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Why I Practice Essentialism: The Power of Focused Priorities

Why I Practice Essentialism: The Power of Focused Priorities

why I practice essentialism

Let’s chat about why I practice essentialism.

For context, I’m a fur and human mom. I work a full-time job as an HR executive, run Modern Monclaire, and am planning a wedding for 2024.

This sets the table as to why I need to be prudent in how I approach productivity.

That said, let’s dig in.

So essentialism is a mindset and productivity methodology. It revolves around honing in on what truly matters. This allows us to eliminate distractions and noise that pull our focus away from our core values and goals.

This approach enables us to regain a sense of control over our lives by thoughtfully evaluating opportunities before embracing them. This ultimates allows for a more efficient and meaningful allocation of time and resources (source).

The practice of essentialism offers many benefits, including increased productivity and a heightened sense of fulfillment. Focusing on priority rather than juggling multiple priorities leads to the creation of higher quality work (source). By concentrating on what is essential and stripping away the nonessentials, one can achieve more by doing less, leading to a more balanced and rewarding life.

In today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of tasks and responsibilities vying for our attention. Using an essentialist approach allows us to thoughtfully identify the most crucial aspects of our lives. We can also better manage our time, and focus on the meaningful tasks that propel us closer to our personal and professional objectives.

The Concept of Essentialism

Essentialism is a teacher-centered philosophy of education.  It focuses on providing students with a strong foundation in essential knowledge and skills.

At its core, essentialism is grounded in the belief that there is a shared set of essential knowledge. Every individual should possess in order to become a well-rounded, productive member of society. This philosophy encourages the teaching of core subjects such as math, science, history, and language arts, with an emphasis on mastery and discipline.

The essentialist approach to education can be traced back to the works of notable philosophers like Plato. Their ideas about the importance of essence laid the foundation for this educational philosophy. In a modern context, essentialism can be found in many K-12 educational settings, where teachers prioritize a core curriculum to ensure students are equipped with necessary knowledge and skills for the future (source).

Some key tenets of essentialism include:

  • Emphasis on essential knowledge and skills that transcend changing circumstances
  • Standards-based curriculum focusing on core subjects
  • Teacher-centered classrooms where educators impart their knowledge to students
  • High expectations for student behavior and achievement
  • Importance of discipline in fostering an effective learning environment

By practicing essentialism, one aims to prioritize what truly matters and to focus on mastering the core elements of a given area. In doing so, individuals allow themselves the opportunity to dive deep into subjects, ultimately achieving a stronger understanding and foundation, rather than spreading their focus too thinly across numerous topics.

Why I Practice Essentialism

Clarity of Mind

Practicing essentialism has helped me achieve greater clarity of mind. By focusing on what’s truly important and decluttering my thoughts, I’m able to concentrate on my core values and goals. This approach allows me to eliminate distractions and maintain a clear vision of what truly matters in my life.

Increased Productivity

By prioritizing essential tasks and saying no to non-essential ones, my productivity has significantly improved. Essentialism encourages me to focus on fewer tasks, resulting in higher quality work and reduced stress. Adopting this mindset has allowed me to get more done in less time, while still sustaining a sense of accomplishment and personal fulfillment.

Better Work-Life Balance

One of the key benefits of essentialism is achieving a better work-life balance. Understanding my priorities and learning to say no to non-essential tasks has helped me create healthier boundaries between my professional and personal life. Consequently, I have more time and energy to invest in relationships, hobbies, and self-care, ultimately leading to an improved overall well-being.

Improved Decision-Making

Essentialism has positively impacted my decision-making abilities. When faced with various opportunities and choices, I now evaluate them more carefully, considering whether they align with my priorities and long-term goals. This approach allows me to make better-informed decisions that are in harmony with my core values, ultimately helping me live a more purposeful and fulfilling life.

How Essentialism Has Changed My Life & Productivity

Personal Relationships

Since I started practicing essentialism, my personal relationships have improved. By focusing on the people who truly matter and allocating quality time to them, it allowed me to develop stronger bonds and better understand their needs. I now find myself more present during conversations and genuinely engaged in the lives of my loved ones.

Career Advancements

Applying essentialist principles to my work has significantly improved my productivity and effectiveness. By focusing on the priority and allowing myself more time to produce high-quality work, I have managed to accomplish more with less effort. This has led to better performance reviews, growth opportunities, and overall career advancements.

Health and Wellness

Essentialism has also positively impacted my health and wellness. By identifying and prioritizing activities that improve my physical and mental well-being, I have developed a sustainable and satisfying routine. This has led to reduced stress, a better work-life balance, and an overall improvement in my quality of life.

