Have you ever found yourself feeling incredibly busy, but – in the most frustrating of paradoxes – not even remotely productive? For most of us, the answer is a resounding ‘YES!’. Anyone who lives in modern times knows what it’s like to be pulled in countless different directions – whether it’s a demanding job, a hectic home life or your social indoor netball team. As a result, we’re often left stressed, grumpy and unable to get anything much done.

Conventional wisdom says that to be more successful, you need to do more. Essentialism disagrees.


Discover what this essentialism thing is all about.

Popularised by Greg McKeown in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, essentialism says that we should work on less to avoid being stretched too thin. Sounds too good to be true? What it all comes down to is working smarter. Instead of attempting to do absolutely everything at once, try concentrating on one thing at a time with laser like focus. That means that if you’re working on an important presentation to a potential client, helping your friend move apartments can probably wait. Whatever the task at hand is, take the steps you need to minimise all possible distractions. Then – it’s time to get in zone. 


Don’t be afraid to say yes to less

In everyday life, there’s a lot of pressure to say ‘yes’. Learn the art of saying ‘no’ to unimportant meetings or extra-extra-curricular activities. Essentialism stresses that, sometimes, it’s important to say ‘no’ to things. Even if you’re saying no to yourself. By setting boundaries, you can focus all of your energy on the challenges you do take on.


While you’re at it, say goodbye to multitasking (trust us) 

Our phones are forever beeping at us and our Facebook newsfeeds are only a click away. These all too common interruptions make it hard to work deeply on one thing at any given time. So, stop dividing your attention. Give yourself the space to concentrate on your work – turn off the phone or try the great Screen Time app, it’ll help you identify how your time is disappearing and how often you’re being distracted.

Once you start doing less, you’ll soon discover that you’re capable of doing it a whole lot better. 


Intrigued? Find out more:

Here are a few of our favourite books, podcasts and articles on essentialism.



- Mobile phone notifications should be renamed ‘distractions’, turn them off where you can and try only checking your emails a couple of times a day.

- Find ways to spend fewer minutes on your mobile. If you have an iPhone, the Screen Time app will tell you exactly how much time you waste every day scrolling through Instagram or roaming the Twitterverse – and how much time you could save if you cut back.

- Turn off the Wi-Fi. Whether you’re writing a novel or working on a presentation, momentarily cutting yourself off from the latest articles (or memes) is always a good idea.