Reader Review: Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Want to listen to this Reader Review of Essentialism by Greg McKeown? CLICK HERE to hear all the good stuff in Episode 23 of the Create Some Breathing Room podcast!

Essentialism by Greg McKeown has been recommended to me many times over the past couple of years, and then Holley Gerth mentioned it as one of her top recommendations in our interview together back in Episode 9

The full title of this book is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, and it is a must-read for anybody who is feeling stretched thin and craving more time, more space, and more energy. It’s a game changer for those of us who are juggling multiple responsibilities, constantly trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, and feeling overwhelmed by the endless to-do lists. 

Does that sound like you? Yeah, me too. 

Prioritize Your Time and Energy

The first takeaway that stands out to me is McKeown’s emphasis on prioritizing your time and energy. You know I talk and teach about prioritizing All The Things all the time, so it was fantastic to read his perspective and tips for this.

McKeown says this means learning to say “no” to things that don’t align with our values or goals. Why is the word “no” so difficult for some of us?? We talked about this back in Episode 7 when we covered the top 3 questions to ask before saying “yes,” so make sure to check it out if you haven’t already!

Quotes I love About Prioritizing Your Time and Energy

  • “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”
  • “If you could do only one thing with your life right now, what would you do?”

Simplify Your Life

The concept of simplifying your life is a huge focus for me right now! I struggle with physical clutter and the impact it has on my mental and emotional health, so this aspect of essentialism really resonated.

McKeown says simplifying your life means getting rid of clutter (both physical and mental) that distracts us from what’s truly important. 

Quotes I Love About Simplifying Your Life

  • “If I didn’t already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?”
  • “The way of the Essentialist is the relentless pursuit of less but better.”

Control – The Myth, The Legend

This book emphasizes focusing on what you can control rather than worrying about things outside of our control. This means letting go of perfectionism and accepting that we can’t do everything. (This one took way too long for me to truly embrace!) 

One of my favorite points was that this also means remembering we have the ability to make a choice. We can, in fact, decide to choose choice!

Quotes I Love About Control and Choice

  • “While we may not always have control over our options, we always have control over how we choose among them.”
  • “The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default.” 

Bring It All Together

The content of this book provides a fantastic framework for simplifying and focusing our lives. By learning to say “no” to things that don’t matter, decluttering our lives, recognizing our ability to make a choice, and accepting our limitations, we can create more breathing room and achieve greater fulfillment as we live in our God-given purpose.

Trying to weed through every aspect of your life to determine what is essential and what isn’t can feel overwhelming! This is definitely one of those things that is easier to work through when you have someone else walk the journey with you. When you’re ready to start making some of these changes and focus on what is essential in your life, I would love to talk about what that could look like for you! Find a spot on my calendar for a free coffee chat to get the ball rolling.

Some of the links I share are affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you go through them to make a purchase. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because I think they are amazing and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases!


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Hi I’m Rachel!

I’m a lifelong teacher, writer, and speaker. I’m passionate about serving women who are overwhelmed with All The Things so they feel empowered to create some breathing room and live a more intentional life. 

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