a woman working on her laptop

If you don’t prioritize your life someone else will

Greg mckeown

Essentialism is the new approach to productivity but how to be an essentialist? This struck me like a lightning bolt. It was a lazy day for me because it was rainy all day. The weather affects my mood so much that I tend to just sit and browse my computer all day. I came across Skillshare and the first video that I saw was a productivity class from Greg McKeown. It was an eye-opener and a shift of mindset for me about productivity.

I realized that I am a slave of moments of distraction, you get a text from someone, you watch TikTok videos, and watch series on Netflix before you realize it your time is already eaten up by meaningless things. 

Another situation is that you are overwhelmed with things you want to do and you don’t know which one to do first. You feel very busy but not productive. You work hard and long hours but not seeing any results back. Does this sound familiar to you? You might be wondering what’s lacking? What am I doing wrong?. Today I want to share a different approach to productivity. It is Accomplishing more with less. You can do fewer things done better.

What is essentialism?

It is focusing on the things that really matter. It is doing the right things, doing the essential things, and accomplishing better results with less. 

Let’s understand better with a question. Ask yourself What is essential? What matters to you? What are your priorities in life? 

Decide what matters to you. Make a list of the absolutely important things. And don’t get into the trap of a common mindset where everything is equally important. Essentialism is not doing it all. It’s getting the right things done.

What does it mean to be an essentialist?

It is taking control of your life from other people and stop saying yes to everyone. You can make the highest contribution to things that are really important.  A common mindset would be: everything is equally important but an essentialist would think a few things are exponentially important. An essentialist knows how to distinguish the vital few and eliminate the non-essentials. 

An essentialist knows how to say no. He knows to eliminate distractions, less important things, and anything that are not aligned with his priorities.

The power of essentialism

essentialism book

When you prioritize something, you make time and create space for it. You focus your energy on it. When you focus on something, it grows. So make a list of the absolute things that matter to you and prioritize.  You take control of your life, it helps you determine where your highest point of contribution lies.

Again, it is worth repeating, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else’s will”. People would rob your precious time and energy. They take experiences that would have been great contributions to your improvement.

Also read

12-time management tips to stay productive

How to be an essentialist?

01. Start with these questions

  • What matters to you? Make a list and choose your Top three.
  • What changes would you need to make? 
  • How much time will u need and if you spend a specific amount of time, would you feel that you are investing appropriately?
  • What is your end- result? How will you know when you are done?

02. Eliminate non-essentials

All things that are not in alignment with your priorities are candidates for elimination. Review your journal, review your week. what activities made you happy, what activities made you feel bad? What activities would you do again? 

03. Learn how to say no

You can’t say yes to everyone and everything. Otherwise, you will feel burn-out and it will leave you exhausted. CHOOSE. You have the power to choose how to spend your energy and time. When you forget your ability to choose, you allow your power to be taken away until you end up becoming a function of other people’s choices. Choose the right people, choose the right parties or events, choose the right invitations, choose the right job opportunities, choose the right videos and movies.

04. Learn to uncommit

If you already have said yes, then you realize that you don’t have the resources to complete, either you have no budget or it’s eating your time, it causes you stress. You realized it’s not your priority. What would you do? Uncommit from it. Just because you started something, doesn’t mean you have to finish it. 

Execute essentialism into your life

Identifying your priorities is not enough. You have to put it in action and make it happen by creating routines, habits and systems. Build triggers to your habits to make the execution easier. Start small. Do little things every day. Consistency is the key. Build accountability if you have to. Ask someone you trust to hold you accountable in your tasks.  

Are you investing in the right activities? I hope this resonates with you and start your journey to essentialism.

If you love to know more about essentialism, buy the book here.

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Now, are you ready to be an essentialist? Take action because knowledge isn’t power, Action is. Take advantage of this knowledge you’ve earned and make the best out of it. Action is the ultimate catalyst for results. To get where you are, you got to take action. This is a valuable piece of information but if you don’t take action, you won’t make the best out of it.

How can you eliminate non-essentials in your life? How can you prioritize yourself more? What are your priorities in life?



  1. Rowena Callo Villareno

    February 12, 2021 at 6:47 AM

    Great blog about essentialism.May bago na naman ako knowledge thank you po for sharing.Dapat talaga matuto tayo tumanggi lalo na pag hindi naman na talaga natin kaya pero dapat in a right way pa din.

  2. Joanna

    November 5, 2020 at 3:07 AM

    This is really thought-provoking. I think my biggest problem in finding myself overwhelmed at times is the reluctance to say no. I know how to choose but I always feel like I am hurting someone else feelings or making them think like I don’t care. I definitely should work on it.

    1. Ali

      November 5, 2020 at 9:26 AM

      Thanks Joana. I hope you’ll find your way and master how to say no and eliminate your non-essentials

  3. Sarah

    November 5, 2020 at 1:36 AM

    This is, to my knowledge, the first time I have heard of essentialism. It sounds like something that could be really beneficial in my life as I am always looking for ways to boost my productivity.

    1. Ali

      November 5, 2020 at 9:26 AM

      Thank you Sarah. I am glad you learned something new today

  4. Amanda Bradley

    November 5, 2020 at 1:28 AM

    I love the idea of essentialism! It’s incredibly easy to say “yes” to things but when it starts impacting your inner peace and overall wellbeing, something has to change. I think it’s so important to re-evaluate your life and goals periodically to make sure that your actions align with the direction you want to go. Thanks so much for this great reminder!

    1. Ali

      November 5, 2020 at 9:23 AM

      Thanks, Amanda for reading. It’s easy nowadays to say yes to almost everything but it’s time to address this with essentialism. I hope you learned something from the post.

  5. Tiphany

    November 4, 2020 at 8:45 PM

    Great post! Essentialism reminds me of the audiobook I am listening to currently: The One Thing.

    1. Ali

      November 5, 2020 at 9:20 AM

      I also read the one thing. It is such a valuable book. I love it

  6. Hadassah

    November 4, 2020 at 1:36 PM

    I love this essentialism approach! Actually it reflects to great extent how I am living. Learning to say no, and staying focused and determined about my priorities has helped me a lot. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Ali

      November 5, 2020 at 9:08 AM

      Thanks for reading Hadassah. I’m glad you took the approach to essentialism. Learning how to say no can be difficult but once we learned how to do it. We can prioritize our tasks and ourselves

  7. Sarah S

    November 4, 2020 at 1:24 PM

    Love this post!
    It’s so true that things will take up our time and attention if we are not intentional about it!
    It’s scary how much time we just spend scrolling social media a day. And for me learning how to say no and setting up work boundaries is super hard. Love the idea of prioritizing the top 3 things.

    1. Ali

      November 5, 2020 at 9:04 AM

      Thank you Sarah for reading 🙂 Its true, setting your essentials and prioritizing top 3 had a massive impact in my life and boosted my productivity.

  8. Daphne

    November 4, 2020 at 1:05 PM

    Isn’t is amazing how you can boot up your computer and see an opportunity you NEED right at that moment! Agree on weather affecting mood. Thank you!

    1. Ali

      November 5, 2020 at 9:31 AM

      Thank you daphne. Im glad this was timely to you

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