Essentialism and creativity

I haven’t been reading as much lately as I used to. I do listen to books on tape and podcasts on my way to work and home, but overall, I just haven’t been doing as much lately.

But I just found this book that is going to be amazing.

How can I tell?

Well, I am not even through the first part of it and I am already using bits and pieces of what I have learned from it in my life.

The book is called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Have you read The art of tidying by Marie Kondo?

Essentialism is like The art of tidying except for your life.

The basic idea of this book is that you can’t do everything. As much as we all want to be able to fit everything in to our lives, we can’t. Simple fact. The more you get good at saying no to things that are not essential to your life, the more time you will have for the things that matter.

Let’s look at how this affects creativity.

If you don’t make your living as  a creative, chances are you spend at least 40 hours a week on something other than your creative pursuits. While you may enjoy your work, it simply cuts down on the amount of available time that you have to your creative work. Factor in all of the other things that are essential to life running smoothly like sleeping, eating, showering, etc.

Then let’s factor in all of the things that are not actually essential but we feel we should do, like helping someone with a project, volunteering in your kid’s classroom, etc. I am not diminishing the value of these activities, but they will ultimately cut in to your creative time. There are only so many hours in the day, and if you don’t prioritize activities in your life, then they will be prioritized by default.

If you only remember three words from this post, remember these:


I invite you to pause for a second and close your eyes. Less but better. How does that phrase affect you? How does it make you feel? What do you think of when you ponder that idea?

As a person who prides herself on fitting many things into her life, this idea has a very calming affect on me. Sometimes I think that the quality of my days is measured by how many things I can do, what I can accomplish, and how many things I checked off my to-do list.

The ‘less but better’ idea for me is so nice. It allows me to think more long term, shoot for bigger goals, and relax more.

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