I just finished reading a book that Noah Kagan recently recommended, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I heard about it on Tim Ferriss's podcast.
The book was a pretty straightforward read. I found it a bit lacking in depth and non-obvious examples. The writing was good, as were the stories, but I was looking for more of a philosophical angle. I also think the book could've been more concise. I do like the core ideas of focusing on the one biggest thing at a time, saying no to everything that you're not 200% excited about, and spending time with the family and friends that will make life meaningful as opposed to email or other non-essential things that can keep us busy.
Below are my notes and main takeaways.
1 the essentialist
Ignore everything except what is essential
Refuse all other requests and be honest
Is this the very most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now? If not definitive yes then say no.
Let others handle email conversations instead of jumping in first
Stop attending meetings unless have construction
Less but better
Choosing right activities first
If you don't prioritize your life someone else will
Undisciplined pursuit of more
Explore and evaluate
Myths: I have to, it's all important, I can do both
Truths: I choose to, only a few things really matter, I can do anything but not everything
Stop straddled strategy
Choice is an action not a thing. We are always choosing.
We forget our ability to choose. Learned helplessness.
More effort doesn't always yield better results
Almost everything is nonessential
Scan environment for vital few
4 trade off
What can I go big on?
No solutions, just trade offs
If too busy to think then too busy
Solitude required for serious work
Deliberate distraction free time and space to sit and think
Space to read
Listen for what's not being said
Keep a journal
Review every 90 days at high level for patterns
Animals who play more survive better
Required for cognitive development
Protect the asset
Is this something I absolutely love and want to do or have
Only do things that are 90% right
Be very selective
Make criteria selective and explicit
Decide on essential intent
Inspirational and concrete
11 dare: power of graceful no
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing
Separate the decision from the relationship
Consistently saying no
Own the awkward pause; Count to 3
Soft no: no, but (do it later)
Let me check my calendar and get back to you
Use email bounce backs
Yes, what should I de prioritize?
You're welcome to X but I'm not willing to Y
Slow yes and quick no
12 uncommit: cut losses quickly
Beware of endowment effect and sunk cost fallacy
Pretend u don't own it yet. How much would I pay to buy this or how hard would I work to get on this project?
Cut out options
What is the limiting constraint or obstacle
17 progress: small wins
Done better than perfect
Minimal viable progress
Minimal viable preparation
Visually reward progress
18 flow and routine
19 focus: what's important now
Less but better
Very selective in hiring