As a consultant, it’s key for me to be a role model for clients and live out my values, to the extent that I don’t ever want to ask a client to do something I am not willing to implement in my own life. Hence why typing the words “if you’re busy, you’re doing something wrong” causes a visceral reaction and the need to reflect on my approach to consulting. By now you’re probably intrigued enough to read the entire article about the relaxed lives of elite achievers.

Several times this spring life has been so busy I have not taken the time to do what I enjoy most. If the truth were told I had a far too many days, where I barely slowed down enough to chew my food properly. I’m sure you can relate. I can contrast this with the days where I have taken as little as 30-minutes to go for a run or fully immerse myself in a conversation with a friend. Immediately, life looks brighter, creative solutions come naturally to problems I have been incessantly wrestling with, and my energy and hope for the future is renewed. When I went about creating the picture of how I want my life to look in the coming months and years, my number one objective was to “Do Less.” I told some colleagues about this new aspiration, and their eyes spelled l-a-z-y. I know doing less will be much more challenging than continuing on this frenzied path that creates the sense I have accomplished a lot. This can be true in consulting, where it is essential that I have enough presence of mind to slow down enough to ask the right questions, see interrelationships, and devise insightful solutions that will guide my client toward enduring change and a satisfying life. Perhaps such a method will lead to fewer sessions, more effective outcomes, and the opportunity to help more people. This sounds like the top-notch consultant I aspire to be!

In the Berlin study, conducted with violinists and subsequent research, shows that elite performers consolidate their work into intense periods, which can be contrasted with intense relaxation, and more sleep. What they found is that the elite performers were more focused during periods of work, and thus, were more productive even though they spent less time practicing (i.e., working) than their average counterparts. The greater amount of time spent in deliberate practice allowed the high achievers to fulfill their purpose in performance and life. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

So, perhaps my goal should be to increase my intentionality and consciously decide if my time and effort are really leading to the desired outcome, or would be better spent enjoying life due to the benefits of a rejuvenated body and mind. This week ask yourself, am I doing hard work or is it hard to work, and be prepared to put your feet up for a moment to take a step further in life.