Starting a new year always makes me pause to reflect on what was accomplished throughout the past year while anticipating possibilities yet to come. I’m not a huge fan of “New Year’s Resolutions” as it is like setting myself up for a strong start followed by a February fizzle. Maybe my failure is due the cold weather, a lack of sun, or more likely, it is just a function of setting goals that aren’t all that important.
I recently read “Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown, and found myself shaking my head YES as I read story after story about the importance of using intentional focus to maximize your strengths to make the highest contribution to your organization. Embracing Essentialism’s “less but better” principal requires you to determine what you value most and set boundaries to focus all efforts on these goals. Simply stated, if “it” (insert goal, task, project, etc) isn’t essential, you don’t do it.
“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done.”
I don’t know how many times I have tried to tackle every opportunity that came my way only to find that I was very busy and yet frustrated when I found myself spread too thin.
There is a tradeoff to every decision you make and those practicing Essentialism, believe you must be able to distinguish what is truly important and let go of the rest. It takes courage to say no when opportunities present, but if you will focus on where you can make the highest impact, you reach goals that are truly vital both personally and professionally.
I am highly intrigued by the idea of running a reverse pilot created by asking yourself, if I remove this one activity, will it have a negative consequence? As humans, we often live in fear of missing out. It is time to stop feeling paralyzed and instead focus on understanding what we are trying to achieve followed by setting boundaries to keep us from wasting time.
So, what does this mean for resolution time? Essentialism suggests making a list of anything that is crying out for your attention and then cross off everything that is not important right now. What’s left? Start there.
It takes courage to say no, but saying no opens the doors to say yes to what really matters. Armed with Essentialism knowledge and a zest for what might be this year, I am looking forward to an exciting 2016 by focusing on making higher contributions and reaching vital organizational goals.
As a lifelong learner, I’m curious… What strategies are you using to accomplish MORE by doing LESS?