Business Lifestyle

How You Can Apply Essentialism To Your Business

apply essentialism to your business

I recently read the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown, and it changed the way I look at pretty much everything.

So what is essentialism exactly? It is the disciplined pursuit of less. The whole idea is to design your life and not let things happen to you. We have so many options and opportunities but no time to do everything – even though we are pressured to say yes to everything all the time. Essentialism is about being able to “filter through all those options and selecting only those that are truly essential”. Living by design, and not by default.

Less but better.

apply essentialism to your business

I think we call all take away valuable lessons from this book, especially entrepreneurs and business owners. I used to take on so many responsibilties and always felt like I had to be busy to feel like I was accomplishing something. Throughout the book, Mckeown explains how we can live an Essentialist life.

How you can apply essentialism to your business

Essence.

The mindset of the essentialist is that we have the power of choice. In life, we tend to forget that options are things and choices are actions. We ALWAYS have a choice. When you give up your power to choose – you allow others to make choices for you. Having this incredible power of choice is great, but it’s not always easy. This is where discern is important. The essentialist distinguishes between what is valuable and what is worthless, and most things are nonessential, it is up to us to discern what is actually necessary.

In making our choices, there will inevitably be trade offs. An essentialist asks him or herself “which problem do I want?” rather than asking “how can I do both?”. Choices and trade offs are part of life; they’re not always easy to make, but if we make them strategically, we can make the most of it.

Takeaway – don’t feel like you have to say yes to everything in your business. You don’t have to accept every project or client. You don’t have to master every skill and take on every role. Figure out what is essential for you to provide the most value and be the most effective, and do that. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s better to do an amazing job at one thing, than a mediocre job at multiple things.

 

Explore.

How can we figure out what is essential in our lives? We need time to explore. An Essentialist takes time to escape – to get rid of all distractions and just think and reflect on life. An Essentialist also knows how to really listen. There is so much noise in our lives, and it’s important to weave through it all and listen to what is really important. Read between the lines. 

In addition to taking time to think and reflect, essentialists make time for play. This keeps our creativity alive and helps with stress. Essentialists also make sleep a priority – sleep makes us more productive in the day.

Takeaway – Take care of yourself. You don’t have to be “on” all the time. Take some time to rest, think, read, journal, sleep and have fun. When we take care of ourselves, we’re more clear on what we want out of life and what is important.

 

Eliminate.

Once you take the time to explore what is essential, it’s time to eliminate the non essential. This is where you must determine what you’re going to say no to, and really discover your priorities. McKeown states that we should have an “essential intent” – a statement that is inspirational, meaningful, concrete and measurable. It is this essential intent that will guide you and provide clarity.

It’s hard to say no when we’re asked for something. Many of us have a fear of that awkward moment; we don’t want to disappoint people. Essentialists only say yes to things that really matter. They set limits and boundaries that eliminate the need to say no.

Essentialists also know when to uncommit – when to let go of something that just isn’t working and realize their mistakes. They also actively edit their lives by cutting out distractions and unnecessary details.

Takeaway – Take your time when creating your mission statement for your business and use it to guide your business when making decisions. Having a clear purpose and vision will make it easier for you to determine when to say no, and when to say yes.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to set limits and edit your business- it could be something simple like limiting the times that you check your email, or what times you schedule meetings. For example, maybe you need to refine your services or packages, or edit your workflow to make your process smoother for your team.

Eliminate the unessential. And focus on what’s important.

 

Execute.

This section of the book discusses how to execute the essential things in life as smoothly as possible. Essentialists do this by focusing on being present in the now. Figure what’s important in the moment and to focus on that. In addition to having focus, essentialists have routines, practice extreme preparation, add buffer time for unexpected events, remove obstacles (things that slow down progress), celebrate small wins, and reward progress.

