More is Better!  So many people in our society feel this way.  More money!  More space in your home!  More clients!  More clothes!  MoreMore. More.

I agree, sometimes more is definitely better.  For example, I think more hugs from someone I love are definitely better!

It really comes down to the concept of excessiveness.  How much is too much?  When does more actually become less?

Every time you turn around some expert is telling us we need to eat more vegetables or get more exercise.  In most cases, I would agree with this.  However, what happens if someone is already exercising and they feel good, their medical statistics are good (e.g., they are at a healthy weight, their cholesterol levels are within range) and they are satisfied with how they look.  Will exercising MORE make a significant difference?  If someone started exercising 20 hours a day, would they be in better shape than they are now?  I think they would be physically depleted and, actually, in worse shape than if they were exercising less.

Earlier this month I saw an article entitled Radical Idea at the Office: A 40-Hour Workweek.  Our professional life is another area where many people think more is better.  Workers often feel they HAVE TO be in the office for long hours (regardless of how productive they are) in order to advance their career.  In my corporate career, I witnessed many instances of people “working” 50 or 60 or more hours a week consistently.  Often it was clear these employees were masters at spending MORE time in the office, without being any MORE productive than their colleagues who worked 40 hours.

Personally, I knew my productivity threshold was around 45 hours a week.  If I stayed right in that range, I was able to successfully get things done!  If I added more hours, the “return” started to diminish. For example, if I worked 60 hours, some people would think I would be at least 20% more productive.  However, my experience was that if I worked 60 hours in a week, I was probably less productive than if I was working a 40 hour week!

When I worked over 45 hours, it didn’t ONLY affect my professional performance.  My personal life was negatively affected as well.  If I was working long hours, most of the time I wasn’t eating well, I wasn’t exercising as much, I wasn’t spending time with my friends and family.  I quite honestly was downright cranky because I also wasn’t getting enough sleep.  In my book, this is an excellent example of when MORE is NOT ALWAYS BETTER!

As you may sense, this is a topic I am quite passionate about.  I could provide you with MORE information on this topic and I think you’ve gotten a clear picture of the point I am making.

I believe there are many instances when more is better.  I think we have to be conscious, selective and not automatically accept that more will always be better.  Before embarking on a situation to get more, it can be helpful to do a sanity check to determine if more will actually be better for you.  Using this approach will give you a more purposeful reason for wanting more vs. blindly accepting that you HAVE to have more.

Going for more is your choice.

Helen Kosinski
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