It’s a badge of honor these days to be busy. Everyone is busy – whether it’s working, shopping, taking care of children, volunteering or exercising. But so many of our daily activities are just not that important. We all waste our time on non-essential things and probably do most of them poorly. How would you like to just say NO to those activities?
That’s the premise of the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. The business book club of the Gaithersburg Germantown Chamber of Commerce, of which Launch Workplaces is a member, read the book in July and everyone agreed it was a worthwhile read. At 272 pages it’s easy to digest. It would make a good audiobook as well.
McKeown suggests that we prioritize our goals to stay focused on what’s important at that moment. “Once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter,” he says in the book. Essentialism seemed to follow some of Stephen Covey’s principals, such as putting first things first, so it is a good reminder.
Saying no to people sends a message that your time is valuable. In the author’s experience, their opinion of you and respect for you actually increases. Of course, saying no can be difficult but the book gives some ideas on how to soften the message.
Think about Warren Buffett – he made 90 percent of his wealth with ten investments. We need to pause constantly and ask ourselves if we are investing in the right activities. So the next time you are trying to decide what action to take if your answer isn’t a “HELL YEAH!” it might not be worth your time!
About the author: Greg McKeown writes, teaches, and speaks around the world on the importance of living and leading as an Essentialist. He has spoken at companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Salesforce.com, Symantec, and Twitter and is among the most popular bloggers for the Harvard Business Review and LinkedIn Influencer’s group. He co-created the course, Designing Life, Essentially at Stanford University, was a collaborator of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Multipliers.
This review was written by Karen Kalantzis (Community Development Manager, Launch Workplaces).