Episode #4: Notes on Essentialism


You can also listen to this episode on:


Happy First Day of Spring and Happy Full Moon. The beginning of Spring and the full moon signifies a time for changes, a restart, a realignment, a time to shed old skin, a time to plant new seeds.

With that said, I wanted to share some notes on Essentialism that are relevant to this topic of getting clear about your purpose and conserving your energy for what’s most essential to you.

These notes come from a book I read called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Essentialism is defined as “making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

This comes down to honoring your truth and being clear about your intentions, setting boundaries and being aware of your deal breakers to ensure you’re aligned with your purpose.

I talk about these things and my top takeaways from reading the book. I hope they’re helpful for you as you make room for new changes and blessings with the start of a new season. Learn more at progression.fm/episodes


More notes, originally shared on janeshin.co/blog

Essentialism is about "making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential."

In other words, it’s not about how to get more things done or doing less for the sake of doing less. It’s about meeting your highest level of contribution, aka the right thing the right way at the right time.

Since reading the book, I’ve tried to make greater efforts to honor my true feelings and decisions, to be more comfortable with starting small, to celebrate progression, to learn about my deal breakers and set boundaries. That’s what I often struggle with–I pride myself on being a resourceful, helpful person, but sometimes I stretch myself too thin that leaves me feeling like my own time has been snatched from me.

We each have a set amount of energy and time to dedicate towards making the highest level of contribution to our work and craft, whatever that is for you. 

It might be helpful to ask yourself:

  • What do I feel deeply inspired by?

  • What am I particularly talented at?

  • If I could be truly excellent at one thing, what would it be?

Once you’ve defined what it is, you can’t compromise on your ability to make it happen for yourself. That means making tradeoffs and saying no more often than not to increase the chances of achieving the outcome you want. 

I thought it would be helpful to share some key notes because I’ve been having conversations with old and new friends that fall on some of the concepts presented in Essentialism.

  • We have the right to choose. If we forfeit that right, someone else will choose for us. Don’t let go of your ability to choose for yourself. “I choose to…, not I have to…”

  • If it’s not a clear yes, it’s a clear no.

  • If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.

  • Many problems and challenges will accumulate when you try to take on every task, request and opportunity that comes your way. Ask yourself, "Which problem do I want? What do I want to go big on?"

  • Don’t fall for the status quo bias which is the tendency to continue doing something simply because it’s always been done.

  • Space and creating space for yourself is important to figuring out what really matters to you. 

  • Stop making casual commitments. Pause for five seconds before you agree to something. Remind yourself that the more you think about what you’re giving up when you say yes to someone, the easier it is to say no.

  • Have a clear understanding of what you give up when you say yes to things that may or may not ultimately matter to you.

  • Boundaries are empowering. They protect your time and energy to avoid letting other demands or distractions get in the way of your needs and priorities.

  • Make a list of your deal breakers–types of requests and activities you refuse to say yes to unless they align with your priorities.

  • Every use of your time, energy or resources has to justify itself anew. If something no longer fits with your current agenda, get rid of it.

  • Create your own clear overarching intent that enables you to always be in tune with yourself. Regularly compare activities or behaviors to your personal intent, and if they don’t match or are incorrect, edit them or let them go.