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Book Review: The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

Rationale for reading: I try to make people do too many things when coaching. Recommendation from Zach Moore.

Book summary: Do less. Decide what is truly important and focus on that.

Review summary: I think the cover is kind of dumb (less, I get it, but come on), but the contents are good. Reads quickly, kind of like a blog post.

Suggested audience: Good if you feel constantly overwhelmed. Really helps cut out the unessential parts of your life. Also useful if you need to understand human behavior.

 

Less

Last summer I decided I wanted to write more effectively. One thing that I read has really resonated with me since then is that editing is what represents writing. Getting the initial story down is easy. What is harder is cutting your 4000 words down to 2000.

And then what’s really hard is cutting those 2000 down to 1000. More often than not, that’s all you need to convey your message.

I was reminded of this as I read The Power of Less by Leo Babauta. Consider a haiku: seventeen syllables. That’s it. Imagine how intimidating that is if you have something important to say.

The lesson of the book, however, is that you can do a lot with a little. In fact, you can do more than usual.

 

The Power of It

Setting limitations allows you to focus on your most important tasks.

What do you have to do this month? Think about it for a second.

  • Drop my classes.
  • Set up an eye appointment.
  • Set up a dentist appointment.
  • Cover shifts at work for Jae.
  • Read six books on psychology.
  • Listen to two other books on psychology.
  • Remember everything I read.
  • Get into a new exercise routine.
  • Bring the new interns up to speed on IFAST methodology.
  • Return movies to the library.
  • Find a part-time job.
  • Write three blog posts this week.
  • Clean my coffee cup.
  • Make eggs.
  • Keep girlfriend from killing me.
  • BLAH BLAH BLAH

If you look at everything you have to do simultaneously, what happens? You become paralyzed and nothing gets done.

Instead, break it down. What are my three most important tasks? These are my big projects. Which one will I work on today? What am I going to do today to work towards finishing it?

So now even if I only get a small piece done, I’ve made progress. And small progressions accumulate over time to form large progress. Plus I have goals that will get me somewhere and I stop wasting my time on busywork.

 

Examples in Fitness

Think about it in terms of your diet. How many people do you see with New Year’s weight loss resolutions who don’t even drive to the gym once during the month of February? All they can see is this distant, grand goal. Then they hit play on their internal script:

“Oh, that will never be me.”

Then, instantaneously, it’s over.

When instead they could set the goal of making it into the gym once in the first week. Twice in the second week. Then cook once in the third week. Twice in the fourth week…

There are a lot of weeks in a year.

This is hard, though. It’s hard to know what goals to set when there’s misinformation everywhere. That’s why I recommend getting a trainer, preferably one who considers your uniqueness. If you skip a workout, you not only let yourself down, but you’re letting down someone else as well. This type of accountability is worth its weight in gold.

If you find yourself feeling constantly overwhelmed, pick up this book. It’s a quick read, I went through it in an hour or two on Sunday because I was already familiar with the topic.

© 2020 LanceGoyke.com

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