1-Sentence-Summary: The Power Of Less shows you how to align your life with your most important goals, by finding out what’s really essential, changing your habits one at a time and working focused and productively on only those projects that will lead you to where you really want to go.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Even though I’ve been reading Leo Babauta’s brilliant blog Zenhabits for over 3 years now, I was still late to the party in 2012.
Everyone’s favorite minimalist started in 2007, 9 years ago, can you believe it?
The Power Of Less is one of his few books, but a great compendium of his most important lessons, which seed a fine line of minimalism throughout your entire life. This will not only make you a lot more productive, it will also make you a lot happier.
Here are the 3 biggest lessons to take away:
- Live your priorities.
- Change your habits and you’ll change your life.
- Start your day with your most important tasks.
Ready for less (it’s more)? Let’s go!
Lesson 1: Don’t just know your priorities, live them!
Yes, there are a few questions in this summary to help you figure out what your priorities are.
But don’t you already know what’s important to you?
If not, there’s an endless sea of blog posts, Youtube videos and guides out there, to help you ask the right questions.
Trust me, I know, I’ve written one of them.
Leo carries a much more important reminder to us through one of the blinks: once you know your priorities, live them!
The whole idea behind priorities is deliberately limiting yourself, which, counterintuitively, will lead you to a life of incredibly gratifying freedom.
So if you know spending time with your wife and kids means everything to you, then what the hell are you doing helping a random coworker after hours fix their computer problems?
Ruthlessly living your priorities won’t make you as disliked as you might fear – more often than not people respect us and value our time more, when we don’t instantly run to their side every time they raise a finger.
Don’t just know your priorities. Live them.
Lesson 2: Change your habits and you’ll change your life.
Leo’s blog is called Zenhabits, not Zengoals for one simple reason.
Habits are at the root of all lasting change.
When you know you need 1 extra hour each day to work on that dream business of yours, the only way to get it is to find that extra hour, for example by learning how to quit work early every day, or rising 1 hour earlier.
No habits, no change.
Leo wonderfully allows us to start simple and easy.
Try picking up one new habit, and one habit only. Even more so, make doing the habit so easy that it becomes impossible to fail.
For example, when you want to rise 1 hour earlier, start by rising 5 minutes earlier for a week. Then move down another 5 minutes. Or even just change your wake up time by 1 minute every day. Do whatever it takes to make sure you succeed.
Even the smallest win motivates you more than the slightest failure.
An accountability partner will help as well (ahem, just sayin’).
If you start today, what could your life look like in 6 months, 5 years, or 10 years? The possibilities are limitless, as long as you get started, so don’t waste another second and start.
Lesson 3: Always start your day with your MITs.
Speaking of starting, there is one habit that will help you make much bigger leaps towards your goals.
It’s the keystone of Leo’s productivity system and he calls it his MITs – Most Important Tasks.
I’ve written an entire guide on how to implement it from A to Z, but here’s the gist of it:
Every day after work, define three tasks, which each take half an hour or less, but that are crucial for reaching your most important goal.
Do those three tasks first thing in the morning.
So if you’re trying to start a business on the side, three tiny things you could do are to think of two services you could offer, finding one company to pitch to, and researching the relevant person’s email address.
You can do all of these in an hour or less, but imagine how great you’d feel for the rest of the day, even if you get not much else done.
That’s the power of starting small. Don’t be a fool and think it won’t get you far. Use it, and you’ll be amazed to see how fast the results compound.
My personal take-aways
I love everything about this book. Just reading it will make you feel at ease and less stressed. Actually implementing Leo’s suggestions is life-changing.
Yes, there are more catchy books about productivity, hacks to get focused, and putting in the work, but cutting out a lot of the hype and stripping away everything but the essentials is what makes this book so great.
It truly is a book about less, which makes it more helpful than a lot of the common productivity advice.
The summary gives you a few good starting points, but if you want Leo’s full system with all details, you’ll have to get the book. It’s not a long read either, but you wouldn’t have expected that from a book about minimalism, would you?
Worth every second, penny and word.
What else can you learn from the blinks?
- Why having a lot to do does not mean you’re getting a lot done
- Several questions to help you get your priorities straight
- 4 ideas for habits to tackle first
- The true key to creating habits
- How to structure your work with projects, goals and sub-goals
- What mindfulness has to do with making it through your to-do list for the day
- Which 6 steps you can take to minimize the time you spend on emails
Who would I recommend The Power Of Less summary to?
The 15 year old high schooler, who hasn’t found out about the science behind habits yet, to get her started early, the 47 year old father, with a job, family, and lots of other things to juggle, and anyone who thinks MIT only stands for Massachusetts Institute of Technology.