Time Management

Incorporating essentialism into my time management strategy has enabled me to make more informed decisions about how I allocate my resources. Through discernment and evaluation, I have become better at identifying opportunities that align with my goals and values. As a result, I can now effectively prioritize tasks and avoid distractions, ultimately leading to a more efficient use of my time.

Overcoming Obstacles

Saying No

One of the key aspects of practicing essentialism is learning how to say “no” to unnecessary tasks and commitments. This allows us to focus on what truly matters and allocate our time and energy efficiently.

By consistently saying no to unimportant tasks or commitments, we can prioritize our time and resources to ensure progress towards our goals.

Saying no can be difficult, but it is crucial for staying focused on what’s truly essential.

Managing Distractions

Distractions come in many forms and can easily derail our focus on essential tasks. Learning to manage these distractions is a vital aspect of essentialism.

Here are some strategies to help manage distractions:

  • Identify distractions: Recognize what takes your focus away from essential tasks and understand their triggers.
  • Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries to minimize interruptions and distractions during essential work. This could include setting specific times for checking emails, blocking distracting websites, or designating a quiet space for work.
  • Embrace routines: Establishing routines for essential tasks can help create a focused environment and minimize the likelihood of distractions.
  • Take breaks: Regular breaks can help refresh your mind and maintain focus on essential tasks. Consider using techniques like the Pomodoro Technique to manage work sessions and breaks effectively.

By implementing these strategies, we can overcome obstacles and maintain a disciplined focus on what truly matters, ensuring more efficient and productive work in line with the principles of essentialism.

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Essentialism for Women

Essentialism for women incorporates the idea of focusing on the most important aspects of their lives, allowing them to eliminate the clutter and become more intentional in their decision-making. By adopting essentialism, women can address the unique challenges they face, such as balancing work and personal life, overcoming societal expectations, and fighting against gender stereotypes.

One of the primary benefits of essentialism for women is the opportunity to prioritize self-care and mental wellbeing. By identifying the essential areas of their lives, women can allocate more time towards nurturing their physical, emotional, and mental needs, leading to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Additionally, essentialism can help women in their professional pursuits. By focusing on the high-value tasks that can propel them forward in their careers, essentialist women are more likely to achieve success while avoiding burnout. Essentialism can challenge gender stereotypes and biases, as it encourages women to focus on their strengths and capabilities rather than adhering to traditional gender roles that are often reinforced by gender essentialism theory.

By practicing essentialism, women can become better decision-makers, learning to say no to distractions and eliminating tasks that don’t align with their goals. This can lead to increased personal and professional growth, and empower women to take control of their lives and actively shape their future.

Tips for Incorporating Essentialism

Setting Priorities

One of the first steps in practicing essentialism is setting priorities. This involves identifying the “vital few” tasks or goals that truly matter, and focusing your time and energy on them. To do this, define your core values and use them as a guide to make decisions. Learn to distinguish between essential and non-essential activities, and eliminate those that don’t align with your core values.

Developing Daily Habits

Incorporate essentialism into your daily routine by cultivating habits that support the principles of “less but better.” For example:

  • Start your day with a focused morning routine that helps you set your intentions for the day.
  • Block off regular time for deep work, during which you concentrate on essential tasks without distractions.
  • Practice daily reflection and mindfulness, which can help you stay aligned with your priorities and resist the urge to multitask or take on trivial tasks.

Developing these daily habits can help you maintain focus and stay true to your essentialist values.

Evaluating Progress

Regular evaluation of your progress is essential to ensure that you’re on track toward your goals and maintaining your commitment to essentialism. Consider setting aside time each week or month to assess your progress and make adjustments as necessary.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are my priorities still aligned with my core values?
  2. Am I spending enough time on the essential tasks and activities?
  3. What non-essential tasks or distractions can I eliminate?

Evaluating your progress regularly helps you stay focused on your priorities and adjust your time and energy accordingly to continuously work towards living an essentialist lifestyle.


In today’s fast-paced world, practicing essentialism is crucial in order to maintain focus on what truly matters. It helps individuals discern what is ‘absolutely essential’ and prioritize their lives, rather than allowing external factors to determine their course.

Essentialism can be practiced by following a systematic and disciplined approach, as outlined by Greg McKeown in his book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. This involves identifying the greatest areas of contribution and making those activities nearly effortless, ultimately transforming our lives.

By using the principles of essentialism, we can achieve more with less. This allows us to free up valuable time and mental energy to fulfill our potential and make a lasting impact on the world. Whether applied to personal or professional goals, essentialism cultivates an attitude of discernment. It also helps us create purposeful focus, setting the stage for a more balanced, efficient, and overall successful life.

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