The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

| May 23, 2011 | 1 Comment
The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta, author of The Power of Less, also happens to be the author of the top ten blog Zen Habits. I’ve been a reader of the blog for years and recently picked up The Power of Less hoping it rivaled the quality of Leo’s blog. I was pleasantly surprised with the eye-opening time management principles which Leo explains.

The book is organized in a way that lends itself to a quick read and easy comprehension. Many concepts are presented in bullet format with key concepts in bold typeface. This method of writing is clearly a crossover from Leo’s blogging experience and I love it. It’s the prose equivalent of a succinct email with a bullet list of key points verse the four page email with no organization and one single paragraph.

The Power of Less is comprised of ten principles which are presented throughout the book. The most important principles happen to be the first two:

  1. By setting limitations, we must choose the essential. So, in everything you do, learn to set limitations.
  2. By choosing the essential, we create great impact with minimal resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy.

How do you set limitations? How do you figure out what is essential in your life? Leo Babauta answers how to implement all of the principles The Power of Less. The ultimate goal is to simplify your life. Leo is careful to explain that simplification isn’t meant to leave your life empty. Rather, it’s meant to make space in your life for what you really want to accomplish.

A major theme of The Power of Less is improving your life. Once way to improve your life is to create a new habit (and continue to create new habits as they become habitual!). Leo has personal experience with the creating habits since he quite smoking and now wakes at 4:30am to run before the rest of his family is awake. He offers a fantastic list of key habits to strive for which I have to share:

  1. Set your 3 MITs each morning
  2. Single task; don’t multi-task
  3. Process your inbox to empty
  4. Check your email just twice a day
  5. Exercise 5-10 minutes per day
  6. Work while disconnected; with no distractions
  7. Follow a morning routine
  8. Eat more fruits and vegetables each day
  9. Keep your desk decluttered
  10. Say no to commitments/requests which aren’t on your short list
  11. Declutter your house for 15 minutes per day
  12. Stick to a 5 sentence limit for emails

Leo recommends slowly building your way up towards making your new habit a reality. Additionally, he has created a forum to announce your endeavor towards a new habit. Posting your decision to create a new habit increases your chances of success by staying accountable to others and receiving encouragement.

The last few chapters become very specific about time management techniques. If you ever think that there must be an easier way to get through all of your email or organize all the documents in your life, this is the book for you. Leo explains the fool-proof methods which he has used for years to stay completely organized.

The Power of Less does a fantastic job of presenting the minimalist mindset. Some of the habits Leo presents – i.e. checking your email twice a day – do not necessarily apply to everyone. He is realistic and recognizes that his suggestions do not apply perfectly to everyone’s situation. The important question he wants you to ask is how many times are you checking email per day and is that really necessary? Is that what is important to you? Leo’s thought process, which he explains very well in the book, is completely applicable to everyone’s life. Unless you think you are completely efficient and have time to do everything you want, I recommend reading The Power of Less.

The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life

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  1. […] Weekly Roundup: Discipline, Gen X Retirement, Google Wallet, Career Moves Joe | May 27, 2011 | 0 Comments The Myth of Discipline – Is discipline just too hard? Think again. Leo Babauta contends that every single thing you do is a result of motivation; NOT discipline. Check out my review of Leo’s book, The Power of Less. […]

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