The Pursuit of Less

The Tuesday Reading from Dec. 2 discusses our never-ending thirst for always doing more. It is based upon the HBR.org article by Greg McKeown “Why we Humblebrag about being busy” and Jim Collins’ “undisciplined pursuit of more”.  We are called to be essentialists, or in the words of Jim Collins, the one key to being successful today is developing “a ferocious understanding of what you’renot going to do.” How does one design their life around only the essentials things? In a world full of constant information, meetings and never ending e-mails how do we find the “stuff” that is meaningful to us? One tip is taking the time to walk, allowing yourself quite time to think and reflect. Another reason to get our there and walk! Greq McKeown suggests:

1. Schedule a personal quarterly offsite: Every three months take three hours to come up with three things you want to accomplish in the next three months. Of course the key here is to keep them essential and achievable. I can also see the need to schedule in time to accomplish these and to create milestones. First I need to schedule in my three hours to reflect on what three things do I want to accomplish. A new year seems the perfect time for this! They are on my calendar, that’s the first step.

2. Rest Well to Excel: Am I getting enough quality sleep? The easy answer to that is no. The question is how can I take the concept of being an essentialist and use it to enable me to get more sleep? How can I make better use of my time?

3. Add expiration dates on new activities: Even though an activity is successful does it need to become a “tradition”? What “traditions” are nice but not essential. McKeown says, “The next time you have a successful event, enjoy it, make the memory, and move on.” I’m not sure this always applies. Surely some repeating events are worth repeating. I think assessing at the completion of every event and discussing what the goals and objectives would be for repeating the event would be important.

4. Say no to a good opportunity every week: “consider what you would bring to the table, what you might drop to take this on, etc.  If you don’t have time to do this evaluation, you don’t have the space to do it if you accept.”  I love this statement and have shared this advice with many people already. The new behavior I need to work on is not immediately saying yes, but “that sounds really interesting, let me look at my load and see if I have the time to fit it in”.

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