Adopting the Essentialism Mindset


The pandemic has had a major impact on how we work – from where we do it, to how we measure success. We’ve necessarily shifted into efficiency mode, but can we be as effective, productive, and satisfied with our accomplishments? If those benchmarks were historically driven by a traditional work environment, can we see them in the ongoing pandemic world?

We can if we understand how output has been impacted. For example, moving too fast to keep tasks on target can make us less intentional and reflective. Similarly, overpromising, being more flexible than needed, or saying yes too quickly can keep us perpetually overwhelmed. The solution? Acknowledge the feeling, and give ourselves space to review what tasks we’re working on – and why.

Many of us work from a list because crossing off items lends a feeling of accomplishment. When we are overwhelmed, however, we can make choices that might not support what is most important, productive, and effective. We opt for items that are easiest to cross off. Effectiveness can suffer.

To combat those tendencies, below are some ideas to help you achieve the traditional benchmarks of a job well done in a no-longer-traditional environment:

  1. Productivity: Set an intention each day to accomplish three essential items that would make all your other work more effective. Remember that it could be a small task that affects many items. What have you had on your mind to do but just have not found – or made – the time?
  2. Planning: Review your meetings for the next two weeks. Could someone else attend the meeting for their own development? Do you have planning time before, between, and after meetings to tighten up agendas and summarize action items? This practice allows you to feel prepared and confident for your meetings, and you won’t waste critical energy worrying about future activities.
  3. Progress: Examine your list. Where do you need to say “No”? Remember, you need to be intentional. Reviewing tasks for importance simply means reevaluating based on a new situation or new information. Start small and build in wins that help you increase productivity.

For more ideas or help with implementing these, drop me a note at

This post originally appeared in the Central New York Business Journal on August 22, 2022.

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