A Better Way to Live (and a Book Giveaway!)

by Rebecca on September 29, 2014

happy english bull terrier dog lying upside downI try to only share really relevant books that I believe have the power to make your lives better and more manageable.  Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown is definitely one of those books.

How many of you feel like you can never get it all done and it seems like there are never enough hours in the day?

McKeown’s premise is that “there are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in.  And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital.”  I think we can all agree with that!

Essentialism is a lifestyle that enables you to discern between the “many trivial” and the “vital few.”  Being an essentialist means you are constantly asking yourself “Am I focused on the right activities?”

The number one thing I took away was the importance of tradeoffs. If I say yes to one thing I am automatically saying no to something else.

For example, if I consistently say “yes” to staying late at work, I am also saying “no” to those most important to me-my family.  I certainly realize that life does not fall into this neat little box, but reading this book has enabled me to consider any new opportunity with a lot more critical thinking than I normally would have.

A friend just last week asked me to attend a weekly study with her every Tuesday evening for the next few months and as much as I wanted to, I knew that if I said “yes” to that, I would be saying “no” to both my family and to 8 hours of sleep that night-both of these are way more important than the study would be.  It made the decision to turn down a fun opportunity easier.

Second is the power of choice.  It can be difficult to remember that since you are an adult you have the power to choose what you do and do not do. It is so easy to let other people determine what fills your day instead of intentionally doing it yourself.  Too many times, we spend most days REACTING and putting out fires rather than actually making progress.

You only have so many hours in a day therefore you must determine what you do and don’t do with your most precious resource-your time.

This is where creating your life plan can be so essential to figuring out what is actually most important to you.  I only have 5 things in my life plan that are non-negotiables – those are what are most important to me and honestly I don’t have room for much else at this stage in my life.

Lastly, is the momentum of focus.  How many times at work or at home are you trying to juggle five things?  I actually used to be proud of my ability to multi-task and now I know that is nothing to be proud of.  Numerous studies have shown is that multi-tasking is a myth.

You need to focus on what only you can do at work and at home and delegate the rest.  Stop trying to be a multi-tasking superhero- it does not work and it certainly is not sustainable!

To be successful in both your professional and personal lives, instead of doing more you need to be doing less.  I know it sounds crazy, but it works.  You only have so much time and energy, so why not be certain you are focusing on the right things!

If you would like a free copy of Essentialism, leave us a comment below and you will be entered to win.

 Do you struggle with focusing on the right things?  If so what is your biggest obstacle?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie October 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

I have heard Rebecca mention this in conversation. It is a simple but profound thought, that by saying yes to one thing you are saying no to something else. I always thought I had a hard time saying “no” when in reality I am saying “no” just to something else. Time is a precious commodity which I as I get older have come to realize much more acutely. I guess my biggest obstacle to focusing on the right thing is not thinking through the entire ramification of that immediate decision to want to please that person in that moment by saying “yes”.

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Rachel Cross October 7, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I want to learn how to have A Better Way To Live!!!

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Rebecca October 7, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Thanks for commenting Rachel- you are entered!

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Danielle Snyder October 8, 2014 at 9:19 am

In the “bigger, better, stronger, faster” society that we exist in, it can be very difficult to separate out times to slow down and actually take a breath. I absolutely agree that many times when we say yes to something we don’t realize what we’re saying no to, and bringing our focus back to the essentials can be a challenge. While it can be scary to hand the reigns over to someone else, delegation can also be very freeing. Its a balancing act, and I could sure use this book to help figure it out! 🙂

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Richard October 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

This is a constant struggle as a new business owner. I am constantly redirected, putting out fires, and get sidetracked on my priority for the day. With a small staff delegation can be hard, but I always have to remember that there are only 24 hours in a day.

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Rebecca October 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm

One of the things I struggle with the most is realizing you never are done and being okay with that. I love my to do list but the reality is as soon as everything is done there is more!

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