Using Essentialism to Make My Goals Matter

Hello Lovely Human!

I have a question for you: have you ever gotten addicted to being busy? Because it feels so good to be busy and it makes you feel important? But then at the end of the day, you realise that you’re not closer to your goals, despite all those ticks? Enter Essentialism.

Essentialism is a concept developed by Greg McKeon and I loved his book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less in which he explains why we feel so useless even if we check off forty-five items of our to-do list and I would definitely recommend giving it a read.

Basically, essentialism promotes putting the first things in our life first, these are the essentials that allow us to have the greatest impact by being mindful about how we spend our time.

The reality is, saying yes to any opportunity by definition requires saying no to several others.

¬Greg McKeon, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.*

And it’s true, by saying yes to XYZ you can’t then spend that time working on things that matter most to you or just straight up watching Netflix.

*Sorry for the science but I can’t help myself 😊

Greg says to ask ourselves:

  1. What is something essential to me that I’m underinvesting in?

We need to be brutally honest with ourselves here, just because we’re busy doesn’t mean that we’re making progress on our goals.  And, yes, it will suck to have to admit that you’re neglecting something so important but if you’re aware of this you can fix it.

I said that I am under-investing in:

  • Content for The Labyrinth Life (why do you think posts are suddenly on time?)
  • My writing just wasn’t getting as many hours as Netflix
  • Physical health.

2. Why do these things matter to you?

Whenever we do something there’s a reason to it, something that motivates us: WHY we set want it.

  • Without good content there’s no growth for this blog, there’s no commitment, The Labyrinth Life would pretty much be nothing.
  • Writing matters to me because I want to improve and put all these thoughts I have onto paper because I really enjoy it.
  • Physical health matters because for one I enjoy running and exercising when I do it and it improves the quality of my life.

3. What needs to change for you to invest more time and energy into this?

  • I need to be intentional about what I do as soon as I wake up and, in the evenings, or I will spend hours on TikTok and Netflix with no motivation to stop.

4. How much time do you need to spend on these things so that you truly feel as though you’re investing enough?

  • If I spend about 12 hours a week on The Labyrinth Life that’s high focus, I’ll be happy.
  • Spending at least a few hours a day working on my story should be enough if I reach about 15 hours a week.
  • I think that if I work out as much as I say I’m going to each week I’ll good.

5. What will success in these areas look like once these changes happen?

Defining and being able to measure your progress towards your success is important because it keeps you motivated, focused and helps you beat any deadlines you may have, plus who doesn’t love the building excitement of nearing success in anything?

  • I won’t be scrambling to put together content at the last minute, my pieces will be well researched with good points and genuinely help and interest people.
  • I’ll be writing a few thousand words in outlines or drafts a week and just generally feel more connected than estranged to my fictional worlds.
  • My body won’t be screaming in protest every time I run up the hill I live on.

McKeown says that we all have essentials in our life (which we do) and suggests that we change our vocabulary from I have to… into I choose to… because if I don’t…

  • I choose to invest more time in creating quality content for The Labyrinth Life because if I don’t then I won’t see growth in something I care about.
  • I choose to write my stories and devote time and energy to them because if I don’t nobody else will ever tell them or their magic the way I will.
  • I choose to exercise because if I don’t I don’t get that wonderful shot of dopamine that comes from yelling “DONE!” after I finish a workout.

“Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.”

¬Greg McKeon, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

It makes sense that if we’re underinvesting time and energy in certain areas of our lives that we’re then overinvesting in others since you have the same 86 400 seconds every day so ask yourself:

  1. What are you over-investing in?

These things aren’t necessarily bad habits or things you want to give up altogether, in fact, they may be good things that just aren’t essential at the moment. All you have to do is spend less time on this activity.

  • I’m overinvesting in my ability binge watch shows and go down Pinterest rabbit holes.

Shift Your Time Investments

By now you and I can clearly see where we’re neglecting things and where our eyes are hurting from an addiction to Arrow.

We need to pull time to the essentials in our lives and away from the things we’re overinvesting in, after all, essentialism is only being intentional about how we spend our time.

“Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

¬Greg McKeon, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
  1. How can we invest more time in our essentials and less in the unimportant (to us)?

Greg suggests that instead of solely relying on motivation and willpower that we structure our lives in ways that make it easier to do the essential and harder to overinvest.

To do this we could try visually tracking progress we made, using physical triggers and making the things we want to spend less time on harder to access because our brains default to the path of least resistance.

You could try having routines that trigger you to start doing something, you could try leaving the remote in a hard to get to place (or take one battery out and leave it in a different room) if you want to watch less TV, you could adjust your sleep schedule to fit your chronobiology.

Here are some ways I’m trying to spend more time on the essential:

  • I’ve started waking up later so that I can write in the evenings without feeling tired (and my brother will already be watching TV)
  • I’m going to start my mornings nice and slow-because I am not a morning person, and work on The Labyrinth Life every day after lunch
  • Go for a run when I know that I won’t see people I know (because nobody wants that)

I hope that you enjoyed this post abd that it was helpful to your if it was consider subscribing please and be sure to le me know what you’re going to start investing more time into!


2 thoughts on “Using Essentialism to Make My Goals Matter

  1. I needed this! I was just mentioning to you on how I sometimes waste time doing pointless research, and it makes me feel ‘busy’, but at the end of the day, nothing gets done. And essentialism could be the exact thing I’m looking for. Might check out the book too. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Glad I could help! Yepp, making our to-do lists long to feel accomplished does quite the opposite at the end of the day. I really did enjoy the book and I think you would too if you had the time.
      Anyway, thanks for reading!


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