I started re-reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown on Wednesday morning and finished it today. I did a quick search of my blog and found that I first posted about it back in March of 2019. It wasn’t as long ago as I had first thought. Odd because I didn’t write the date that I finished it inside the cover and I thought I started doing that routinely more than three years ago.

These are the little things that get under my skin. I believe that I am habitual, that I’ve created systems and rituals that I never fail at, but then I find things missing, like this date or not finding a receipt in the file it should be in. It feels like catching a glitch in the matrix. Unsettling.

Anyway…letting it go.

My search also found that I mentioned adding the book to my 2020 TBR pile back in January of 2020. And here I am…just now getting to it. Time flies faster and faster. I’m starting to stress out again.

Breathe.

I chose this as my final book of the year for two reasons. The first is that I’d like the reminder to keep things simple. Now that I’m on my own most of the time (the kids are officially out on their own), I need to rethink and refocus, again. The second reason is, admittedly, it’s a short and light read that I knew I would finish before the end of the year. This way I can start a new book on New Year’s Day. Perfection! Yeah, I’m like that.

Because I like to post about what I’m reading “in real time,” I’ll play a bit of catch up today so that I can get to the fun 2021 Reading Review that I plan on posting ASAP! This will be a “new read” post and it will include two quotes. Three posts in one!

This book was originally written for professionals, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, etc. I am not one of those people. I’m a housewife, but I think the principles apply to anyone. I’ll apply these ideas to the things that I do when I’m writing these posts: books, housework, family and friends, and craft projects.

“There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in.” From Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Essentialism quote

I think we all know this instinctually but our response to it is less than ideal. What we usually do is notice it and then spend the rest of our lives scrambling to get as much in as possible. And then, like dragging everyone through Disneyland by their ears to get the biggest bang for your buck, we destroy ourselves, our peace, and our family’s happiness.

This book advises a different tactic, one that I adopted the day that I realized that I can’t read ALL the books that exist. I also can’t support every relationship in the world, eat all the food, make all the projects, or do all the upgrades and remodels that are possible for my house.

Instead, we can find a way to whittle it down to the essentials, do those first and do them well, and forget the rest. Otherwise, we’ll kill ourselves chasing in every direction and never get anywhere.

“No matter how busy you think you are, you can carve time and space to think of your workday.” From Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Essentialism quote

Now, I don’t work outside my home, but I do have responsibilities and there are things that I want to do, so one day I sat down and wrote out all the things I would want to do daily, weekly, and monthly, along with the time I believed it would take to do each. I also have a running list of long-term projects. Then I calculated how much time was in a day after sleep.

Guess what? It’s not a cliché. There really aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, or weeks in the year, to do all those things. I had some work to do to pare that down into a reasonable amount of stuff. Greg McKeown relates it to organizing your clothes closet and he’s spot on.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I typically get a little reflective around this day, don’t you? So here I am thinking, looking back on my journal (thinking I should do like I said I would and make dates with myself to reflect and refocus more often) and wondering. What did I accomplish this year? I have lots of things that happened, but only a few things that I personally accomplished thru my own actions. That needs to change. Or does it? I’m not sure yet.

Like the author says, I need to clean out my closet and rethink the purpose of my wardrobe. Today it begins. I’ll get the housework done, pick up my mail, and then sit down with my journals, my calendar, and my reading log to see where I’ve been, and then plan out where to go next. Life is moving way too fast to just sit here being sad that I can’t do it all and finding myself doing nothing.

Want to read more? Hop over to “Mistakes and Buffer Zones” for a New Year’s message and more quotes. And to “Routines and Habits” for my final thoughts on this great book.