efficiency essentialism focus prioritisation productivity saying no simplify work Aug 21, 2023

Welcome to Weekly Whisper #115.

For this weeks whisper I’m re-visiting something I wrote last year.

Way back when everyone seemed to be super busy and trying to deliver on lots of priorities. “I’ve never been busier”, “I don’t have the bandwidth” and “There’s a lot going on” was the language used to explain the relentless pursuit of trying to get so much ‘stuff’ done.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an advocate for getting stuff done. I wrote more recently about answering the question “Are you busy?” with “I’m making progress” and personally I’ve slipped back into being busy. So, this whisper might be as much for me as it is for you 😊

The disciplined pursuit of less… but better

 I often wonder whether the books, articles or people I ‘bump’ into are a reflection of my unconscious bias to support my own interest or learning or to help the clients I serve. Either way, I’ve been reflecting a lot – for myself and my clients – about some of the insights in Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism.

The premise being, that the amount of information, data, tasks, priorities, and things to get done can be so overwhelming that if we were to focus on the vital few that make the biggest difference, then perhaps we might get better outcomes.

In working with clients I’ve been struck by how many are (supposedly) focused on numerous priorities. Like many of us, I’m sure we’re trying to juggle many seemingly ‘most important’ things. The irony being, that at any one point in time there can be only ONE most important thing. When we attempt to have numerous most important things they are often never optimised.

It takes discipline, effort, and focus to pursue less. But what a wonderful possibility the outcomes might present for you.

Consider how many things you have on the go. I’d assume your plate is brimming! What would it be like if you were focused on less but went a little deeper?

Could you say no to a few less important things and therefore say yes to the few most important things?

In order to focus we have to escape to focus – Greg McKeown

I’ve come across this many times in my career when people (including me) have used the excuse that we are time-poor and don’t have the time to do some of the non-urgent but important stuff.

I’ve written before about how I don’t think we are nearly as often time-poor as we think. I think we are more space-poor.

Imagine being at work when you receive a call that a loved one has been in an accident and you have to get to the hospital. I’m not sure there are many people that would claim ‘I don’t have the time. I’ll get to it next week’!!

We make time for the things we perceive as important.

Unfortunately, urgency often screws with importance. And because we are often at the mercy of other people’s (and often competing) priorities, then we feel compelled to try and squeeze everything onto a relatively small plate.

So, whether it’s meditating to escape the noise or taking time out to reset and recover, or doing something to re-kindle your spirit how are you making the most of your focus by escaping to do so?

Question of the week:
Are you willing to change your relationship with “no”?

Another premise from the book Essentialism.

Often our struggle in the juggle of many things is that we are reluctant to say ‘no’.

In our reluctance to say ‘no’ our shoulders become 5 miles wide with the burden of trying to get so much done.

We play out an unconscious narrative that saying no is somehow detrimental to everyone else apart from ourselves.

I dare you to say no once in a while and see what happens.

Quote of the week:
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials – Lin Yutang

How much of your energy is drained by the un-limitless amount of noise available to our senses?

How much of your attention is re-directed to life’s thin things?

How much of your time and space have you invested in the non-essential aspects of your life?

You’ve got the wisdom. Now execute. Stop focusing on the non-essentials.

Freedom Fridays Podcast Episode 76 - Pete Clark Solo

In episode 76, Pete records a solo podcast. The Overland Track experience was a significant one for Pete and in this podcast he share’s some further thoughts and insights about his experience.

Tune in to hear about pausing to look back but focusing on what’s in front of you; Going together but at your own pace: how peer pressure exists at any age; and some reflections on the eclectic hiker.



That's all for this week. If you’ve been enjoying the Weekly Whispers please feel free to forward it to friends and anyone you think would benefit.

As always, email me at [email protected] to share your feedback or to let me know your thoughts.





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