Our lives can be easily filled with all of the little details that beg us to keep a handle on it all. Yet what we may not be aware of, is that all those little details can cloud our view to the point where we are pulling over on the sidelines and sending out a distress signal. If this has been you, know that there is hope in essentialism. There is a way to handle all of the essential areas of your life instead of all that may be jumping out at you.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown was a very refreshing read. Not only in reading it did I get a renewed sense of purpose, I also felt a tremendous load being taken off of me. Sometimes we clutter our lives with things that frankly don’t matter. It is best if we identify what those things are and get them off our plate so that we can focus on the important elements in life. Here are some of the takeaways that I had while reading Essentialism. Hopefully in reading these, it will inspire you to read the book yourself or at least take the first step of building essential habits.
Ask yourself what is important at the moment
Of course we think it is all important. You absolutely have to make sure the kids are in sports, and you have to take those additional meetings to plan because the client wants you to. But the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that everything that you do ultimately makes you happy and is centered on your main focus in your life. Ask yourself what is most important in your life at the current moment. I’m sure the answer will surprise you and be a breath of fresh air.
If you could only do one thing, what would it be?
Sometimes we can be faced, in a moment, with competing priorities. Choosing what is important can feel like a painful science experiment. But look – you are only one person. So in looking through the lens of essentialism, you will find that the single important thing in the current moment should be your only focus. Everything else will have to wait.
“Get present in the moment and ask yourself what is most important this very second – not what’s most important tomorrow or even an hour from now.” – Greg McKeown
Without being fully aware, we can get caught in nonessential habits, weighed down with the countless details of life. When I try to apply this to my event planning world, I can see how easy it is to get overwhelmed by all of the details flying my way. Yet when I enable that laser driven focus, I can tune out the “noise” and focus on the necessary.
Greg Mckeown said it perfectly when he stated “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”. For many, this has to be your mantra. Understanding what the most important element for your life and keeping that as the main thing.
Get some sleep
“A full nights sleep may actually increase brain power and enhance our problem-solving abilities” – Greg Mckeown
Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do. Sleep is one of those situations. Getting sleep is very essential to your daily functions. I can always tell when I don’t get sleep at all. I’m groggy the next day, and am not as productive. On a full nights rest, I know I can be at the top of my game when tackling the days duties.
“To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep, and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we made” – Greg Mckeown
Celebrate your rest
People always tend to celebrate or talk about how busy they are. However little do they know, in talking about their hurried state of consciousness, they only elevate it. In doing so, people elongate their busyness and never seem to get out of it. That is why instead of celebrating busyness, it is better to celebrate rest.
“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” – Greg McKeown
Making room for the essential items in your life can be trivial. It is absolutely true that if you don’t carve out a space for the essential, then someone else will. Everyone should take the time to realize the essential areas in their life and what they can do more of in order to support those areas. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a nice gentle reminder for me, and I look forward to the next one.
If you have read this book, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. If you have another book you would like to read, please post it and perhaps you will see it coming up soon.
P.S. Sometimes saying no can help you do the essential thing. Check out this post for more.