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Say Yes To Less

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What's Your -Ism?

The start of the new year always seems to bring an influx of -isms (apriorism, collectivism, eudaimonism, etc..). The fresh start when the calendar flips inspires most that THIS will be the year we become the best version of ourself. One constant for many is better time management, so let’s talk about doing more by saying yes to less.

I try to be realistic about what a new year means for personal growth and rarely focus on any one philosophy as the key to unlocking my best self. However, this first week of 2022 has me focused on one particular -ism: Essentialism. Coined by author Greg McKeown, Essentialism focuses on making the smartest possible investment of your time and energy to work at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.

Less is Best

From state directors and CEOs to service coordinators and DSPs, the I/DD world is constantly asking more of us. In my role, I get to speak with individuals within these groups weekly and have yet to meet one person who says they have extra time to take on more work…we are all spread thin.

But does saying yes to every request really help? According to McKeown, “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done.”  As someone who doesn’t like to say no, this is a hard pill to swallow. My default thinking is if I don’t do it than who will? But there will always come a point when trying to accomplish too many things at once means every project and to-do will suffer.

Are You Taking On Too Much?

I challenge you to write down every project, task, or assignment you’ve already committed to in the first week of this new year and apply these three steps:

  1. Explore and evaluate by asking yourself, will this activity make the highest possible contribution towards my/our mission and goals?
  2. Eliminate all the tasks that fall within the gray area between highest possible contribution towards goals and to-dos that don’t make the highest possible contribution towards goals. You can come back to these once you’ve checked the top tier contributions off your list.
  3. Execute on these top priorities in a timelier manner which will ultimately allow you to get more done.

When I combine what I’m learning about Essentialism with what John Dickerson covered in his last post about One Big Idea, I see my gameplan for better time management coming into focus. By taking the time to Explore and Evaluate, Eliminate, and Execute on one Big Idea at a time I know this will be my most product year to date.

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