Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

“Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying ‘yes’ to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

This quote from the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown sums up the general theme of this inspiring book on minimalism, focus and results. Today, we all feel overwhelmed by expectations and the onslaught of information and stimuli. It’s hard to manage, let alone give any one thing or person our full attention. This feeling of scattered helplessness is what this book is designed to combat.

I have read McKeown’s book three times now and I’m going to admit that each time I do, I feel the sudden urge to clean out my closet. Essentialism isn’t about minimalizing your home and workspace, although there are related tips in the book, it’s about taking back your power and control the choices you make and the spaces that you inhabit. Even if you can’t stop the onslaught of information, notifications and messages flooding your phone each day, there are small steps you can take to feel less pressured and overwhelmed, starting with making positive steps towards essentialism. What do we really need? What do we really want? What is it time to let go of?

Not just any book on personal productivity, Essentialism gets right to the point with a practical three-part process to help leaders, professionals and anyone feeling scattered gain a grasp on priorities while streamlining all the rest.

From relationships, work assignments and commitments to all the stuff that we thought we could never live without, Essentialism is key to productivity and yes, peace. It’s a short read and would make for a great book discussion in your professional or personal world, and I have often recommended it as a critical assignment before launching into new goals. I also highly recommend this on-point tome to anyone who feels like they’re spinning on an endless hamster wheel and getting nowhere. This is also a great read for those who say “yes” way too often and find themselves overcommitted, under appreciated and not using their talents to their true potential.

“The result is that by investing in fewer things we have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter most.”

Ironically, I recently fell into this same trap with a particular project and had to pull back and re-examine my contribution. What I learned was that I was trying to get more things done instead of getting the right things done.

So I created a plan.

I placed “A” next to my three priorities and “B” and “C” next to the less urgent items, respectively. And I’ve said “No” to everything else.

While that’s scary, it’s freeing and my productivity is skyrocketing. Now, I know what really matters most. I also know how I need to start and end my day.

With real life examples and simple applications, this is a must-read for everyone who desires work life balance and real, productive results from their efforts and in life.

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