Sometimes we make things harder than they need to be. But with the right steps, we can learn to make life easier instead.
An Effortless Recommendation
I’m sitting in the recliner at home, scrolling through Twitter as the day winds down, somewhere between supper and bedtime.
I see a tweet from Daniel Pink. It shows his latest list of book recommendations. I always read his tweets, just like I always read his books and his emails.
5 Books About Making the World Better:— Daniel Pink (@DanielPink) February 16, 2021
BIASED by Jennifer Eberhardt
CHANGE by @DamonCentola
THE POWER OF ETHICS by @SusanLiautaud
HUMANKIND by @rcbregman
BUILDING FOR EVERYONE by @Its_Me_AJB
I immediately read his list. These are books I’ll hunt down at my library and on NetGalley and add to my Evernote “To Read” folder.
Why? Because I trust Daniel Pink. He’s earned it through numerous positive connections between the books he recommends and the books I like.
Daniel Pink makes my life easier. He makes it effortless to know which new books to add to my to-read list.
Trying Too Hard?
Making life effortless is what Greg McKeown writes about in his newest release, Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most. (McKeown is also the author of the best-selling book Essentialiam: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Read more about it here: You can’t do it all—choose less.)
In Effortless, McKeown focuses on making it easy to do what matters. He says we sometimes fail because we’re trying too hard. Instead, maybe we should “make the most essential activities the easiest ones.”
The book doesn’t give a one-size-fits-all answer, because what matters to you, to me, and to McKeown might be three different things. But the approach we use to arrive at that answer can be similar.
6 Tips to Make Life Easier
Here are 6 pieces of advice from McKeown to make life easier, among many in his book.
1. Make it a pair.
Reduce the lag time between the action and satisfaction by pairing an essential activity with a reward (such as, listening to a podcast only when you’re walking on the treadmill).
2. Create habit recipes.
“After [X] I will [Y].” For example, after I complain I will say something I am thankful for.
3. Create a “Done for the Day” list.
Only include on this list what constitutes meaningful and essential progress. Don’t make it a completion list, just a done-for-the day list.
4. Take the first obvious action.
Break projects down into their simplest parts. Too often we think of the first series of steps as the first step. Instead, find the true first step and start there.
5. Embrace the rubbish.
Don’t try to get everything exactly right the first time.
6. Grow a knowledge tree.
To repeat the residual results of knowledge, leverage what others know.
The Question to Ask
Tip #6 is what I do when I listen to Daniel Pink’s advice on what to read next. I leverage what he knows to effortlessly grow my own knowledge tree.
The book Effortless is full of more practical tips like these six. None are extreme or difficult, but are all designed to help us go the distance by choosing a lighter path.
McKeown ends the book with this takeaway:
“Life doesn’t have to be as hard and complicated as we make it. Ask yourself, “How am I making things harder than they need to be?” When you have your answer, you will know what to do next. It is as simple, it is as easy, as that.”
What are you making harder than it needs to be? Which of these 6 tips do you need the most? Share your thoughts in the comments.
My thanks to NetGalley and Crown
Publishing for the review copy of this book
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