Weekend Briefing No. 468
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the weekend.
This briefing is going to be a little different and, I hope, something special. The entire briefing will be focused on the concept of essentialism.
Readers that have been around for a while will know that the first book I read at the beginning of each year is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. It’s all about the disciplined pursuit of less. I read it every year because it helps ground me in the essential values and commitments I’ve made to myself, my family, my friends and my colleagues.
It's no exaggeration to say that, with the exception of scripture, this is the book that’s had the most profoundly positive impact on my life.
My friend Banks Benitez found out how big a fan of the book I am and introduced me to Greg. When Greg asked me to be a guest on his podcast, I was so psyched. I jumped at the opportunity to chat with somebody who’s had a big impact on my life. The conversation was so enjoyable, and we were able to go deep quickly. The result was two episodes. You’ll see each one below.
I hope the nuggets of wisdom in the briefing will encourage you to pick up a copy of the book. And help you learn how to do less but be better.
Did your brilliant friend share this with you?
Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin? Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized? Are you often busy but not productive? Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas? If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist. The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter. By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy—instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us. Essentialism is not one more thing; it’s a whole new way of doing everything. It’s about doing less but better—in every area of our lives. Essentialism is a movement whose time has come. Essentialism (374 minutes)
Greg and Kyle (Part 1)
In the first podcast episode, we focus on how quality improves when we become really clear on what it is that we want to be excellent at. Our ability to do that more efficiently becomes better when we realize that time ≠ value. Quality outcomes = value. We discuss: 1) Building a new type of law firm using the principles of Essentialism and Effortless. 2) Applying less but better in your business. 3) Why you need to identify your essential work. 4) Why you should make your organization and business effortless. 5) The importance of decoupling time from value. Greg McKeown Podcast (31 minutes)
Effortless Property Management
Mortgage rates are at all-time highs. You can’t find the right buyer. And so now you’ve become... a landlord. Landlord doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Enter Mynd. A new kind of property management company that gives you full visibility into your single-family home rental from anywhere. When it comes to managing your rental property, Mynd does more so you can do less. Say goodbye to screening tenants, collecting rent, and coordinating repairs. Mynd’s real estate investor app gives you the real-time data insights and updates on your property that you need for peace of mind. Whether you just purchased your first investment property or you're a seasoned investor, Mynd makes it easy to track cash flow, check portfolio health, and collect rent in real-time. The best part? Mynd’s pricing is simple and transparent with flat-rate monthly fees. Get a free rental analysis with Mynd today. Mynd (Sponsored)
Greg and Kyle (Part 2)
In our second conversation, we focus on why the quantity of “no” dictates the quality of “yes.” We discuss: 1) Why you can’t fix burnout culture with a wellness app. 2) What you can do to change a system that incentivizes something other than quality results. 3) Why the skills that got us here aren’t going to be the skills that get us to the next level. 4) Learning to say “no.” 5) It’s possible to transition to the CEO of your own life. Greg McKeown Podcast (28 minutes)
Greg and Tim
Greg McKeown sits down with Tim Ferriss for a two-hour conversation. It’s solid and covers so much ground, including: 1) Success breeds failure because it invariably leads to the undisciplined pursuit of more. 2) Why perfectionism can hold us back. 3) Finding the one decision that removes 1,000 decisions. 4) How Warren Buffet gives a graceful no. 5) How to separate a decision from the relationship. 6) What makes a good and bad design partner. Tim Ferriss Podcast (135 minutes)
Saying No to Coffee
You are all incredibly accomplished people, so I’m sure you get a ton of requests to “grab coffee.” We all face a unique opportunity to reset how we invest our time. In our ultra-connected lives, if we don’t clear space for what is most essential, our aspirations will take a backseat to our inboxes. So rather than begrudgingly agreeing to meet someone or endlessly postponing social plans that you’re less than enthusiastic about, know that there are alternatives. 1) Pinpoint your values before requests arrive in your inbox. 2) Create a time budget. Ask yourself how much time you can realistically allocate to a work-related rendezvous before you shortchange other domains that matter to you. 3) If you say “yes,” then truly be there. 4) Make it effortless. Create a pre-written response for inbound requests. Harvard Business Review (6 minutes)
Once you grasp the principles of Essentialism, McKeown’s second book Effortless helps you make progress on your most important contribution. As high achievers, we’ve been conditioned to believe that the path to success is paved with relentless work: If we want to overachieve, we have to overexert, overthink, and overdo. If we aren’t perpetually exhausted, we’re not doing enough. But lately, working hard is more exhausting than ever. And the more depleted we get, the more effort it takes to make progress. Stuck in an endless loop of “Zoom, eat, sleep, repeat,” we’re often working twice as hard to achieve half as much. Getting ahead doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. No matter what challenges or obstacles we face, there is a better way: Instead of pushing ourselves harder, we can find an easier path. Effortless offers actionable advice for making the most essential activities the easiest ones, so you can achieve the results you want without burning out. Effortless teaches you how to: 1) Turn tedious tasks into enjoyable rituals. 2) Prevent frustration by solving problems before they arise. 3) Set a sustainable pace instead of powering through. 4) Make one-time choices that eliminate many future decisions. 5) Simplify your processes by removing unnecessary steps. 6) Make relationships easier to maintain and manage. The effortless way isn't the lazy way. It's the smart way. It may even be the only way. Effortless (362 minutes)
Should We Work Together?
Hi! I’m Kyle. This newsletter is my passion project. When I’m not writing, I run a law firm that helps startups move fast without breaking things. Most founders want a trusted legal partner, but they hate surprise legal bills. At Westaway, we take care of your startup’s legal needs for a flat, monthly fee so you can control your costs and focus on scaling your business. If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit for the firm. Click here to schedule a one-on-one call with me.
Check out my other briefings: Founder Fridays and Web3 Impact.
Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will. – Greg McKeown
Loved this one (of course)!
As always, Weekend Briefing is my favorite “Saturday” read. I listened to both podcasts on Sunday morning and ordered Essentialism. I also listened to a bonus podcast with Greg McKeon and Amy Gallo on conflict. Her TedTalk is on a post-it note to watch! I’ve committed to 2023 as my year of taking time back, spending time on what matters, giving my brain a break, and having more fun! Kudos to you for your “billing model.”