This is the second article in the series describing Leo Babauta’s ideas from his book Power of Less, The: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta. I highly recommend it.
The first article can be found here:
Identify the Essential
Choose only the essential and you will create maximal impact with minimal resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy.
In contrast to most systems, in the Power of Less you learn to choose the essential first. Most others tell you how to get things done quickly without teaching you how to determine what is most important to you.
You must constantly ask yourself, what is essential? No matter what you are doing and when. The context can be this hour, this day, this week, this year, or your whole life.
This is something that very few people do. Our lives are filled with the trivial. Are those hours of useless TV really essential to your long-term well-being? I doubt it. Do all of those 50 emails qualify as essential with a big impact today? Are the hours of web surfing or online games essential to your well-being or are they an easy escape?
We rationalize everything we do as important and essential when in fact it is not. Below are some questions to ask to help identify what is essential to you. But keep in mind the standard must be very high. Don’t just tell yourself everything is of the same value or everything is necessary, because it is most certainly not. Take an axe to your non-essential activities and maximize your time by concentrating on the most important.
The Key Questions
These are not all Leo’s questions. I’ve changed it up quite a bit.
Questions to identify the essential:
- What things give you that feeling of well-being or genuine happiness?
- What do you want out of life?
- What fills you with emotion and inspires you to want
to make a difference?
- What are your most important values? What’s most
important to you; the principles by which you want
to live your life.
- What are your goals? For your life, next year, next
- What do you love? Who, what, how you love to
spend your time.
- What has the biggest impact? When you are making
choices between projects, tasks, activities ask which
one will create the biggest impact.
- What has the most long-term impact?
- What did you really enjoy doing as a kid at play?
Simplify by eliminating anything that is not essential.
This part is easy. Stop doing anything that you have not identified as essential. Spend your time on your most important priorities. This simple principle will do more to advance your real goals that almost anything else you can do. The heart surgeon does not perform the janitorial duties in the operating room, even though he may be perfectly capable of it. His valuable time is best spent on the patients.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
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