Takeaway – Using these essentialist principles for execution will help you complete tasks more efficiently. Be extra prepared in your business and have contingency plans for emergencies. If you need one week to complete client work, tell them you need 10 days, or 2 weeks instead – giving you buffer time.

“Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter” Greg Mckeown

 

 

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25 Comments
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April 22, 2017
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April 22, 2017
  • Elena Zahir

    This really sounds like a great read and a good idea to incorporate. I’ll check this book out, thank you for sharing!
    Elena, http://www.elenazahir.com

  • As entrepreneurs, we say yes to too many things! One of my goals in 2017 was to say ‘no’ more, and it’s really helped me narrow down my focus. I really like all of these points and how you broke them down. I have never heard of this book but will add it to my list of business reads. Thank you 🙂

    • We do indeed say yes too often! I hope you enjoy the book when you get around to reading it – it is very insightful!

  • Kiki Roams

    I really like the “Essence” aspect. We say yes to too many things. Definitely applicable to business and in life in general.

  • I think with technology, the explore has possibly been then most forgotten. We don’t know how to disconnect, and our businesses now rely on that. What was once a kindness of free overtime has become a simple expectation from employers.

    • Yupp! Technology can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. But we have to realize that we have the power to choose how we spend our free time!

  • Shaunte

    Wow, I am going to have to get this book. At this point I think most of us can use these principles. With technology being the way it is now. I always feel the need to keep up, but eliminating the necessary and saying no would help a lot. Thanks for the book review I will be adding it to my list.

    • Technology can be so overwhelming – I find that it’s best to start off with simple things like leaving your phone at home sometimes or not leaving it next to your bedside. Enjoy the read!

  • I’m always looking out for a good book to read. This is definitely one I’m going to put on the list! The part that struck me the most was the explore piece. I need to remember that I don’t need to be “on” all the time. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • I N B O D E

    I have just started my venture and this seems to be a good insight! However, I feel execution is very important. A lot of us become dreamers!

  • Shilpa Bindlish

    Essentialism is a new word to me. But it appealed me too much. Rightly quoted. Thanks for info.

  • Jennifer Seislove

    I really enjoyed this post and was particularly grateful for the reminder to take care of myself. It is easy to get caught up and it is so important to step back, rest and have fun! Thanks for the read!

  • savingchamps

    Great book! Essentialism totally makes sense. We often feel overwhelmed and constantly being distracted by numerous things around us. It is time to focus on the essential things to simplify our life. A simple life is a happy life.

  • I’ve never heard of the book before but it’s definitely right up my alley. I need to get better about eliminating things in my business and personal life.

  • Shelby Stover

    Great post! I think so many people make the mistake of saying “yes” to everything when they start a business and all it ends up in is burnout. It’s okay to say no! Love it 🙂

  • Mia Lupo

    I love this! Everyone is applying minimalism or essentialism to every aspect of their lives, so why not make it work for your business? I will definitely share this and check out the book! Thank you!

  • Amanda

    I had never thought about essentialism before. Sounds like such a great read. I definitely need to learn how to not say yes to everything. Thanks for the great book recommendation

  • These are all great tips. I find the last two to be essential eliminate things the non essential and also execute your plans.

  • Natasha Smith

    Oh wow. I love this. Yes we do have the gift of choice. Love how this is applicable for use in a business.

  • Belema Ronabere

    Wow. I think you did the book justice even though I haven’t read it. I need to apply some of these to my life. Thank you

  • Mae Brian

    I love this post! The book sounds interesting and I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in the bookstore. Living by design—I love that!

    Mae | http://www.thegospelofbeauty.org

  • Karen Heavey

    I had never hear of the phrase ‘Essentialism’ its sounds like an interesting theory and one I would like to explore more. I do love how you have applied this to a business as well as personal life.

  • The book sounds interesting and something I’d love to read. I loved the way you’ve explained the whole concept of Essentialism and reading your post I realize how important it is to actually implement this concept into our business/blog to get the maximum out of it!

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