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The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life Paperback – 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
According to Babauta (Zen to Done), employing the power of less will propel readers from chaos to blissful and productive minimalism. Learning to set limitations, such as penning a three-item Most Important Task list every day and restricting e-mails to five lines, is a cornerstone for the authors plan for increased simplicity and satisfaction. With new boundaries in place, readers can discover flow, become wholly absorbed in tasks and live the paradox of doing less and achieving more. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Leo Babauta has been a reporter, editor, speechwriter, and freelance writer for the last 17 years. Babauta lives in Guam with his wife and five children, where he posts regularly on ZenHabits.net. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I never thought of the simple, yet totally logical, idea of getting more done by pursuing less goals at once. I combined this system with David Allen's Getting Things Done and it's been a very thorough, sustainable method. I use Getting Things Done to put all my aims out of my head and onto paper, but use Power of Less to make sure I only chase no more than three goals at a time. Everything else I put on my Someday/Maybe list.
Many other books of this type encourage and attempt to teach skills for handling an ever-increasing set of goals, projects, and tasks. These systems are complex in design and often involve myriad lists and charts and numerous steps of analysis and planning. Some people may thrive in this environment and truly enjoy taking on more commitments but there is always a twin pair of risks. The first is that the next task we take on might be the one that breaks us down. Second, these complex planning systems can consume our attention and become the focus themselves.
Babauta suggests a different approach: shedding distractions, simplifying and narrowing your focus in order to improve your life and increase your performance. His system is built around the notion of limiting yourself to only the most important things and ruthlessly treating everything else as a distraction to be avoided. As you read, you begin to realize how many things that you now see as necessary (the little chime announcing each incoming email) are really distractions that are keeping you from accomplishing the things that you deem most important.
Consider your list of goals right now. You may have two or three or even more goals. If you're the type who sets goals for yourself then you probably also divide your attention amongst these goals as you work toward their accomplishment. Leo suggests a different approach. Select the most important goal and devote all of your attention to attaining it. Your attention will be more focused, your stress reduced (because you won't be trying to keep multiple plates spinning), and your motivation enhanced as you work toward the goal. When the first is finished - and only then - you start on the next. Simplifying in this fashion will not only improve your overall performance, you'll find yourself happier as you discover that those things you once thought were crucial were really just distracting you from reaching your most important objectives.
Leo offers this approach up for consideration in many personal and professional areas in Less. Filing, email, and the Internet all threaten to overwhelm us if we let them. What if you only checked you email twice a day? What is the worse thing that would happen? How about unplugging from the Internet? How many times have projects become sidetracked by a quick troll through your favorites bookmarks that turns into an hour or two? In so many areas, Leo points out how many times we have become dissatisfied with ourselves because we have allowed the multitude of things demanding our attention to distract us from what we want to accomplish. Removing clutter from our life, home, and work allows us to focus on what is truly important and to find greater personal joy and satisfaction.
The Power of Less is the exact opposite of The Seven Habits... though both seek the same end, greater personal performance and achievement. If you've spent hours developing your mission and moving big rocks around and still find yourself unsatisfied, give Babauta's ideas a try. Simplify, reduce, and de-clutter and you may just discover the one or two things that are most important to you buried beneath.
I have been working diligently on de cluttering my personal and business life. I have read so many simplifying and de-cluttering and efficiency books I almost have a clutter problem with all the books on the subject. (Cured that recently too with the Kindle 2.)
I run three business. One brick and morter and two online. I was getting over four hundred emails a day and was drowning in mail and spam. So I utilized ideas / suggestions from several sources to cure my problems. From the Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss we started using detailed faq's lists on our websites and an auto-responder that answered many questions so we would no longer have to reply to as many emails. For the ones we do answer the questions are predictable and we saved the answers as email drafts that way we just cut and paste and all done.
For the Spam we ran our eight email accounts into one google mail as they have the best spam filters and you can reply from the email address to which the mail was sent so they dont know that anything is happening. And suggestions from the life hacker Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better by Gina Tripani has some interesting ideas for sure.
Keeping your inbox empty we use suggestions from Stress Less and Zen to Done by Leo Babauta and you would not believe how much better you feel when things are under control. But it is you who must Work the system or you will be overwhelmed again.
A much more detailed program is used in Getting Things Done David Allen book, but the above is kind of the simplified version that I currently prefer.
And for just getting rid of all the clutter in your life any of the books from Peter Walsh, How to Organize (Just About) Everything, and Enough Already, are great even though they tend to recover some of the material from his other books somewhat but thats not a big deal since the info is worth repeating. Another good author but she covers pretty much the same thing is Julie Morgenstern.
The books by Koch on the 80/20 principle are also worth looking into. For the paper clutter in my life I have a digital sender scanner and have scanned over four full file cabinets into Adobe PDF computer files. I have done this with pictures too as you can also save them info Jpeg and Jiff files. While there are tons more books out there and I seem to have most of them, these are the best to get things under control and to get you the time to do the things that matter to you.
All in all a good book to put us on the road to less.
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