You really can’t do more with less

The other day I was talking to a friend who is trying to accomplish the work he used to do with a staff of three with just himself and one other (junior) person. “We’re all stretched so thin that if one person takes a day of vacation, it’s a disaster,” he said. He’d taken a day off. And it was a disaster.

More and more of us are being asked to “do more with less.” I really dislike that phrase. It’s meaningless.

HBS Working Knowledge offers this article: Understaffed and Overworked: What Now?

Let’s begin with what you shouldn’t do: “The sure recipe for failure is to suck it up and try to do it all,” says Isabel Parlett of Parlance Training, a Santa Fe, N.M., firm specializing in business communications. “You’ll burn out, your team will resent you, your reputation will suffer, and the work probably won’t all get done anyway.”

When you’re asked to do more with less, don’t suck it up.

Prioritize relentlessly.

Decide what you won’t do.

Re-evaluate what “good enough” means.

Work 40 hours a week.

Don’t fall for empty phrases.