Leaders live such busy lives, and many of us feel pushed to the limit at times. We would love to have more time, more money, more energy, more capacity and more fun – but instead we usually have more stress, more emails, and more to plates to spin! Personally, I know it’s all too easy for me to live to the edge of my limits, with no margin, feeling overstretched and overwhelmed. But this isn’t sustainable way to live! Surely, there has to be a better way? Here are a few thoughts (from my new book Why Less Means More) to ponder:

Less Complexity, More Clarity

Life for leaders is incredibly complex – information overload, deadlines galore and relationships and roles to juggle. But the answer to complexity isn’t simplicity alone (most of us can’t bunk off work and live on an allotment forever). Instead, what we need is clarity around our priorities and where we want to invest our precious time and resources. And sometime that will mean saying no in one place to say our best yes somewhere else!

Less Pace, More Space

Our time is limited but golly we do try and pack it full! But when we live at warp speed, without enough space to pause, not only do we not focus properly where we are, but we also squeeze out opportunities to engage with interruptions, unexpected conversations or moments of relational connection. We need to learn to regularly breathe in the busyness.

Less Consumer, More Curator

In my book Why Less Means More I confess (in embarrassing detail) my struggle to declutter when we moved out of our house (especially shoes and books!) But the protracted process of moving and storing our possessions challenged me to consider again how much stuff we really need. What if we were able to curate and cherish our possessions and limit ourselves to buying less but better?

Less Extraordinary, More Ordinary

If Instagram was the real world, I would be seriously intimidated. The ministries, holidays and social lives of other leaders are apparently extraordinary! Sadly, I suspect these idealised posts breed discontent and lead us to overlook the blessing of the ordinary things around us – like the taste of a juicy tomato or a rose coming into bloom in the garden, or the kindness and willingness of the people in our organisation. The most extraordinary moments of all are often quite ordinary – it’s good to pause to notice them.

Less Me, More We

One thing increasingly stands out to me: life, including leadership life, is made worthwhile by the quality of our relationships. No wonder Jesus challenges us to focus on loving God and loving others – relationships are critical in the tough times, and when life is good, we don’t want to celebrate alone! So, however busy we may be as leaders, let’s invest in our life-giving relationships. What a blessing they are!