1-Sentence-Summary: Effortless takes the idea of productivity to another level by explaining how doing the most with a minimum input of effort and time is a much more desired outcome than the idea of being constantly busy that is glamorized nowadays.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Being busy does not equal being productive. To be productive is to be efficient in your endeavors and make significant steps towards your end goal with an appropriate amount of resources consumed in the process.
If your input is extremely high, but your results are just average, that means you’ve been keeping yourself busy instead of being productive. Success doesn’t have to be difficult. Working hard pays off as long as you’ve got a good plan and a winning strategy, but struggling only to say that you’ve tried isn’t the most efficient approach.
If you allocate your limited resources strategically and keep some time for yourself, you’ll be better off. Avoiding burnout and exhaustion while still moving forward with your objectives is the ultimate strategy. Effortless by Greg McKeown can teach you exactly how to do so, but you’ll have to make sure to not just read, but also implement what you’ll find out in this book.
Here are my three favorite lessons so far:
- Train your mind to be relaxed at work, and productive actions will automatically follow.
- One of the best ways to achieve more is to define goals and then pair your work with something enjoyable.
- The most productive work sessions often start with allowing yourself to have and share rubbish ideas.
Let’s explore these valuable lessons in detail and find out more about each one of them!
Lesson 1: A clear mind and a winning mentality will get us in the Effortless State, where everything becomes achievable.
Some people make everything seem so easy, am I right? Just look at top performers worldwide who run marathons, score goals, perform in front of large audiences for hours, and whatnot. Everything seems smooth and easy for them, so what’s the secret? The Effortless State, as it turns out. To reach this state of mind, one must get rid of all assumptions and clear it from negative thoughts.
Of course, hard work is at the core of all successful endeavors. Still, the way you perform the respective work will make the difference. And just like with everything, it all starts from our mind. More specifically, it implies clearing it from all assumptions and limitations. Oftentimes, we have them engraved in our mind without even realizing it. However, our thoughts determine what our subconscious thinks, which in turn determines our actions.
So how to overcome the mental clutter? Simply start with a new assumption – that all your limitations and previous negative assumptions are wrong. Start fresh! This mentality will have you enter the Effortless State, where you do less, but achieve more. Psychologists also stand by this concept. Oftentimes, we force ourselves to work, but end up having diminished results.
That is because our brain can’t possibly function at its highest parameters at all times. As such, focusing our mind better and directing our efforts right in a given time frame, such as a session of 90 minutes with short breaks, can lead to better results. If you think you can’t adopt this mindset, think again – you are now free of all your previous negative assumptions!
Lesson 2: Always take a minute to define the end goal of a project and then make the tasks more enjoyable.
To carry on with a project successfully from start to finish, you must first define its steps and the end goal. This is the only sustainable way to advance with your tasks, stay on track, and meet your objectives. To start, you’ll have to define how your end product should look like.
This will help you structure your work better and be more productive in your undertakings. Break everything down into smaller, daily or hourly chunks. Then, identify the smallest obvious step, or the Minimum Viable Action, and then do just that. Another way to improve your productivity is to assess all steps and see which ones aren’t necessary or don’t add enough value to your process, then remove them.
Sometimes work may seem overwhelming because there’s a lot to do and you don’t really know where to begin. However, to put your mind in the Effortless State, you’ll have to declutter it first and help it see things in a more structured way. Organize tasks accordingly and eliminate the extra layers of your work. Start small, and the rest of your ideas and actions will follow. Oftentimes we need just one little spark to light up the chain of your successful endeavors.
Lesson 3: Don’t be afraid to share bad ideas, as any contribution can start a successful process.
There are certain common misconceptions about how a productive working process should look like which slow us down. Oftentimes we’re afraid to start thinking about all the things that could go wrong, the multitude of tasks we have to finish up before a deadline, or come up with ideas that we turn down before we even speak them up because they sound stupid or utopic.
However, this irrelevant fear inhibits our growth and the chance for a potential productive session. As such, if we allow ourselves to give course to imperfect products and unfinished ideas, it gets easier to learn from our failures and mistakes in the process. From that point, building a successful product is only a matter of time. One important aspect to consider is to not criticize your attempts, but rather analyze them and find where you can improve them next time.
Moreover, to achieve effortless productivity, you’ll have to sustain a certain pace. Don’t exhaust yourself and consume all your resources at the beginning of a process, but distribute them evenly during its duration and make sure to store your energy for the entire period. To come up with a pace, try out different scenarios. For example, if you’re a writer, make it a plan to write 300 words everyday for a certain number of days.
If you’ve ever struggled with becoming more productive or adopting a winning mentality, Effortless is the book for you. Not only will it get you in the right state of mind, it will also shed some light on practices you can adopt right away to better target your efforts. The book also delves into failed attempts and mistakes and how we can learn from them.
Who would I recommend the Effortless summary to?
The 23-year-old young professional who is struggling with their time management, the 30-year-old leader who wants to help their team be successful, and anyone looking for a way to get their side project off the ground.
Last Updated on October 28, 2023