How to Thrive by Accomplishing the Essential

by Stephen Mills on February 9, 2009

Accomplish the Essential

You can accomplish your most essential goals and make amazing improvements in your life if you will suspend your disbelief for a short period of time.  When I first ran across the ideas that follow, I was extremely skeptical.  I thought it was impossible to implement this stuff.  It was pie in the sky philosophizing.  My job responsibilities just wouldn’t allow it and there were too many obligations in my personal life.   I filled my head with reasons why this couldn’t work.  But it has and it is continuing to work.  Give it a chance.

I learned these ideas from Leo Babauta and I’ve added my own flavor to them.

Identify the Essential

  1. List of all the areas that you consider essential in your work and life.  You can do one list for work and a separate list for your personal life if you wish.
  2. Obviously you could make the categories so broad as to include everything, but then you would be cheating and undercutting your own success.  Things like "Spend quality time with my spouse" is a category that is about right.  "Work on Personal Development" might be another.  "Focus on only two projects at work" might be another.  The narrower and more defined each category, the more success you will have.  Otherwise you are just watering down the impact.
  3. Now cut that list down to a maximum of six combined for both work and your personal life.  Ideally get to four, but if you must you may keep six.  This might be hard but just do it.  Everything in your life can’t be essential.  You just think it is right now.  Suspend your disbelief and give it a chance to work and you will be amazed at the results.

Eliminate the Rest

Huh?  You can’t eliminate all the other stuff can you?  Oh yes you can, and it is an incredibly freeing experience when you do it.  Leo expands on ways to do this in his book.  I will be posting some additional information this week as well. 

  1. If you want to accomplish the essential, you simply must eliminate the rest.  Otherwise they will distract you into chaos.
  2. You need to make a very important decision in your life.  Sit down and ask yourself the following question.  "Am I going to do what is important and essential in my life or am I going to continue to water down those precious areas with the trivial and the not so important?"
  3. A common tactic to help with this is to ask yourself the following question all day long every day.  "At this point in time, out of everything I could be doing, is this the very most important one to be working on?"  If the answer to that question is no, then why are you doing it?  When I started using this method, it was a shocking and eye-opening experience.  I realized how habits had taken me away from what is important and into the trivial.  I think you will have the same experience.

Let me know what you think about this article and if there is anything I can to help you.

Stephen.

{ 1 trackback }

Eliminate the Non-Essential From Your Life — The Rat Race Trap
February 11, 2009 at 8:59 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Daily Jump Start Guy February 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Great post Stephen. Like most insights, sounds simple, not easy in practice. It is amazing however, what we can get done with focus and elimination of what we think is important. Keep up the inspiration.

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Bardo August 25, 2014 at 9:12 pm

BS low – ranlatoiity high! Really good answer!

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Stephen - Rat Race Trap February 11, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Daily Jump Start Guy, Everything has a price. You have to pay the price to get what you want.

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