In Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown describes productivity as a mindset of less is better. He maintains that throwing more energy in fewer paths will lead to greater progress.
Here are two brief excerpts from the book:
The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few form the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.
Essentialism…is a discipline you apply each and every time you are faced with a decision about whether to say yes or whether to politely decline. It’s a method for making the tough trade-off between lots of good things and a few really great things. It’s about learning how to do less but better so you can achieve the highest possible return on every precious moment of your life.
These books are set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.
Often, when talking about the content of this blog site in different conversations, we tend to focus on the practical tips rather than the principles behind them. That’s easy to do — and rewarding. The practice is where we see the results. But it is important to not skip past the principles; they are the foundation for all the practicals. As we know, if the foundation is weak or non-existent, the house goes down.
One way we try to keep the balance on our Instagram page is to post principles on Mondays and practical tips for Wednesdays. (Fridays are just for fun.)
Practices vary, but principles are key. For example, in the story of the Good Samaritan, one principle we can see is the beauty of loving our neighbors in hands-on, generous, inconvenient ways.
Does this mean that we must stop for every hitchhiker we see while driving? No.
Does this mean that we must open our front yard for a block party every Tuesday night? No.
Does this mean we must fit every charity that asks into our monthly budget? No.
Does this mean we need to purposefully look for times when we can reach out and care for someone in our path, even at the cost of time or money? Absolutely YES.
Hear practicals and think principles. Your ways to care will likely be different from those used by other people. It’s helpful to share ideas, but those are not binding. Those ideas should sharpen our focus on loving our neighbor; they may also be a new way we demonstrate that love.
The principle is (hopefully) a shared priority, but the practice needs to flow from that — not just done because someone else is doing it. When you hear what someone else is doing and think it sounds great, make sure you are clear on the principle behind it before you decide if the practice fits that principle well in your life.