In the book Essentialism, Greg McKeown teaches you a new way to work and live by allowing you to be incredibly picky about the things that are most important to you and then brutally eliminating everything else. Essentialism, which was published in early 2014, is one of the most current books on how to get more out of life while doing less. Remember when Steve Jobs claimed that being focused was all about saying no? The focus of this book is on how you can apply this principle to your entire life. This book gradually but steadily teaches you a set of concepts and methods to find and cut out anything in your life that isn't significant, comparing essentialists and non-essentialists from chapter to chapter.
Learned helplessness manifests itself in both doing nothing and doing everything. If you're not doing anything, you're obviously not doing vital tasks. However, accomplishing everything has its drawbacks. Both sides are equally awful, and they both stem from a sense of helplessness. Martin Seligman, happiness researcher and author of Learned Optimism, coined the term "learned helplessness." It was first noticed in a study involving dogs who were given electric shocks. All of the dogs had a lever that they could pull to halt the shocks for one group but not the other. Both sets of dogs were thereafter placed in a huge cage with a low border separating a shock zone from ashock-free zone. The dogs that had previously had the opportunity to halt the shocks immediately leaped to the shock-free zone; those who had not been given the opportunity did not. They had become accustomed to their helplessness and had simply accepted their fate. Whether we do nothing or try to do everything, we, like the dogs, relinquish our power of choice.
With the 90 percent rule, you may become the editor of your own life. The 90 percent rule is one of the guidelines that essentialism encourages you to use to become the editor of your own life. Only examine the most significant criterion for each item, task, or choice and assign it a value between 0 and 100. Everything under 90 is deemed a 0 and must be removed. When cleaning out your closet, for example, you may assess the chances of wearing an item of clothes again — if it's less than 90%, why retain it? Similarly, you might ask yourself, “How likely is this to genuinely help me make progress toward my most essential goal?” when it comes to your to-do list.
As a rule of thumb, add 50% more time than you believe you'll need as a buffer. Concentrating on a few things does not imply that you will become idle. It's still up to you to plan them out. Even if you only choose three jobs for the day, it's possible for them to take longer than you anticipate. One of our fundamental weaknesses as humans is believing we can estimate how much we can get done in a day and that everything will go as planned. To account for the unexpected, McKeown recommends adding 50 percent of the time you estimate an activity will take as a buffer. This buffer will provide you breathing room and prevent you from freaking out if things take longer than expected. But this is fine for the essentialist, since he or she understands that making extra time for the unplannable is the essentialist method of creating time for what is genuinely essential.