I’m obsessed with the essential. “We don’t need it,” “Get rid of it,” and “No thank you,” are guiding mantras ‘round my household. But I’m suspect of time management gurus, especially ones who espouse simplicity as a way of life and who are successful. Success breeds complexity. (Do you really think Tim Ferris, author of the bestseller, The 4 Hour Work Week works only four hours a week?) Simplicity and traditional success are a tricky combo. The masters of it are exceptions. They are also chilled, prosperous, and rarely in a rush.
Leo Babauta is in no rush. Why hurry when you know what’s most important?
His new book, The Power Of Less, is an easy breezy read on, “the fine art of limiting yourself to the essential … in business and in life.”
My Four Favorite Reminders from The Power of Less are:
1. Let your life be ruled by the moment. (Huh, is this a productivity book I’m reading?) Don’t schedule most appointments. If someone requests an appointment, tell them to call you a little before they’d like to meet and if you’re available, then meet.
2. If you aren’t finding yourself passionate about a certain tasks, allow yourself to move on to something you’re more passionate about. The more passionate you are about a task or project, the more energy you’ll put into it, and the better you’ll do with it.
3. Create a simple projects list—just three projects, not ten, that will have your entire focus until you see them through to completion. The other projects on your list go on the “On the Deck List.”
Leo is a big proponent of email checking restraints. His suggestion, like that of Tim Ferris’, is to set email times—check it once in the morning, and check it once in the afternoon. Leo admits that this is not as easy as it sounds. His answer is deceptively simple:
4. Every time you find yourself habitually switching to e-mail, stop yourself. Breathe. And then focus on your work instead. Your reward: you get a lot more done.
Got the itch to Twitter or check in on your Facebook friends in the middle of a looming deadline? Breathe. The itch will pass and your fans will love you all the more when you tweet. I breathe a lot.
Many productivity books have a drill sergeant running between the lines. Panic! So much to do to organize all that I have to do. The Power of Less is a sweet exception to that. Babauta’s energy is gentle and kind. No whistles. No drills. Just a zen-like understanding of what it takes to honor what’s essential.