This past month was an extraordinary month of coaching for me. Not only did I work with some incredibly interesting people including an actual rocket scientist at NASA but I also completed 97 one on one coaching sessions in 4 weeks. As I reflected back on the common themes and challenges that these clients were having, one particular topic seemed to come up for almost everyone and that was: “I never seem to have enough time to get done what I’d like to or need to”.
I’m sure this is something you also struggle with from time to time or even day to day. So I thought I would address this challenge by reviewing a very practical and useful book I recently read on this topic – ‘Essentialism’ by Greg Mc Keown. In his book, McKeown teaches you how to do better by doing less. And as I teach in my High Performance Coaching Program, what it really boils down to is getting your priorities straight and eliminating the unimportant things from your routine that are hijacking your time and preventing your from being truly productive and fulfilled.
But we all know this! Yet almost no-one is DOING it. Why? Greg McKeown has some great insights and solutions…
He explains that today many people feel like they need to have it all and do it all. But the reality is we just can’t. Not only will this not make us happy but it’s also a guarantee that almost nothing will be done with excellence. So instead of trying to do it all and have it all he suggests to focus on what is absolutely essential to your happiness and wellbeing. By doing this you will have the mental and emotional stamina to perform the most important tasks for you at the highest possible standard.
McKeown says that in order to “avoid drowning in unnecessary work, you need to adopt the principle of essentialism by identify the priorities in [y]our life” because overload of any kind will sabotage any attempt at productivity.
So how do you get your true and real priorities straight? By adopting the 4 main points of ‘Essentialism’:
- Do less, but do it better. At the core of essentialism is the constant task of identifying the less important things in your life to cut out and doing what remains to a higher standard. In order to do this you need to embrace the idea of “less but better” and accept trade-offs as an inherent part of life.
- Make a choice. Reject the belief that you should accomplish everything and choose instead the specific direction that matters most to you and work to excel in that particular area. If you don’t, you will become overwhelmed by all your tasks and lose your ability to make choices for yourself. The result – you’ll surrender your power to choose and by default will then give others permission to choose for you.
- Constantly reassess what you are doing and update your plans accordingly. Regularly ask yourself if what you’re doing is the absolute best place for you to be investing your time and energy. McKewon says that if you tend to say ‘’I have to” rather than “I choose to” then you are following the non-essential.
- Take immediate action. Once you have identified the few priorities for you to engage in, don’t waste any time putting those priorities into action.
Now while all this might seem simple and common sense, for most it is neither easy or common practice. In next week’s blog I will share with you how Greg McKeown suggests you get on this path to essentialism. In the meantime get prepared for next week and work on the 4 steps above.
Until next week – embrace your inner truth, live your purpose and make your contribution in the world.
With gratitude and appreciation,