I’d like to review Greg McKeown’s work for this and the next few posts. He distils his essentialism advice to 3 points:
In order to get to the essential and discard the unessential McKeown suggests constantly narrowing the field. To paraphrase, we live in a world where everything is noise and few things are truly valuable. So how to figure out what’s valuable? Continue applying tougher and tougher criteria.
I’ve been working on simplifying my life for several years, and now trying to take it from the personal realm into the work. But simplifying work commitments and tasks in an sector (grant-funded public health project) where the need is great, where worthy projects constantly pop up, and where I often succumb to requests to add “just” one more project to my list–all that was proving difficult. I go home, shut off the devices, hang with friends, with the cat, meditate, but bringing presence to work was confounding. Until I read McKeown. He took my thoughts about this subject, explained why people get into this mess, and boiled his ideas down to 3 steps. Of course following through is the work, but it’s work I’m already committed to.
This came to a head several months ago at an event, where people were discussing all the great blogs, aggregated sites etc. to find information about food, everything from recipes to starting a food business and more. At that moment it was so clear how futile it is to chase the never-ending tsunami of information about food- or any subject. Just because information is available (on iPhone, iPad, computer ,whatever) doesn’t mean we have to do anything with it or about it!
I love my work and because it’s so compelling it’s hard to say no, but McKewon says that’s exactly what to do–but hold on. Saying no is point #2. We’ll get to that later- right now, if you could only accomplish one thing what would it be? You can ask that about the next day, week or hour- you can ask it about your life!