In this week’s solocast, I’m talking about finding clarity in your life with ‘essentialism’ and the profound impact the book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown has had on my life. As a project manager and a life coach, I love that this book is both pragmatic on one level, and very philosophical and inspirational on the other. The thing that I think is the most groundbreaking about McKeown’s book, and that apply to the art of GSD (getting ‘stuff’ done) and leading an impactful and fulfilling life are:
- Doing less, but better, or in other words, “doing the essential few instead of the trivial many”
- Building in room for down time, which also gives you the space and time to prioritize your time
In a recent Google Talk, McKeown explained his philosophy, especially around the importance of the essential few:
“Build a life based on the voice inside instead of the noise outside. Learn to discern what is essential; the vital few from the trivial many, that we can make micro-adjustments to the things we do often, to take the steps to the life that is truly essential down the path.
Life is fast and full of opportunity, and the complication is that we feel we have to do everything.
We can make a different choice. We can learn to eliminate the non-essentials, and as a result of that, live a life that really matters.”
Why do we need to build in down time into our lives?
In my own experience, it’s because “busy-ness” creates “dis-ease,” or, in other words, being too busy causes all of you to feel un-easy and out of control. You’re not meant to be in the space of being busy, non stop, day after day.
If your work is anything like mine, you’ve seen what happens when people are moving fast, and find themselves constantly running to the next project or deadline. You get pushed into a reactive mode, where you operate in a zone of little to no planning, and a lot rushing around to get things done. Being reactive is exhausting, and can only be sustained for short periods of time.
The other option is to be pro-active, instead. When you set aside time in your day to prioritize the things you need to do, or start your day with an overview of what is ahead of you, you’re setting yourself up for success. It moves you out of being reactive to proactive. And this is what McKeown attributes as one of the most important habits of successful people.
Or, in the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism:The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” on Amazon
Greg McKeown’s speech at Google Talks
Logan Nickleson in Episode 27 and “Creative Minimalism”
Michelle Ward on the Friendpreneur Series in Episode on “Right Sizing the Effort”
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