If we do not prioritize our lives, someone else will. And if we do not consciously choose to live lives that matter, excellence will not simply “happen.”
Greg McKeown, best-selling author of the book Essentialism, is one of our very favorite authors. We’ve read (and listened to!) his book several times, and the lessons within it are powerful.
Today’s episode of LearnDoBecome Radio is well worth your time to listen.
In fact, it was so incredible that when I (April) went back to preview the recording, I took pages of notes…just for my own benefit.
And if you want a copy of those notes, our daughter typed them up so we can send them to you. Just scroll down to see where you can sign up! 🙂
Here are a few topics Greg covers in the podcast:
- How to identify your 100-year vision. What long-term story are you writing right now? How can we make sure we’re currently creating the story we want our grandchildren to share about us?
- How to plan and execute an incredible Quarterly Offsite. (Have you heard about those?) Greg shares how you can regain your focus and decide for yourself where your life is actually going.
- How to create a new habit that will change your life. There’s one habit Greg has maintained every day for five years (and nearly every day for 10). I (April) have now adopted this habit, and I now understand why Greg calls this one of the most satisfying elements of his life. (Even if you’re “busy,” once you do this, you’ll know what we mean.)
- The secret to increasing the chance of sustainability. (Do you tend to burn out? Are you trying to do too much? This solution sounds counter-intuitive, but it works!)
- How to figure out if you’re making a “fool’s bargain.” Greg made one of these at one point (it’s a great story…), and he shares how he learned from it.
- The three steps that are at the CORE of Essentialism (and how Greg puts this into practice, spending time with his children every week in a way you wouldn’t expect).
- How we can be gentle on ourselves. “Each day is a prototype for living a life that matters.” And we get to try over and over.
Would you like my (April’s) personal notes on the podcast?
They’re all ready for you. Simply click the blue button below!
Links from the Podcast & Related Posts:
Greg’s article about taking a quarterly offsite.
Seneca – “On the Shortness of Life – Life is long if you know how to use it.”
Miracle Music Game (System that Works for Kids!)
Beautiful Encouragement to Help You Live Your Unique Mission – With Lori Nunno and April Perry
Would you like to learn how to easily incorporate the principles of Essentialism into your life?
Eric and I (April) will show you an incredibly simple process to feel less overwhelmed and way more productive, so you can establish powerful routines and get the most important things done. When combining these strategies with what you just learned in this podcast from Greg, you will feel unstoppable (and relaxed, at the same time). Click here or on the image below to join us for a class!
Hi April & Eric – thanks so much for this podcast. I went out & read Essentialism after hearing a podcast with Greg on Power of Moms a few months ago …. and this is now the second new podcast that I listen to regularly that has talked with Greg this week!
One thing I would like to know is what sort of notebook Greg uses for his journalling … I am always stuck on trying to find the “perfect” notebook/planner and I bounce between weekly notebook styles, day to a page diaries, plain/gridline books … I’m currently trying bullet journalling with not much success.
I know the answer is going to be not to get hung up on the book itself and just do the journalling! It’s one of those 20% things that take up 80% of my time (seriously). But I really want to know what he finds works for his style of journalling 🙂
Thanks also for sharing your notes April – they are a helpful refresher. I’m like you – I always want to take pages of notes when I listen to a podcast, so I appreciate you doing the work for me!!
April Perry says
Great question!! I’ll tweet Greg and ask.
Eric has a really nice black leather journal that he uses consistently (so they all look the same). I have random journals from the $5 section at Ross. 🙂 I’m pretty sure this works with any kind of journal you’re excited to open.
Glad you enjoyed the podcast and the notes! Thanks for being with us, Barb!
I love the idea of this; however, it feels a little bit pie-in-the-sky to me as a stay-at-home mom. For example, today I am up to my eyeballs in laundry. 150 years from now, will people saying about me, “She always made sure we had clean clothes”? Um, no! Who cares? But at the same time, if I’m not doing laundry, we don’t have clean clothes, and that makes everyone stressed out and angry and frustrated, and that to me is also not a positive outcome. But all the time I’m spending wading through the piles of laundry is time I’m not spending interacting with my kids, which is exactly what my essentialism brain is telling me I need to be doing. (And yes, I have tried including them in the laundry, which just means more frustration from both ends and it taking twice as long, so that’s certainly not helping anything either.)
