EVEN IF TIME REGULARLY ESCAPES YOU
What if I told you that in order to do more as a leader, you need to do so much less? This is not just about delegation. It’s about adopting essentialism steps you need to get the right things done.
While you’ve likely heard pieces of this advice on how to focus before, author Greg McKeown has a way of weaving it all together in a way that makes sense.
If this article grabs your attention, dive deeper inside his book on the topic here.
FIRST, A WORD OF CAUTION
“Yes” men and woman, you’re going to find this process a little disturbing.
While there are many reasons you’re likely not setting boundaries against non-essential things on your to-do lists, if you want to adopt essentialism, you’re going to need to start.
So, if you can cast aside your need to be “liked,” your sense of “value” being linked to getting everything done, and your drive to become “irreplaceable,” essentialism gets to become so much easier.
Without further ado, here’s where you need to place your focus if you want to shore up your time and mental bandwidth to produce the best possible outcomes.
STEP 1 – EXPLORE AND EVALUATE
This step takes time.
Think about it like this…
If you’re only going to engage your time and energy into the things that are going to move the biggest levers for you, it’s going to take a dedicated effort to know which “things” fit those categories.
Because once you spend the time figuring out what matters most, you’re going to fully commit to them.
So much so that if something comes up for you “to do” that isn’t on the shortlist, you’re automatic response gets to be no. And it’s a no because it doesn’t fit your definition of the highest and best use of your time or skills.
This step is as much about giving yourself permission to do less as it is digging out why you feel so compelled to say yes to everything in the first place.
STEP 2 – ELIMINATE
If Step 1 was hard for you as a people-pleasing, doer-of-everything, this step is going to be even more difficult…
You’ve done the thinking. You know what you’re fully committing to going forward.
Now, it’s time to get out that great big laundry basket and sort your brights from your whites.
Yes, it’s time to start thinking in terms of what “fits” the category of “will” and “won’t” when it comes to reaching the goals you set.
And, you’ll have some hard decisions to make. Because you won’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings or let other people down. But, here’s the reframe in all that.
If you don’t decide how you allocate your time, someone else will fill up your calendar for you with their own agenda. Doesn’t it feel much more empowering to create your own instead?
This step will make you painfully aware that you are not superhuman. You only have so many waking hours in your day. Choose those things that are “essential” to feeling your best and fulfilling your purpose.
The rest can fill up someone else’s calendar.
STEP 3 – EXECUTE
This is the step that the project and operations managers in the crowd actually love. But in truth, everyone should enjoy this part.
If you’ve done the work in steps 1 and 2, you’ve basically cleared your “to do” list of all the things that feel like distractions and marginal to your “big lever” goals.
Now, instead of the “barrel through it” mentality, you’ll have the time and space to get more done. Found time on your calendar from only doing what’s essential to you makes this your new reality.
Piles of things that are partially complete will disappear. As will the stress you feel being under the gun to deliver loads of projects over the finish line all at the same time.
You’ll likely feel much more joy in your day to day “doing” because of it. And, even if you’re not prone to checklists or systems, you’ll end up developing a process for each of the projects you are working on. Ultimately, it’s because you’ve made space mentally to figure out the logical path to completion.
MAKING THESE ESSENTIALISM STEPS YOUR NEW NORMAL
It all seems good on paper, right? Essentialist thinking doesn’t have to live in your “nice in theory” bucket though.
All it takes for you to win back your time and your focus is following the three “E” steps.
- Explore and evaluate
Choose to do that, and you’ll spend far less time getting more done. And if you could use some help in any of these three stages, schedule a free strategy session with me to get into action.