Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.
The last book I bought is Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less by Greg McKeown. Basically, it tells the difference between essentialism and non-essentialism and teaches the reader how to pursue essentialism in career and life. Throughout the book, I noticed a lot of connections to a minimalist mindset and for slow lifestyle.
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Choosing an essential approach to things is choosing what is most important to you and directing your energy to it, as opposed to trying to do many things at once and not getting anything done.
Have you ever felt like you’re always busy and your days flit by, but in the end, you feel like you got nothing done? I had been there. The feeling was frustrating like I was wasting my time no matter how hard I worked.
That happens when we focus on non-essential things because we believe we can do more. So we jump from task to task and in the end, there’s a piece of everything done, but nothing is completed.
”Essentialism […] is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
Essentialism and minimalism
An essentialist is also a minimalist. Owning only the possessions they love and need, or essentials. Be it a wardrobe or too many commitments takes our attention away so it’s important to eliminate the clutter in our living place.
The part about decluttering the wardrobe seemed to stand out in this book and reminded me a lot of KonMari method. Choosing to discard clothes you don’t like and wear by keeping only the ones you like was very similar to searching what sparks joy, with the KonMari method.
Essentialism values doing less. Weniger aber besser – a German phrase meaning Less but better was used in the book by McKeown and it perfectly describes what being essentialist is.
By doing less it doesn’t mean you get less done, but on the contrary, you get more done, because you focus your energy on one task at a time. An essentialist carries out a task from start to finish before starting a new one.
Another important thing is routine. Something this book taught me is picking the routine for my blogging and other tasks. I would decide which task is important and work on it first. Depending on weather and how essential work outdoors is would focus the most energy on completing it. Living in the country there are essential tasks for different seasons that need to be done at the right time.
Blogging, as I decided, is also essential to me, so I choose different days for tasks including: writing blog posts, creating graphics for social media, shooting and editing photos, working on other projects.
And I don’t forget to value play, because hobbies and things you do for fun are as essential as critical work.
Essentialism and slow life
Essentialism praises slow life because it’s important to take time to make decisions and commitments. Because both sleep and play are valuable daily assets that help us to rest, restore our energy, spark creativity.
It’s not about being at your highest performance and conquering mountains daily, but doing what is most important at the time. Greg McKeown writes three tasks that help us find the essential thing:
- Figure out what’s the most important right now.
- Don’t think about the future: tomorrow, week or month later. Think about this very moment.
- Write a list and prioritise what is the most important thing right now. Then cross off things as you go from one thing to another.
Figuring out what’s important makes us be in the present. Slow life is a lifestyle through which we seek this being by sitting down and focusing. We eliminate distractions, focus on breathing, on our surroundings, and we get to the core of what’s essential.
A list like that helps us find the priority. Something huge I took from this book is the fact that English word priority appeared in the language in the 1400s and it was singular until the 1900s when everyone started talking about priorities. I hope that living slowly can bring this word to its origin and that we learn to truly prioritise one thing at a time.
You can get the book here.