‘Do less, accomplish more’ is Andy Stanley’s strapline that I’ve always found helpful. But it’s more than helpful, it’s true. Whether you’re spending your time in the world of business, or church or the home, people have found that ‘the secret of concentration is elimination’ (Howard Hendricks).
Elimination is about stopping things. Saying ‘no’. Cutting some things out. Not because they’re necessarily bad or wrong, but because they’re not things you need to do.
I had lunch yesterday with someone who runs a great charity in the North. He normally finds it hard to say ‘no’. But over the last few weeks he’s found that he’s had to. And amazingly the world hasn’t fallen apart! Instead his work and his life is more focussed and he’s already seeing the benefit.
We see a great example of this in Acts 6:1-7 where the apostles of the early church came to realise that they couldn’t do everything. Instead, they’d be better doing what God had called them to do – pray and preach. They delegated the other tasks. And the result? ‘So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedience to the faith.’
Elimination is one of the keys to productivity and success. Leaders especially need to know this, which is why Andy Stanley rightly says that ‘perhaps the best kept secrets of leadership are these:
1. The less you do, the more you accomplish.
2. The less you do, the more you enable others to accomplish.’
That’s why Picasso famously said that ‘art is the elimination of the unnecessary.’
Is it time for you to do some elimination?