I’m only 6 pages into this book and I know I have to buy it (and return this one to the library so someone else can read it).
Page 6 has the best diagram ever! A diagram that should be painted on my wall so I can see it all the time.
The diagram shows all the effort we expend working on things.
On the left, it shows us working on multiple things, and not getting very far on any of them. As quoted in the book: “a millimeter of progress in a million directions.”
However, on the right the diagram shows if we focus the same amount of energy to less things we can make real progress on them.
What if those few things we give our energy to can leap us ahead at our job, or are things we really love doing. Things that matter.
Think about how effective and happy we would be.
The book, btw, is:
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
by Greg McKeown
I needed to see this diagram today and thought you might too.
It’s timely for me because yesterday I was feeling super anxious. All of the projects, emails and things I “needed” to do were swirling in a storm above my head, all vying for my time. I’d grab onto one, and another would try and push its way in.
The left diagram perfectly illustrates how I was feeling. Doing too many things and not getting anywhere.
Currently, when I start to feel like I’m doing too much, I find it helpful to make a giant list of all the “to dos” swirling in my brain.
This helps right away because things aren’t buzzing in my head anymore, they’re stuck on paper. Kind of like flies on flypaper. (Gross)
Then I take that list and try to isolate the things the REALLY matter.
I work on only those things and let the rest slide.
Like maybe I should call that store that wanted to sell Penguin & Fish products instead of making a fun Facebook graphic.
Or maybe I should finish designing my current fabric collection instead of cleaning up my email inbox.
Or even, maybe I should take that long walk on this beautiful afternoon instead of vacuuming the kitchen.
Working on what matters calms me down and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I know I’m getting farther on the right things.
When I finished my list yesterday, I could see right away a few things that stood out as most important. I worked on those items and I’m happy to report that yesterday was the most productive day I’ve had in weeks. I even got in that long walk.
I need to isolate the things that matter more often!
I look forward to reading the rest of the Essentialism (like I said, I’m only on page 6) and see what new directives I can apply to get me to the right side of the diagram.
As I’m writing this, in my office that’s filled with craft supplies and projects, I’m realizing the diagram also applies to my unfinished craft projects. Or UFOs (UnFinished Objects) as the crafty blogs say.
Just in my direct line of sight I can see 8 UFOs. Oof, counting them even triggered my anxiety a bit.
None of them are getting very far because I don’t know which one to focus on. Actually, not knowing which one to work on is keeping me from working on any of them. That’s a big 0% progress.
I wonder what would happen if I categorized my UFOs by how much they matter to me. And then work on those ones.
I think I would be much happier in craft land. Not only would I be working and finishing projects that I love, I’d be working on them period.
I’m going to give it a try.
I’ll be sure to report back on my UFO progress, and also relay the juicy tips I learn (and apply) from Essentialism.
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What do you think?
Would prioritizing your unfinished craft projects by which ones matter most help you finish them? Does the diagram from Essentialism ring true to you like it did for me? What tricks do you currently use to get things done?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Comment below, or feel free to contact me (Alyssa) at emails [at] penguinandfish [dot] com (type out using the “@” and “.” symbols with no spaces).
All links in this post are Amazon.com affiliate links. That means if you click on the link and purchase the book, Amazon will send me a couple of cents for referring you. Or you could go to your local library and check it out like I did. I’m on my way to actually purchase the book right now. This one needs to be in my “at home” library.
On a side note. Essentialism is beautifully
designed. Check out the Contents page below. My “Typography 1” professor
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