Book Highlights: Essentialism, Greg McKeown

✋ “If you could do only one thing with your life right now, what would you do?

We often think of choice as a thing. But a choice is not a thing. Our options may be things, but a choice—a choice is an action. It is not just something we have but something we do.

For too long, we have overemphasized the external aspect of choices (our options) and underemphasized our internal ability to choose (our actions). This is more than semantics. Think about it this way. Options (things) can be taken away, while our core ability to choose (free will) cannot be.

Catch yourself one time by saying the words, “I have to.” Replace them with, “I choose to [fill in the blank].”

What is the most important thing I can do today?

When the thought “I will do both” crosses your mind, stop, pause, and pick one of the choices.

Escape Schedule a Personal Quarterly Off-Site to explore what is essential.

Look Start an essentialist journal: Write only one sentence a day answering the question, “What’s the most important thing that happened today?

Spend ten minutes playing a game with a child. Lose yourself in the magical exploration that comes so easily to children.

One time today when something isn’t a clear yes, make it a clear no.

Before going into your next meeting, pause and ask yourself, “What is the one thing I really want to achieve in this meeting?

Write out how to say no gracefully. Word it carefully and practice it.

Look at each commitment on your calendar for the week. Ask, “If I wasn’t already involved, how hard would I work to get involved now?”

Use this new rule for one day: If you add a new activity, you need to edit out an existing activity to make space for it.

Next time anyone asks you to do something, pause and say, “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.”

Add four thirty-minute “appointments” on your calendar every day for buffer: time set aside to handle the unexpected problems and opportunities that come your way.

When you face an obstacle today, instead of pushing harder against it, ask, “How can I remove this obstacle altogether?

Start a meeting with the question “What has gone right since we last met?

Starting with a blank one-week calendar, design your Dream Routine: how you want to spend your time each week.

Pause once today and ask yourself, “What’s important now?”