Going Beyond GTD” which you can download from the GTD Virtual Study Group here.

Being Efficient

Another interpretation of “doing more with less” is to be efficient. Merriam-Webster defines efficient as being ”productive without waste”. But, who can honestly claim that they’re efficient? Look at our culture and the world at large–we’re pretty inefficient. We produce, probably too much at times, and we create a lot of waste along the way. I look at myself and ask, “am I efficient at work, or life?” I am constantly producing, but at what cost to my limited resources – time, energy, and money.

And, is efficiency really enough…

Being Effective

The magic isn’t only about getting things done or doing more with less; it’s about getting things done well. It’s about producing the optimal, intended or desired result using the least amount of effort or resources. That’s where mind mapping and Mindjet helps us all shine. We’re creating visual reflections of our individual or team thinking. Externalizing and seeing our thoughts helps us understand ourselves in a deeper, more meaningful way. And, as a result, we take more powerful actions and make more effective changes in our businesses and lives. We’re building alignment across teams, increasing clarity, purpose and a true sense of ownership.

Mind mapping has been helping executives build better strategies, writers think more clearly, teams plan out realistic projects, analysts perform in-depth research, coaches provide great tools for their clients, and so much more.

Just take a look at what people are saying about Mindjet. Mind maps are definitely making an impact! Let’s share with each other to build out our mapping best practices, templates, and ideas. Our impact together is incredible and we’re changing the world, one map at a time.

Join the conversation:

  • What does ‘doing more with less’ mean to you?
  • And, how are you becoming more productive, efficient or effective?