Book Review: This Essentialism by Greg McKeown

I originally saw this book advertised in an American magazine (and podcast) I subscribe to called ‘Success Magazine’.  The book was plugged as an aid to help readers ‘eliminate the superfluous, unrewarding and unproductive activities that drain time, energy and focus’. As someone who spends far too much time checking emails, scrolling through Instagram and watching mindless YouTube videos, I thought this was the perfect book for me. I have read a lot of personal development books in the past year or so but never have I been quite so inspired to implement the words into my own life. This is one of those books that has changed how I think forever!

In short, This Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. In modern day society, many of us find ourselves stretched too thin. We say yes to social events we don’t want to attend in fear of missing out. We say yes to extra work projects in fear of upsetting colleauges if we say no. We spend mind-numbing hours scrolling through social media in search of our next dopamine hit. But all these non-essential things take up time we just don’t have. As Greg Mckeown so clearly explains,

“If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will.”

Time is our most precious commodity and many of us say yes to things without truely stopping to consider what is essential. The main message: do less and be happier. I, personally, have already adopted the power of saying no. As Greg Mckeown makes clear, we can say no and regret it for a few minutes, or we can say yes and regret it for days, weeks, months or years. Saying no is hard, but living with actions and decisions you don’t want or have time for is worse!

“Say no to the people and things in your life that don’t matter and free up 100% of your energy into things that have meaning to you.”

So on that note, here are some things you’ll catch me saying no to in the very-near future:

    • Checking work emails after work
    • Participating in work related texts/phone conversations
    • Agreeing to non-essential work projects
    • Facebook!
    • Flossing my teeth
    • Worrying about nothing
    • Drinking wine (I’ve never said yes to this one!)
    • Watching sport
    • Ironing (never do this one either)
    • Sunbathing
    • Attending ‘organised fun’

And with all that extra time, here is what I’ll definitely be saying yes to:

      • 5 o’clock ‘Happy Hour’
      • After work runs/gym sessions
      • Pizza and film evenings
      • Reading and blogging
      • Cinema visits
      • Sleep!

 

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