“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”-Greg Mckeown
Do you remember the last time when somebody asked you “How’s life?” and you answering to that question as “It’s really busy”? Then today’s article is just for you. We all know that the culture of busyness has taken over us. Most of the times, we tend to get overwhelmed and focus on the wrong things, forgetting to focus on the essentials – the items that will provide actual results.
If we look at smart and capable people they end up getting plateaued out and failing after tasting success. The reason behind this is, when they start out they have a strong clarity of purpose and that leads them to success. But success leads them to even more options and opportunities. When they have increased options and opportunities, their efforts are diffused and that undermines the clarity that led them to success in the first place. This way, we can have a situation where success becomes a catalyst for failure. The antidote to this problem is the discipline of pursuing for less, or another term for this is essentialism.
Essentialism is giving ourselves the permission to stop trying to do it all, stop saying yes to everyone and everything. This can make us contribute more towards the things that really matter. Less but better. Essentialists pursue this principle in a much disciplined way. More than a principle, it’s a way of living for them. It’s living by design, not by default. It’s not about how to get more things done but getting the right things done. It is about making wise investment of our time and energy only on what is essential.
However, this requires us to struggle with real trade-offs and make tough decisions. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less suggests us three things that should be done in a continual way as a disciplined pursuit to attain essentialism. First, we have to create space to explore what is essential. We need to spend as much time as possible listening, debating, questioning, and thinking if what we are spending time on is vital or trivial. Second, we need to develop the skills to gracefully, courageously and compassionately eliminate the non-essentials. Thirdly, we need to build routines and systems to make execution as effortless as possible. This should be a continual process; explore, eliminate and execute and repeat.
Elimination of non essentials doesn’t mean just eliminating the time wasters but also some of the really good things in our life, some of the good opportunities, because we can’t actually do everything. We might be able to do anything, but not everything. We have to act upon our life by creating routines and systems that support what we have identified as highly important.
We also shouldn’t forget to pause, step back, and evaluate the critical habits or processes that are detrimental to our productivity and success. Let’s try a little experiment that might help identifying this. We have to write down everything that we do in a single day, all the tasks, meetings, and discussions we take part in and the time we spend in doing them. Finally we have to figure out, what percentage of what we did throughout the day actually contributed to our most important goals. This will help us identifying the detractors.
Continually working in the grind will not always lead to success. Instead take control over what to spend time on and what to eliminate from your queue, this is will definitely help you generate great WIN’s in Life.