This post was written by contributor Chelsea Becker.
You know those books, full of so much information, that you read little by little? The books that are always relevant, no matter your season of life, and always give you something to think about? I call those my ‘return books’ and I have a small stack that I like to re-read every so often. Each of my ‘return books’ serves a different purpose, whether I need to work on my relationships, boundaries, parenthood, and so forth, but there’s one book that inspires every area of my life.
I recently read Essentialism by Greg McKeown for the fourth time in my life, but instead of reading it in little sections at a time, I read it within a week, right before the start of the new year. I was on maternity leave and had some extra time (and brain space while away from work) and it hit differently this time.
It’s always inspired me, but never before did I take the time to really plan out how I could use what I learned in the book. I spent a couple of weeks going through my notes and making tasks for myself based on that. The book is about ‘doing less but better’ and living an Essentialist lifestyle so while ending it with a to-do list seemed counterproductive, I knew the upfront work would lead to a ‘less but better’ life in my future.
We’re a month into the new year and while I’m still reminding myself of the lessons I’ve learned, I’ve come a long way by implementing them. I’m feeling GOOD!
Here are the takeaways the book inspired for me:
- Check my emails 3x a day instead of keeping the window open on my desktop at all times.
- Remove ‘iMessage’ from my computer so I don’t get distracted while working; check texts when I check emails.
- If the answer isn’t a definite yes, then it’s a no.
- When a client piles more on my plate than I planned for (or anyone for that matter), ask “I can do that, but what should I deprioritize to make space for that task?”.
- Learn the slow ‘yes’ and a quick ‘no’.
- Check my bank account every quarter to eliminate unnecessary spending and subscriptions.
- Only buy what’s essential (which inspired me to not spend $$ in January). Obviously this one will be hard and I don’t want to live a fully minimal life but it’s a good reminder in general.
- Schedule ‘think time’ – away from all distractions; let your mind wander.
- Protect the asset. As someone who owns my own business and works with a lot of team members and clients, protecting my mental and physical health should be essential.
- If an email doesn’t need an answer, don’t answer.
- If it no longer fits, eliminate it altogether. This can relate to relationships, commitments, tasks, and so on.
BTW, the author just released this follow-up book, Effortless, which teaches you how to live the essentialist’s life effortlessly. I haven’t read it yet but it’s next on my list!
Let me know if you’ve read this book!