What does Essentialism have in common with the KonMari Method of Tidying?
Both works deliberately focus not on quantity, but on value. It’s not about how much or how little you have, it’s not about how much you get rid of, it’s about giving the things you truly value the proper time and space within your life.
Both Greg McKeown and Marie Kondo urge us to focus not on what we’re getting rid of, but on what we’re choosing to keep. It’s the things we can’t bear to part with that say the most about who we are and who we want to be. These are the things that truly deserve our attention.
When we give the valuable and the essential our undivided attention, the trivial will naturally fall away. When we turn our focus on the things that truly fulfill us, nothing else can possibly compete. But it takes time and practice to learn to recognize the things that are the most fulfilling.
This is why the KonMari Method starts with the things we have the least attachment to and gradually works us “up” to sentimental items which are the hardest to choose from. We have to train the ability to recognize what brings us true joy and fulfillment.
The same is true for our work, responsibilities, and long-term goals. We must first learn to recognize what is valuable, and we do that by working from the bottom up. First by analyzing our to-do list and choosing one essential task per day. When we’ve learned to recognize the most valuable tasks on a day-to-day basis, we can move on to choosing between projects, and then eventually choosing between different roles, responsibilities, and paths in our lives. This is how we learn to prioritize.
By focusing on what brings us joy and fulfillment, the rest naturally falls away. But we must train our ability to recognize the essential few from the rest, and we do this by working our way up from the bottom.
To choose one thing is to discard several others. But when our focus is on that valuable thing we’ve chosen, it’s not so painful to let go of the rest.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo