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Ever feel like you’re being pulled in too many directions?

Like you’re trying to do it all?

Like you can’t get a moment of peace?

It’s unsettling, unhealthy and unsustainable. It keeps you from achieving everything you want.

Greg McKeown, in his book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” lays out a solid set of tactics for being more purposeful and intentional about what you do – and more importantly – what you don’t do.

The hard truth: If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.

Problems at hand:

  • Discerning the essential, from the trivial (or nonessential.)
  • Saying “no” to more things.
  • Having a method and framework for executing.

McKeown has filled the book with many fascinating perspectives and solutions. Here are four that jumped out at me:

  • Create time and space to think. Realize that you are doing something important when you aren’t doing anything. As Picasso said: “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.”
  • Apply extreme criteria. Use the 90 Percent Rule: If a decision doesn’t score 90 percent or above on a scale of 0-100, then reject it. Assigning numerical values helps us think more logically and less impulsively.
  • Cut losses. Don’t be blinded by sunk-cost thinking that compels you to keep doing something (because of the fear of losing your initial investment) that’s not working. Ask “What else would I do with time and money if I pulled the plug?” Aside from a sense of waste, what would be the negative consequences of stopping?
  • Edit. Since 1981, each Best Picture in the Oscars has also been nominated for Best Editing. Great editors cut what’s confusing and make life easier for the viewer/reader. As Mark Twain said: “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.”

Essentialism is about editing everything in your life with deliberate subtraction so you can add more focus and enjoyment. Remember that it’s okay to say no, try less, do nothing, and disengage from the daily treadmill.

Clarity and joy are within reach when we set them free from the bonds of busyness.

Have a great week.

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