The Elements

By Andrea Schlapia   |   January 9, 2017

9 Tips on Doing Less to Achieve More in 2017

Categories: Strategic Planning, Time Management

It’s that time again when you sit down to plan out the year of things to accomplish. Does it feel daunting? If so, you’re not alone. I sent out a tweet just a little over a week ago to kick off the year for a different mindset to organize 2017:

“Although no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.” – Carl Bard

What will your ending be for 2017?

Here is My Challenge to You:

DO LESS in 2017. This may sound like the exact opposite of what you ought to do and therein lies the challenge. Just because you make a laundry list of items to do doesn’t mean they will become reality. It just means there is more on the list.

There are only 168 hours in a week. How you choose to use them is critical to implementation success for work and life. After the 40-hour work week and eight hours of sleep that’s recommended (does anyone really get that?) there is 70 hours left to spend time with family, friends, ‘you’ time, and all the extra chores required day to day.

There is an overwhelming amount of resources out there to help map out your day, week, month, quarter, and year. The key is taking what you like and leaving the rest behind because there is no silver bullet or one perfect thing that too often we look for in a resource.

If you’re a business owner, make this a collaborative effort with you and your team. Consider an offsite planning day to create your plan. This is not about creating a giant list of ideas and to-dos, it’s actually about figuring out how to do less and, by doing so, do those few key things extremely well. Use mind mapping or story boarding as the catalysts to collect your ideas.

Here are 9 Tips on Doing Less to Achieve More in 2017

1. Be Proactive: Have coping strategies to deal with problems that will come up (take a walk, 5-minute quiet time, read a book, take a breath, reframe the situation). Perfection is unattainable. Look at the barriers that were in your way and how you can do better the next time. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

2. Play to your strengths: Some people are more likely to achieve their goals if they set specific objectives and write them down, while others are more likely to achieve their goals if they go public and share them with their family and friends. Why not do both, and cover all your bases?

3. Consider levels of motivation: For the less committed this means recognizing the progress made so far – look how far you’ve come. For the more motivated this means pointing out the work that still needs to be done – look where you’re going.

4. Change the name of the game: Why does it have to be a New Year’s resolution? If you aren’t afraid of making resolutions at any time during the year, they are less likely to lose the luster they are born with in the presence of the New Year and the shiny disco ball you were dancing under all night.

5. Start small: Taking on too much often derails resolutions. Set small, measurable, and attainable goals that will yield feedback and results within a few weeks. Break goals down into daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly milestones. Don’t expect them to take the full year to materialize. Use our free goal tracking resources to map it out.

6. Change takes time and patience: Habits take time to develop and, therefore, take time to break. Don’t try to change all your unhealthy habits at the same time. Try to replace one unhealthy habit with a healthy one before moving onto the next.

7. Empower yourself: We are human and by definition not perfect. Know beforehand that you may stray from your goals; and the quickest recovery will be to recognize the set back and take immediate action to correct it. It will only waste time to wallow in the mishap and criticisms about it.

8. Ask for help: While asking for help is often looked upon as the presence of weakness, it is actually quite the opposite. It takes a significant amount of courage and trust to reveal our vulnerabilities and needs to others. A helping hand (in whichever shape or form you need) strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress.

9. Take some time: New Year’s resolutions are usually last-minute decisions and, therefore, don’t encompass the entirety of the changes that will benefit you. Take some time to think about what things will affect the most positive change in your life. Don’t begin your resolutions with the phrase: “I will never…”.

The Bottom Line

I knew I said “yes” way too much in 2016 for fear of being the “bad guy”. This didn’t help me achieve more; it just stressed me out and didn’t allow me to be my best for anyone. If this is you, make your default a respectful NO to avoid overwhelm. By being selective on how you use your time you achieve more and will be better for your clients, team, family, friends, and most important yourself.

What will you do differently in 2017 to achieve more? Let us know your thoughts, ideas, and best practices that have worked for you to share with our community of readers.

To Your Success in 2017!


Andrea Schlapia
Organizational Development and Human Capital

Andrea Schlapia, RCC™, HCS, sHRBP, is the Founder and CEO of Ironstone, which represents the culmination of her 20+ year career within the financial services industry. Her experience began as a financial advisor evolving into a consultant coach for advisors entering the field. This ignited her passion to support others through learning and development of best practices in order to achieve substantial results. To this end, she followed her desire into positions of senior-level practice management specialists for Dreyfus, Prudential, and DWS Investments prior to the realization of Ironstone.  Andrea’s focus is on practice management strategies to enhance and improve both business and personal life.

Andrea identifies 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Through coaching sessions and speaking engagements, she captivates her audience with interactive, high-energy presentations which are built with “how-to” strategies resulting in real-world implementation for significant impact. Andrea has been featured in multiple publications and audio broadcasts as a specialist and distinguished spokeswoman in the financial industry.

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