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  • David Still

More Productivity & Peace – Essentialism

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

In today’s world, the pace is fast and the inputs – seemingly coming from all directions – are relentless. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and natural to look for ways to make things easier. Most of us would love to markedly improve our ability to manage our time better and be more productive.

Of course, time management and productivity have always been a challenge for most people. It is just that advances in technology and the shrinking effect it has on the world have intensified the challenge for most of us. It has made it an even bigger issue than it was in slower, less technically advanced times.

The irony, of course, is that the technology was supposed to make everything easier. Hindsight is 20/20. We now know that it may have made us more productive, but it has not made our productivity easier. We are stressed and we know it. And it is more than the pandemic; this phenomenon was real before a virus decided to take over the world and it will still be here once things calm down and we return to some form of “normal” again.

With all the above said, here is a summary of the key points within the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown, which we recommend for anyone striving for improvement in terms of getting important things done with less stress.

Essentialism - Summary of Takeaways

1. Work is infinite and time is finite. Most people get this backwards. Good work and bad work both produce more work. But there are only 24 hours in each day and we must do many other things beyond our “to do” list that we consider work. It is the key or important work that matters. Think 80/20 rule here. What is not essential to the most important things needed for success? Cut them.

2. Overwhelm: We need to avoid this feeling at all costs. Nothing kills motivation and productivity like overwhelm.

3. Remember the old saying, “less is more.” Well, it is an old saying for a reason. There is a real nugget of truth in there. Think in terms of doing less but doing the important things better. Life is a tradeoff. Get better at making this trade consistently.

4. Big Picture: Take a walk or play a game. Take some time to escape and make other investments in life. Leverage constant learning and personal growth to help develop the skill of distinguishing between the trivial and the vital. Do less of the trivial and do the vital things well.

5. Play and rest are not only good for you, but they will also enhance productivity in the long run. Daydreaming, taking a walk, a vacation, a lunch with friends is also a part of life and will serve your long-term productivity and overall well-being.

6. Really focus on eliminating things in life that are non-essential. You will be amazed at how much this helps you unclutter your life and drive productivity.

7. Focus more on the essential tasks and doing them well. The gains will astound you over time.

8. Be willing to walk away from failures with a lesson and setting appropriate boundaries going forward.

9. Energy conservation is important because you will want it for the important things. Keep a keen eye on constantly evaluating what is creating drag for you and eliminate these things with a vengeance.

10. Practice makes perfect. Focus on your daily routine and taking iterative steps to continue to get better at the practice of Essentialism.

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