Too many emails, lots of things to do, too many choices, so many phone calls, a highly cluttered desk and so many instant messages to respond to. Does that sound like your life? How do you cut through all this chaos of modern daily living and actually get things done?
Leo Babauta tells you exactly how in this bestseller The Power of Less. Leo Babauta shows you exactly how you can be able to focus on only what is essential and do that first. This ‘The Power of Less’ summary will highlight what is covered in the two-part book that is packed with lots of strategies.
Part 1: The Principles
In this part of the book, Leo Babauta focuses on the six principles of simplifying your life to maximize productivity. The six principles he discusses here are; set limits, choose what is essential, simplify, focus, create new habits and start small. The biggest problem, he points out is that people are doing so many unimportant things in a day such that the essential things are not done.
Spending the day so busy doing all these unimportant things doesn’t make one productive. You are limited by the time you have in a day, and therefore you need to have as much of what is mostly being done in the time you have. That is how you increase productivity without having to worry about working late.
To be able to choose the essentials then you must learn to set limitations. When you have selected the essentials, then you are able to create a significant impact with few resources. “….our entire lives are like this. We live without limits.
And while that freedom can seem fun at first, after a while, it gets to be too much. You do not have room for everything. We just can’t fit it in our lives, no matter how much we would like so.”
In everything you do you must ask yourself “what is essential?” to be able to choose the essential, Leo Babauta presents some questions that you need to ask yourself first.
- What are your values?
- What are your goals?
- What do you love?
- What is important to you?
- What has the biggest impact?
- What has the most long term impact?
- Needs vs. wants
- Eliminate the non-essential
- Continual editing process
After you have figured out the essentials and simplified then you need to narrow your focus. Leo Babauta states that “Focus is your most important tool in becoming more effective.” You should narrow your focus by; focusing on one project at a time instead of multitasking, focusing on the present to reduce stress and anxiety and focus on one goal until it is achieved.
You will also need to form new habits to be able to achieve less in your life. Leo Babauta goes ahead to explain how you can develop new habits with ease. Even when forming new habits you need to focus on one habit at a time. He presents a challenge that you can use to form new habits. The challenge contains the following steps;
- Select one habit for the challenge
- Write down your plan. Indicate what your goals will be for each day and what will trigger your actions.
- Post your goal publicly. Tell as many people as possible about your goal. This will increase accountability.
- Report on your progress daily. Report to the people you informed about your goals on the progress you have made each day.
- Celebrate your new habit. At the end of a month, you will have formed a new habit. Celebrate it and be happy with how far you have come.
Finally with everything that you do you need to start small. Starting small is important because it gives you a clear focus and constant improvement which motivates you to continue achieving your goals. You can apply the act of starting small in anything you want to do in your life for instance exercise, productivity, walking, answering emails, healthy eating and everything else.
Part 2: The Practice
This part of the book is about how you can practice the 6 principles learned in part 1 in many different aspects of your life. He focuses on some of the elements that are overwhelming many people, but these principles are actually applicable in many more aspects of life. Take for instance the aspect of simple goals and projects.
“The power of less is perfect for achieving goals: Limit yourself to fewer goals, and you’ll achieve more.” You can use the one goal system where you focus on only one goal at a time, but you start with the goal that will have the most significant effect. Write all the goals in the different aspects of your life down and then choose the top three.
Narrow down to the most important one in those three. Breakdown the major goal into small goals that you should achieve in set time. This means that you apply limits and you have an action plan to accomplish each of the small goals to get you to the primary goal.
When you simplify your goals and your projects, then you are able to use simple tasks to achieve them which sets you on the way to success. Have a list of 3 most important tasks (MITs) that will be the focus of your day. You can do more than these three tasks, but by all means, you want those three tasks to have been done by the end of the day.
By the end of this part, you will have grasped how to adopt using the power of less in many aspects that you do. Your day will be well focused, and you will be more productive.
What I Love About the Book
The book is highly practical and actionable. If you are looking for a book that will teach you how to be minimalistic in all aspects of your life, then this is it. It is well written and with a well-organized simple structure that takes you from the principles of being less to how you can achieve being less.
Why You Should Read the Book
This book will help you to get a hold of your life. It teaches you how you can be able to become less in many aspects of your life, so things become simple. There are always so many things to do and so many choices that you can get overwhelmed.
With this book, you will narrow your focus, so you are able to get things done one after the other effectively. You will become more productive in little time and achieve more with few resources.
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