No. 156

Becoming an Essentialist

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown stood on my nightstand for weeks. It was a nightly reminder of how I have been wanting to shift things in my life.

It all comes down to this: “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

Our lives are filled with such informational clutter. Physical clutter too. We collect news articles on Flipboard, old pairs of jeans that we swear we’ll fit into again someday, email subscriptions (because we needed that free offer and never thought to unsubscribe even though we don’t even read those emails) — the list goes on.

Somewhere in the process of accumulating (and wanting to feel like we’re keeping up), our freedom and our clarity are lost. Not permanently so, but we forget them in the piles in our heads and in our homes.

Essentialism provided a series of perfect notes reminding me that an extra hour of sleep mean more productivity, not less; that if it isn’t a clear yes, it’s a clear no; and that with limits and boundaries we become limitless.

As much as we’ve been heard that ‘less is more’, the concept takes time to integrate. This book does a brilliant job of helping with those illustrations, and at the end, I was sold on being an essentialist in everything I do.

For me, the biggest struggle is the art of the graceful no — or how to say yes to the things that really matter. It’s not that I forget what really matters, only that I love helping people so much in my business, I sometimes fail to see the trade-off — what free time I might be losing by taking on another project. My new mantra? “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” Those extra moments of reflection are key for creating space.

Obviously, there’s so much more I could talk about and dive into here, I’ll let you find the gems that suit you perfectly. I guarantee, by the end, you’ll be transforming into an Essentialist too.

On Amazon: Essentialism

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

One thought on “Becoming an Essentialist

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about simplicity and what’s most important lately. At first, simplifying was all no for me and I think that’s why it fell apart rather quickly. I like this idea of aiming more for saying yes to things that really matter. About saying yes to what is essential.

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.