Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.
Essentialism rejects the idea that we can fit it all in. Rather than dividing energy among many activities and making a millimeter of progress in a million directions, an essentialist gives energy to fewer activities and makes significant progress in the area that matters the most.
The way of an essentialist means living by design, not default. Instead of reacting to events, an essentialist takes a disciplined, systematic approach to determining where their highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost flawless.
Non-Essentialist Thinks: All things to all people
- “I have to”
- “It’s all important”
- “How can I fit it all in?”
Essentialist Thinks: Less is better
- “I choose to”
- “Only a few things really matter”
- “What are the trade offs?”
Non-Essentialist Does: Undisciplined Pursuit of More to All
- Reacts to what’s most pressing.
- Says “yes” to people without really thinking.
- Triest to force execution at the last moment.
Essentialist Does: Disciplined Pursuit of Less
- Pauses to discern what really matters.
- Says “no” to everything except the essential.
- Removes obstacles to make execution easy.
Non-Essentialist Gets: Lives a Life that Does Not Satisfy
- Takes on too much and work suffers.
- Feels out of control.
- Unsure of whether the right things get done
- Fells overwhelmed and exhausted.
Essentialist Gets: Lives a Life that Matters
- Chooses carefully in order to do great work.
- Feels in control.
- Gets the right things done.
- Experiences joy in the journey.