Essentialism: how paring down ups your productivityMunira Rangwala
In today's digital age, it is easy to lose track of your thought process while working. In addition to the constant in-flow of messages and notifications bombarding your phone, employees in any given organisation have to complete a variety of tasks on any given day. This is where the guiding philosophy of essentialism comes into the picture. For the uninitiated, essentialism is the embodiment of ‘less is more’. For example, if you were appointed as Chief of Staff in a company, you would have to start with gauging the full scope of different projects and from there you'd have to classify and simplify the scope to main focal points with the aim to improve productivity. More than a task management tool, an essentialist mind set can help you concentrate on the most significant things in your work as well as your life.
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If you're assigned far more tasks than you can complete, the only way to diplomatically navigate the expectations of your superiors is by practising essentialism to prioritise your work and personal life. Essentialism helps reduce the flurry of meeting requests and incoming messages to only those that will have a significant impact on the company. This inevitably translates to the fact that not everything on your to-do list will be completed. This realisation helps you accept that it is alright to say no to some things. After a period you will recognise that the things you didn't attend to either got resolved on their own or stayed unresolved and led to little ramifications.
Essentialism can have a great impact on your personal life as well if you give it a chance. Start by assessing whether the things you're spending time on are aligned with your goals and priorities. When you focus on things that are important to you, you'll make it a point to incorporate those things in your day-to-day routine.
Making lists is a great way to collect your thoughts about all things important. Try to reach your office a little before everyone else and make a list of the things you need to accomplish throughout the day as well as in the coming week. Lists not only help you stay on the right track, but they also help you evaluate the progress you make. The trick to making the most of your lists is to keep going back to them to make timely edits and to align them in a manner that will help you tackle the most important items first. Another way to optimise your list is to pay close attention to the tasks that never seem to come off of it. Once you manage to identify the roadblock that's keeping you from achieving your tasks, you'll be able to uncover the reason behind the delay and you'll learn how to overcome the problem.
Once you have a good handle on your own priorities, start by understanding the mind set of your team members as well as the management of your organisation. Doing this will help you rank the priorities of the entire ecosystem which will make your task of essentialism a whole lot easier.