Essentialism The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

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  • by Greg McKeown

  • key takeaways
    • It is all about how to get the right things done. “Decision fatigue” reduces the quality of the decision we make. “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.”
    • “Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” : Decide what your agenda or goal is, and pursue only opportunities that lead you to your goal. So better not commit casually to plans you are not sure about. Don’t be afraid to be unavailable. Focus requires you to set aside time for your priority.
    • Teams function better if there is one clear, quantifiable, overarching purpose.
    • Keeping a journal and making time to read are important.
  • The “wardrobe” metaphor: cluttered and disorganized. have difficulty finding clothes, and no place for new ones. To address this problem in three parts.
    • The first is to “Explore and Evaluate.” / stronger question: “Do I love this?” maps to questions like “Will this activity or effort make the highest possible contribution towards my goal?”
    • The next is the “Eliminate” step. This is the step to prevent having 10 top priorities. via questions like: “If I didn’t have this opportunity, what would I be willing to do to acquire it?” The author McKeown describes how to rid yourself of the non-essentials in a way that earns you respect from colleagues, management, and clients.
    • The third step is to “Execute.” e.g., to decide be the recipient of the clothing, what time they are open, and to schedule that into your diary. Without the plan to see this through, they will return to your wardrobe, sooner or later.
    • One discipline required to be an essentialist: even being able to say “no” well, requires courage.