333: How Can a Busy Mother Get Back to the Essentials?


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It’s January 1st!

As we head into a new year, I, like perhaps many of you, am feeling pulled to get back to basics–back to the essence of my life and what I want and the work that is most essential for me to be doing, both inside and outside my home.

When I think of my life, I’m not proud to say that I often think of the metaphor of a “runaway train.” Things are going too fast, and I don’t feel like I have the power to slow it down. Maybe you relate? But that’s not true. I do! That’s what has pulled me back to a book that I read almost a decade ago called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. He is my guest on the show next week talking about his second book, but I wanted to introduce him this week by talking about his first book, which I think is especially needed at this time of year. 

First, what is essentialism?

“The way of the Essentialist isn’t about setting New Year’s resolutions to say no more, or about pruning your Inbox, or about mastering some new strategy in time management. It is about pausing constantly to ask, ‘Am I investing in the right activities?’ There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in. And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital. The way of the Essentialist involves learning to tell the difference–learning to filter through all those options and selecting only those that are truly essential.” 



3 Takeaways on how Busy Mothers can Get Back to the Essentials:

  1. Accept the reality of trade-offs. It’s tempting to think, “I can do both,” but in reality, you “can do anything, but not everything.” Once you grieve the fact that there will be trade-offs in life, you can move into more excitement at the idea that you get to choose a few vital things to go big on.
  2. Define your area of highest contribution. Come up with a sentence or two that isn’t based on “shoulds” but that captures the essence of what you truly want in life, and use it as a lens to make decisions. If an activity or an opportunity distracts you from your area of highest contribution, it’s not worth diffusing your energy to pursue it, and you can only know that when you get clear on your Essential Intent for your life.
  3. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself “What is important now?” Learn to fight the distraction of our busy world by pausing and slowing down time long enough to gain perspective on what needs your immediate attention in order for you to have space for your area of highest contribution.


>>>Are these tips on getting back to the essentials helpful? Have you ever read Greg’s Book? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.


Mentioned in the Episode


  • BetterHelp: This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/3in30 to get 10% off your first month of online therapy!
  • Fabric: Go to meetfabric.com/3in30 to get life insurance designed by parents for parents and get a high quality surprisingly affordable term life insurance policy in less than 10 minutes.

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