We currently live in a world that encourages doing more. And often, what we are already doing is too much for us to handle. But then we set higher expectations for ourselves and impose bigger goals. Hard work is good, but we must also realize that we can’t get everything done.

It’d be much better if we start to focus on getting the most essential things done. This would imply minimizing the time, energy and effort spent on the less important stuff. Essentialism is the pursuit of less. That is the allocating focus, time and useful energy into the most important areas of our life.

Essential work with papers, coffee and computer on table

The idea of essentialism is INTENTIONALITY. Busy doesn’t always mean productive. It’s really about what you work on rather than much you work; the quality of your work rather than how much you spend being “busy”. If you’re working on the right things, it is absolutely possible to do less, but do better at the same time.

CHOOSE: This is living by design and not by default. Assess your life and decide which areas are truly valuable to you but you are underinvesting in. It could be faith, academics, mental health, exercise, business, time with family, meaningful friendships, learning a useful skill, developing a talent etc.

Checklist with yes and no boxes

This is aimed towards determining your values, your passion and your purpose.
What do I want my life to be all about?
What do I love?
What do I stand for?
What does a happy and fulfilled life look like to me?

Think carefully about these things and determine how to invest more time and energy in them:
Why does it matter to you?
What do you need to change to bring this about?
How much time will it take?
What will success look like after you’ve implemented the change?

Girl with a laptop thinking deeply

You should then identify the unnecessary things in your life that you are overinvesting in. Probably those things you’ve been doing for the wrong reasons. For you, this list could include things like scrolling through social media endlessly, spending hours doing non-urgent tasks, saying yes to too many obligations etc.

Sometimes I too can get carried away by listing all these numerous goals to achieve in a day, week, month or year. But I understand now to encourage myself by aiming at the most important things. So that when I achieve them, I have better confidence and can continually dedicate the rest of my time to the aspects that actually matter.

EXECUTION: Simplify and prioritise.
Make a list of all your to-do’s, but goals and responsibilities for the next month.
What item has the greatest impact?
What items can you eliminate/ delegate?
Plan the next action steps for your most important goal.

Work setup with woman on phone, computer and files on table

Also, you need to set up your life in such a way that makes it easier for you to execute the things you consider essential. You can start your habits small, use a physical trigger, create a routine and track your progress visually.

DEEP WORK: This is when you perform activities in a state of distraction-free concentration that helps push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. If something is essential to you, it’d be wise to invest some quality, effective time into it.

Man and woman getting deep work done on their laptops

So find out and focus on what the vital few in your life are, and eliminate the trivial many. Few things are exceptionally valuable. Most other things are just noise. This is what we all need to realise if we are aimed at living fuller, more impactful lives.

If you’re interested in learning more about essentialism, check out Greg McKeown’s book- “Essentialism- the Disciplined Pursuit of Less” here. Let me know in the comments which areas you are deciding to put more effort in to improve the focus of your life.

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5 Responses

  1. Fumaj says:

    Great content as always 👌🏾….Teach us, we’re your students.

  2. Miracle says:

    Really wonderful read. Funnily enough, I have been thinking of the same things recently. Thank you wonderful Evelyn.

  1. 20 December 2020

    […] set aside weekly or monthly to analyze the journey and modify your habits. Check out this post on “Essentialism” to see how to eliminate the less important and focus on the vital aspects of your […]

  2. 27 September 2021

    […] must learn to be a critical thinker, differentiate what is essential from what is not and take wise and calculated risks. Learn not to be afraid to show up and […]

  3. 5 October 2021

    […] Determining what is essential and what is not will probably take some time and a lot of practice. But the sooner you get a hang of this, the easier it will be for you to spend your time on relatively more valuable work. […]

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