Help! How do I reach my long-term goals when the necessities of everyday life suck up every minute I have?
April Perry says
Kasey, this is SUCH a great discussion topic. I feel like it needs a totally separate post/podcast. For starters, I’ll share some ideas here, and I’d love for our community members to join in. 🙂
SO much of what we do as parents (or just as people, in general), is mundane work. Laundry is one example. Editing podcasts is another example.
When we’re thick in the details–doing what has to get done in order to reach the overall goal (clothing/raising a family or publishing a podcast/building an online community), we can’t easily see the value in that activity alone.
But the fact that you DO the laundry…that you even care about your family…that you show up every day for them….THAT is what they will remember.
Involving the family is almost always frustrating and time-consuming, but I will say this: When you work side by side over time (not EVERY time, but OVER time), your relationships grow. I consider housework while my children are in the same room as “spending time with my kids,” and over the years, it has proven to be a time when they ask questions, when they feel they can come to me with problems, and when we can build our relationships. (So don’t give up!)
Other long-term goals are great, and you can work on them bit by bit (that’s why we teach our productivity classes each week), but recognizing that you are investing right now in children and a strong home is HUGE.
Here are two posts you might like to read (they’re quick…):
I’d love to continue this discussion!
I would love to see more examples of how people build a system to execute the most important things, especially for moms! I have systems for things like housework and meal planning and daily routines. I read my scriptures each morning and read to my kids each evening. But mostly I feel like these routines and systems are just managing all the mundane things that have to happen for our family to function. How have others built systems to make the essential things happen and what does this look like in your life?
April Perry says
Heidi, I’d love to explore this question more. What kinds of things would you call “essential”? I feel like the routine things really ARE essential–especially while we’re nurturing young children. What essential things do you feel you need more time to pursue? Thanks!!
In his book, Greg talks about several essential activities: time to escape, think, read, journal, and explore the big picture; play; sleep; and pursue the top few opportunities that are a “clear yes.” I feel like self-care is an essential activity for moms as well as family (developing relationships, nurturing and teaching children, strengthening marriage). Spirituality would also be on my essential list and since I’m LDS, those systems of FHE, church attendance, prayers and scriptures, etc are already built in. Maybe it’s just because I have 3 little kids and some challenges with them, but I feel like I’m always struggling with time to escape, getting enough sleep and self care, and time to pursue any hobby or goal for myself beyond just my family. I have a really hard time fitting all of the above essential things in and when time is short, time for me is usually one of the first things to go.
April Perry says
Ahhh… makes total sense. Okay, just a couple of things. Daily Quiet Time is a MUST with small children. Have you seen this? https://powerofmoms.com/mommys-naptime-101-2/
And that’s the WHOLE reason I do the STEP program (Have you attended our free webinar? http://www.learndobecome.com/step) Those two things combined give me time and space to pursue self-care, building my business, reading, etc. — without feeling overwhelmed. Let me know if you have any questions!!
Quiet time and the MOM program are some of my favorites! 🙂 Quiet time is what keeps me sane most days. Quiet time is tricky because sometimes it’s difficult to get the kids all napping/entertained/out of trouble (my oldest finds all sorts of creative ways to do things he shouldn’t or feels the need to come tell me something every 5 minutes) long enough for me to get a break. It always feels too short. I think I need to do better at using that time to do things that rejuvenate me rather than just crashing by reading blogs and facebook for the first half because I’m out of energy to do anything else. I’m still trying to figure out how to best do that. It’s also one of the few time slots in my day to work on non-routine tasks as well as routine tasks that require the computer, and the to do list is always longer than the time to do it.
I’ve worked a lot this year on keeping my current projects list small and expectations “reasonable,” but my weekly next actions list seems to always creep to an unrealistic length, there are always more interruptions, and things take so much longer than I think they will. I do find that keeping my system current and reviewing the basic principles is helpful – it’s amazing how a little principle I’ve forgotten makes a big difference when I put it back into practice!
