Benjamin FranklinI was listening to a clever and timely story on NPR this morning about the renewed prevalence of the hackneyed imperative, “Do more with less.” This is widely interpreted as a demand for longer hours to compensate for reduced budget and staff. My executive coaching clients, in contrast, report growth in income and profits while working fewer days and shorter, more flexible hours. Two keys are reducing stress and misdirected energy.

I was very pleased when the NPR reporter revealed the original form of the phrase from Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, “by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity. … as we read in Poor Richard, who adds, drive thy business, let not that drive thee.”

Great advice, then as now.