#TuesdayThinks: Multi-tasking is dead. Long live essentialism.

17 Nov 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: Multi-tasking is dead. Long live essentialism.

By Laura Giffard

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

Those of you who know me, will know how much I despise people who purport to be able to do it all: working 18 hour days, while maintaining a perfect social life, working out daily and sipping on asparagus water because ya’know, the body is a temple.

To me, this idolisation of the perfect routine promotes burnout culture and a makes for many unhappy people. I’ve long been a fan of Laura Vandekram’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think because it first made me realise that time is a choice. We all have the same amount available and how we spend it is up to us.

Truth is, as much as I try to juggle sleep, exercise, nurturing my growing business and dedicating time to family and friends, there have been many weeks where I’ve found myself completely frazzled, holding on for dear life. Ultimately, I think this comes down to my penchant for multitasking.

Multi-tasking has been celebrated by those around me for as long as I can remember – all the best humans can supposedly do it. But I’ve come to realise that when I’m treating everything as a priority, I’m falling deep down the rabbit hole to burnout where I never feel I have time to take stock.

Thankfully my good friend and sales consultant Stephen has recommended the perfect antidote. A book focusing on ‘the disciplined pursuit of less’: Essentialism. This book has helped me realise that allocating time is not enough. I need to be focused. And I am already reaping the rewards in my life.

So, how can you get some essentialism into your everyday?

1. Learn to truly prioritise – did you know the word ‘priority’ used to be singular? And so it remained for 500 years. Somehow, we then decided to have lots of ‘first’ things to deal with. No wonder I often struggle to see the wood for the trees. Now, I look at my tasks and evaluate what is essential. I ask myself, “if I only get one thing done today, what will it be?” Anything else then gets delegated or moved to the next day.

2. Learn to say no – I’m an eternal people-pleaser. I always want to help. But I often end up overstretched and not giving my best. So, I’ve learned to say no (or: not now.) This simple act helps me keep on top of my priority, while still helping others achieve theirs in a time slot where they get 100% of my focus.

3. Make time to think – I used to be a slave to my diary, giving everyone free rein to book time in with me. Now, I make sure I take 1 hour for lunch and I go for a long walk. I either leave my phone behind for complete silence, or use the time to get into an audio book (having turned off all notifications!) It’s incredible how many challenges get processed and how many solutions appear simply through letting my mind wander, rather than being constantly distracted by screens.

I’m only at the beginning of this practice, but I’m feeling the joy already. Are you already practicing essentialism in your life? I’d love to hear all your tips & tricks so get in touch!