Boundaries: an Excerpt from Essentialism by Greg McKeown
In Greg McKeown's book Essentialism, he lays out two ways of living: the "essentialist" and the "nonessentialist". The "essentialist" is described throughout the book as someone who has figured out how to eliminate all of the distractions and fluff in life, to focus on what's most important. The habits, techniques, and mindset the author explains, are designed to avoid the ways of a "nonessentialsist", who's time and efforts are wasted by being focused in the wrong directions.
Everyone is different and should have a different focus. What you do best to help those around you is different from what I do. One sure way to lose sight of your most important work, is allowing everyone else to decide how your time and effort should be spent. To prevent this, we need to have well defined boundaries that others know not to cross. Below is an excerpt from Essentialism contrasting two different ways of thinking about boundaries:
"Nonessentialists tend to think of boundaries as constraints or limits, things that get in the way of their hyperproductive life. To a Nonessentialist, setting boundaries is evidence of weakness. If they are strong enough, they think, they don't need boundaries. They can cope with it all. They can do it all. But without limits, they eventually become spread so thin that getting anything done becomes virtually impossible.
"Essentialists, on the other hand, see boundaries as empowering. They recognize that boundaries protect their time from being hijacked and often free them from the burden of having to say no to things that further others' objectives instead of their own. They know that clear boundaries allow them to proactively eliminate the demands and encumbrances from others that distract them from the true essentials" (page 166).
McKeown, Greg. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Crown Business, 2014.
The posts this week have been about clearing physical and mental space to make room for working on what is the most important. However, no matter how much work you put into organizing and freeing up your time, you need to prevent outside forces (including people), from undoing your efforts. Setting clear boundaries for yourself and others is what protects the assets of time and space that you worked hard to get.
What is an asset you have worked to protect, and what boundary have you set up to protect it? Please share below in the comments section.