The Power Of Less by Leo Babauta


I wish life was simpler.

This is something I’ve said to myself many times before and I’m sure you have too. Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and unmotivated is often a product of our own doing. We try to do too much, too fast, and too soon.

Short Answer is Simplify. For detailed answer please read the book The Power Of Less by Leo Babaua.

“Simplifying isn’t meant to leave your life empty — it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do.”
– from The Power Of Less by Leo Babaua

True to its name, the Power of Less is short. 170 pages, this non-fiction work follows the traditional how-to book formula to employ numbered lists of steps.

The main principles he outlines are as follows:

  1. Set limitations. By setting limitations, we must chose the essential. So in everything you do, learn to set limitations.
  2. Choose the essential. By choosing the essential, we create great impact with minimal resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy.
  3. Simplify. Eliminate the nonessential.
  4. Focus is your most important tool in becoming more effective.
  5. Create new habits to make long-lasting improvements.
  6. Start small. Start new habits in small increments to ensure success.

My favorite line in the whole book is “Simplify. Eliminate the non-essential.” I think if that is all you get out of the whole book it will have been worthwhile.

Still go ahead buy the book and read it fully, it’s full of ideas. The best parts were when the author wrote of his own personal experience and used specific details of life changes he made and how he went about that.

Simplicity boils down to two (very simple) steps:
1. Identify the Essential
2. Eliminate the rest

All in all, this is a good little book with some great logic in it, as well as links and suggestions on how to use today’s tools to make your life better. A short book that combines technology advancements with wisdom of the ages is just the kind of focus that we multi-taskers need to help us calm the chaos that surrounds us online and off.

Learn to move at a slower pace and you will be happier, and just as importantly, you will become more effective and productive.

Bonus: You can visit the this link to read the 10 big ideas from this book.


A checklist for every day

One ought, every day at least,
to hear a little song,
read a good poem,
see a fine picture,
and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship

I like this advice because it is about appreciating, not creating. And the good thing is it can be used as a Checklist for Everyday.

In the professional world, checklists are a huge component to the daily work of pilots and surgeons. Detailed step-by-step checklists help fight complacency in the cockpit, and maintain safe operation of the aircraft during all phases of flight, from gate to gate. In hospitals, medical teams use checklists to ensure surgical procedures go smoothly.

The Art of Manliness provides a historical look at checklists, along with a detailed primer in deciding which lists will work for you, sourced from the excellent book The Checklist Manifesto. You can implement the similar checklist(routine) in your daily life to help give you a greater shot at success.

Here’s a problem worth solving:
Am I doing the thing I am most needed to be doing right now?

Here is an example of my daily checklist:

  • Start your day with a prayer.
  • Think of three things you’re grateful for. Be specific.
  • Never start your day with a newspaper or TV.
  • Workout or go for a walk – don’t sit all day!
  • Think of one thing you learned today. Journalize it, why not!
  • One day a week, ignore this list entirely.
  • Forgive yourself for your imperfection and remember that everyday is everyday. Tomorrow will soon be today. There’s more time.

Notice that social media, reading news, watching TV, checking email, browsing my favorite sites, sharing photos … none of these are on the list. If I’m doing one of these things and not one of my daily checklist items, I’m probably not doing the right thing.

Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What else would you add to the list?

The Law of Forced Efficiency

When you find yourself under pressure to get a job done by a particular deadline, you are forced to be vastly more efficient than you would ever be if you felt that you had ample time. This explains why so many people only get the job done when they are faced with stringent deadlines.

Parkinson’s Law says: “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.” If you have two hours of work to do and an entire day in which to do it, the work will tend to expand gradually and will take you all day long to complete the two hours of work.

However, the reverse is also true. It is: “Work contracts to fill the time allotted for it.” Use this law by setting deadlines for yourself that force you to complete the task well in advance.

The Law of Forced EfficiencyThe Law of Forced Efficiency states that there is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important things, if you are willing and able to stretch yourself. Only by stretching and challenging yourself will you discover how much you are truly capable of.

All this effectively means is that the more responsibility you take upon your shoulders the more likely you are to act with maximum efficiency in order to get the most important jobs done that are most vital for the attainment of your goals.

The key question you can ask is:

“What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?”

Every hour of every day, there is an answer to this question. Your job is to ask yourself that question, over and over again – and to make sure you’re always spending your time working on whatever is most important at that particular moment.

The more accurate your answers to this question, the easier it will be for you to set clear priorities and overcome procrastination.

In the book, Eat That Frog!, personal effectiveness expert Brian Tracy shows you how to zero in on the critical tasks and organize each day – you’ll not only get more done faster, but you’ll also get the right things done.

Sword Crafter’s Parable

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.

A quick video from Robin Sharma reminding us that focusing on the few things most important in your life – rather than letting yourself become distracted.

Quick summary

There was once a sword crafter that is known all over the world because of his extraordinary swords that he created. His speed on creating sword doesn’t suffer the quality of the sword. Some people call him the “Master Sword Crafter”. One day there was a king, who have heard the rumors about this lad decided to meet the man himself. The sword crafter brought onto the castle.

The king asked “Sword crafter what is your secret on making an extraordinary swords?”. The sword crafter replied “It’s very simple my king, when I was a young child I was exposed onto the crafting of sword and fell in-love with it. It spoke to my heart and touches my soul, when I was a young child I made a decision that I would be the Master sword crafter. As I grew up I read books, if something doesn’t relate to sword crafting or to sword I didn’t spent my time in it. And that is the secret of my mastery.”

Are there activities in your life which you give more time and energy than you should?

I like this story because here Robin Sharma shares with us the story about focus, destroying distractions and cutting through the noise so you can get the best work done.

By being “selfish” and “obsessing” on your passions and goals you will live a much more peaceful and fulfilled life.

The 80/20 principle reminds us that most things in life are of little value – knowing your goals and dreams – and following them with your heart is the cornerstone of a successful and meaningful life.

The only way you can win in your life is if you devote yourself to focusing on the few things that are most important.

The Sword Crafter’s Parable: A Quick Story About Productivity by Robin Sharma