Are You an Essentialist?

Planning for the Essentialist

You probably notice that there haven’t been many blog posts on here lately. I just never seem to have gotten around to writing them. There always seems to be something else that I have to do, and life seems constantly be so busy. I now know that this is partly because I have never been an “essentialist”!

It’s so hard fitting everything into the day …or I am I simply making excuses for procrastinating!

Yet, I always feel like I’m busy. I’m working who knows how many hours. Always at the computer. Tweeting here. Facebooking there. Yet, why am I tweeting? What messages am I trying to convey?

If you follow out tweets, you will notice that I haven’t even tweeted about any of our posts lately … because there simply haven’t been any recent posts. What’s the use of spending time tweeting if there isn’t a goal?

I’ve always tried to fit in everything I can into my day. Even in my teaching days, I’d take on extra work if somebody asked me. I remember when I was about 30 starting a new teaching job at a reasonably prestigious New Zealand school. I wanted to make a good impression. I hadn’t (yet) convinced them to appoint me Head of Department (although they did five years later), but as well as teaching five classes I took on the Administrative Head of Cricket role, accepted responsibility for changing the school’s reporting system, ran the Young Enterprise companies, and in winter, did my best to coach a soccer team. Is it any wonder that when I look back, I have to admit I was pretty crap at all of the roles. I eventually had a nervous breakdown one Friday lunchtime when I was simultaneously being hounded for new report designs so the school could save postage costs, art the same time as all 25 cricket teams needed their gear bags sorted for the next day’s games.

It has been a running joke most of my life about how big my To Do list is. Even today, I have over 200 items on it – and it has been far larger at times in the past. I feel that there have been times when I have spent more times putting my To Do list together than I have spent clearing items off it.

Even back in my university days in the 1980s I constantly fell behind in things. I would promise I’d do things by a deadline but soon found that I moved from being a few minutes late to being hours, even days late.

A couple of days ago, Larry decided it was time to turn on his “Life Coach” mode again, in relation to me. He reminded me about the importance of this site, the importance of reinventing myself, As well as helping other guys to reinvent themselves.

At the same time, in my day-job as a freelance writer, I was ghost-writing a post for a client about the best business books you should read to inspire you. One of the books on the list caught my eye, so I went to Amazon to check it out – Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I ended up buying the Kindle edition.

It got me thinking. Why am I trying to do everything, but in reality doing little of value? Why do I focus so much of my life on the non-essential?

The motto of the essentialist is “less, but better.” It’s time for me to review my life to follow an essentialist discipline.

An important lesson I have learned from my early reading of the book is, “If you don’t prioritize your life, somebody else will.”

I will report back more on this fascinating book as I read through it. Now, all I have to do is to find time to actually read it!

photo credit: yourbestdigs calendar inside planner on clean desk via photopin (license)

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