Editor’s note: Although this post was originally published in 2009, we felt that information in The Power of Less is still relevant today.
Leo Babauta, who writes the inspiring blog ZenHabits, took his productivity and efficiency advice to the printed page in his book The Power of Less. Published in 2009, it is a 170-page guide to shedding the non-essential elements from your life and work so that you can do and achieve more.
His advice is based on six principles, two of which are initially discussed on pages 5 and 6 of his book:
Principle 1: By setting limitations, we must choose the essential. So in everything you do, learn to set limitations.
Principle 2: By choosing the essential, we create great impact with minimal resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy.
He uses the analogy of the haiku to illustrate these principles:
The haiku, as you may know, is usually a nature-related poem of just seventeen syllables, written in three lines (five syllables, then seven, then five). A poet writing a haiku must work with those limitations, must express an entire idea or image in only that number of syllables … He can quickly whip out seventeen syllables and have a completed haiku in a short amount of time; or he can carefully choose only the essential words and images needed to convey his idea. And this second choice is what creates some of the most powerful poetry in such a limited form — choosing only the essential.
He has four other principles, but these first two are really the heart of his system. In my opinion, he accurately explains that if you are going to be productive and efficient in all that you do, you have to make choices. You cannot do everything that comes your way, and you have to make difficult decisions about what filters into your life and what doesn’t.
On page 23 he aptly summarizes why you would want to adopt his system:
Simplifying isn’t meant to leave your life empty — it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do.
I completely agree with his message, and I think it will resonate well with most Unclutterer readers. If you are looking for sound advice on how to improve your productivity, The Power of Less will help you to be more efficient in all your dealings.
You can also check out Leo’s guest post on Unclutterer “Creating a minimalist workspace.”