Oh, and I also struggle with getting one on one time with my kids in routinely.
April Perry says
Heidi, it sounds like you’re doing GREAT. In fact, I would suggest that you are doing way better than you think you are. When you have several young children, expectations seriously need to be HUGELY relaxed. I am finally learning this.
One-on-one time can happen while you’re doing dishes/cleaning with your kids. Dates can be quarterly–if that even works!
My problem is that I was addicted to productivity. I thought I needed to get a lot done and satisfy everyone else. That left me exhausted and sad. I am doing way, way less now, but I am so much happier. It takes practice, but I think it’s totally possible.
There’s a Christian-focused book called “What’s Best Next?” that I am really enjoying. It’s helping me to see how I have put too much on me and my task list over the years.
You obviously care SO much about your family, and I can tell you’re a responsible, goal-oriented person–which is awesome! If you ever feel spread too thin, I hope you can double up on your naps. 🙂 I’ll be doing more podcasts on this topic because it has seriously caused me major anxiety for years, and I finally feel like I’m on the other side of it.
Hope I don’t sound like I’m telling you what to do. I just see myself in your words, and I want you to be able to breathe. 🙂
Thank you so much April for all your encouragement and taking time to respond to my comments and discuss this with me. And for all the resources on both your websites!
Christi Larkins says
I happen to be listening to this podcast today at work because it is one of my favorites on Learn Do Become Radio. I just have to share when I first heard this podcast about 2 months ago that Greg’s suggestion to start journaling with one sentence each day really stuck with me. I have always wanted to journal daily but would get caught up in not having enough time or not knowing what to right or feeling guilty when I missed a day. The beginning of February, I started entering one sentence about what I am thankful for that day. I have entered something almost every day and it has made a HUGE difference in my days!! I start my days happier and more thankful for the blessings in my life. Some days I write only one sentence and some days I write 4 or 5. It doesn’t matter how much, it matters the reason for it. Every entry starts with “Today I am thankful for…” I love it and have entered more than once that I am thankful for April and Eric, for Learn Do Become, and for this podcast. You all are changing lives! God Bless you all!
April Perry says
Christi, I LOVE that you are writing one line a day. That is awesome! So inspiring! We are thankful for YOU! Being part of the LearnDoBecome community is a gift to us. Sending a huge virtual hug!
Pat Vassilaros says
I am a mom with grown sons who have children of their own. None live close to me. I just retired and am overwhelmed. I miss my set schedule with assignments that had deadlines! My love is family and family history. I have 12+ big moving boxes of family history items that I have no idea how to organize. I am a hunter-gatherer!! Do you have any help by podcast or info about organization of photos, documents, newspaper articles, etc. etc. etc. ? My sons want everything digital. It would take me the rest of my life to do that and I don’t like just sitting and scanning all day. I am so looking for a process, a program, something that would give me direction of how to start and what to do. Thanks so much for your emails and podcasts. I don’t have little kids anymore but I still have their stuff!!
Taryn Wood says
Thanks for asking, Pat! Paper is our specialty. 🙂 We have a video that teaches you how to plan projects and an additional podcast that talks about how to clear an area. You can find the video here, https://learndobecome.com/project-planning-with-april-and-eric/ and the Three Box Method to clearing an area here, https://learndobecome.com/episode51/. We hope these resources are helpful. Wishing you all the best!
I love this so much!! My mom keeps a “decade diary” which is no longer for sale but she had enough that she is finally on her last one. I really hope this isn’t her last decade but she is at the age that it could be. Just the thought makes me tear up. Each page has an entry spot for ten years and enough space to write maybe up to three sentences or so. She has done this as long as I can remember. These journals are now a treasure. She can see where she was at on that exact day over the years and see what was going on in her life, how she’s changed, what we did, and the like. I haven’t been as good at keeping a journal, though I have intermittently. This makes me want to.
There are so many gems in this that I will likely need to listen to it again as well:). Thanks for all you do.