Is it essential? This simple question is something we must ask ourselves. We must remind ourselves to stop trying to do everything and to focus on one thing.
I am sure you are familiar with this idea of narrowing your attention to what matters. In the Bible, several scriptures speak to the importance of living a focused life. You can also find similar passages in the Torah and Quran that emphasize single-mindedness. Buddhists highlight the imperative practice of mindfulness. In ancient spiritual texts and other resources, doing less to gain more in life is valued.
Last week I finished Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. This book is a game-changer. It made me rethink many of my work, personal, and entrepreneurial priorities.
The book begs you to answer the first question of this blog post. Asking ourselves is it essential, can empower you and me to live a more productive life. It takes self-discipline to identify a priority and to disregard everything else.
Sundays were for church and family dinners in my childhood home. Without fail, every Sunday morning, my parents took my five sisters and me to the church, my father pastored in Chicago's Roseland community. In my father’s sermons and at home, it became the rule that on Sundays, we dedicate ourselves to spiritual growth.
Today, my Sundays look quite different from my upbringing. My mornings include time for prayer, yoga, journaling, and revisiting my goals. Instead of rushing out of the house to hear my father’s sermons, I often watch the services of Trinity UCC Chicago online. Throughout the day, I limit my use of technology and attempt to be as present as possible at home with my family.
While I don’t limit practices that strengthen my spirit to Sunday, I continue to honor this day with an intentional awareness of how I spend my time.
You should have at least one day dedicated to the essential tasks of your life. It doesn't have to be a Sunday. Any day is suitable for you to focus on making progress in one area of your life.
After reading McKeown’s book and incorporating reflections from my childhood, I have decided to make some additional lifestyle changes. On Sundays, I will continue my spiritual practices and also commit to not drinking caffeine, checking my email, or logging-in to social media. Throughout the week, I will make time to sit, think, and assess my priorities. Before I make any decision I will ask myself, is it essential and if the answer is not a resounding yes, I will say no.
What will you do to increase the quality of your contributions at home, on the job, in your business, or as a member of your community? It is impossible to give each of these areas 100% of your attention and efforts.
You must choose a priority and focus your unique talents, skills, gifts, and abilities on a task with the highest return.
Doing what I have suggested in this post is not easy. Discovering ways to simplify your life is where my professional coaching services can help you. I can guide you in the process of determining your essentials to move your life forward. To learn more about my coaching services, visit this link.