March 21, 2014

McKeown cover

Greg McKeown tells us how to make our lives less complicated and focus on the essentials. Credit: Random House


OK, we're all busy. Working. Tweeting. Facebooking. Emailing. But what happens when you start doing so many small things, you stop making real headway on the big, important projects?

Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, argues that while it takes courage to stop saying yes, you'll ultimately be more productive in the long run.

As life has gotten more complex, McKeown says, people think they have to do everything and can end up getting pulled in too many different directions. By eliminating the non-essentials, you become able to focus.

But how realistic is it for employees to say “no” to colleagues or bosses?  It’s one thing for managers to opt out of meetings, but when an employee is told to get a task done, saying no isn’t always an option. 

Greg McKeown

McKeown himself has previously struggled balancing a stressful work life with his personal life. Credit: Random House

McKeown himself has struggled with maintaining a healthy balance between his work and personal life. In the weeks leading up to the birth of his daughter, McKeown received a memo about an important meeting from his boss, who joked that the date of the meeting wouldn't be a great time for his daughter to be born. 

Sure enough, that's exactly the day she arrived. But, instead of celebrating this important moment in his life, what did McKeown choose? The meeting. And it was a choice he regretted.

So, despite the constant pressure to do more, it may be worth keeping in mind the lesson from McKeown’s experience. “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”  

stress, Greg McKeown, Essentialism, Body and Mind, Business, Culture

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