182. Do More With Less: How to Stretch in Work and Life with Scott Sonenshein

There’s a common belief that to be more successful we need more resources — that we should earn more money, acquire more resources, accomplish more, spend more time, and expand our network of people. But when we focus on chasing down additional resources rather than using those already at our disposal, we are rarely satisfied with our work, and may in fact be less successful in the long run. Instead, could it be possible to do more with less?

In this week’s episode of Psychologists Off the Clock, Debbie and Dr. Scott Sonenshein, author of Stretch and coauthor with Marie Kondo of Joy at Work, discuss the ideas of “chasing” and “stretching.” Scott shares some practical wisdom for how to stretch in work and life. The conversation adds a whole new meaning to TLC’s lyric “don’t go chasing waterfalls!”

Listen and Learn:

  • How Debbie and Jill are trying to stretch in their personal lives
  • How Scott Sonenshein, an expert in organizational psychology, applies principles from organizational psychology to other domains of life
  • About a potential silver lining of the pandemic and our “new normal” (and Scott’s practical advice for creating your own silver lining anytime!)
  • Debbie’s delicious example of constraint leading to resourcefulness in her own life
  • Scott’s breakdown of the two mindsets that can help or hinder our efforts to be flexible
  • Scott’s personal experience with the chase mindset in Silicon Valley and the lessons he learned in the dot com era
  • The benefits of the stretch mindset — and practical advice on how to get into that mindset today
  • The ultimate question for starting your growth journey
  • Why it’s okay to not be an expert and how dabbling in many areas can be useful 
  • Practical examples of how to move from a chasing mindset to a stretching mindset
  • The most important thing Scott learned from collaborating with Marie Kondo
  • What ‘activity clutter’ is, how it might be impacting you, and three questions you can use to prioritize 


Scott Sonenshein author photo
Dr. Scott Sonenshein


Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D. is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at Rice University and New York Times best-selling author whose books have been translated into over 20 languages. His award winning research, teaching, and speaking has helped Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals in industries such as technology, energy, healthcare, retail, education, banking, manufacturing, and nonprofits. He holds a PhD in organizational behavior from the University of Michigan, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and a BA from the University of Virginia. His research appears in the very top academic journals and has contributed to several topics in management and psychology, including change, creativity, personal growth, social issues, decision making, and influence. Scott sits on five distinguished editorial boards and is a former associate editor of his field’s top publication, the Academy of Management Journal. Scott also worked as a strategy consultant for companies such as Microsoft and AT&T and lived the rise and fall of the dotcom boom while working for a Silicon Valley startup. He serves on the External Advisory Board of McKinsey & Company’s implementation practice. Scott has written for the New York Times, Time Magazine, Fast Company and Harvard Business Review. He has been interviewed on national and local television, NPR stations throughout the country, and has been featured in most major newspapers. To find out more about Scott’s work, visit his website, You can also view Scott’s academic biography or Rice University page. Check Scott out on Twitter at @ScottSonenshein or on Instagram at scott.sonenshein

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Episode 182