Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown

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Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown

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Category: Lifestyle
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: We tend to think that important things are hard but the easy must be trivial. It really need not be that way. Highly recopmmended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: April 2021
Publisher: Virgin Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0753558379

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The marginal return of working harder was, in fact, negative.

That's what happened to Patrick McGinnis. It's no exaggeration to say that he devoted his life to the company he worked for, struggling through, even when he was ill, only to find that he was working for a bankrupt company. His stock had fallen by 97%, he had lost his health and his job had little value. He made a bargain with God; if he survived, he would make some changes. He did survive and came through stronger - and richer. There is, you see, a different way: great things are not reserved for those who bleed, for those who almost break.

Before you start to wonder if this book might be the answer to all your problems I'd better tell you that Greg McKeown is clear that life can be hard for all sorts of reasons and the book can't eliminate those hardships. It can help when you feel that life has already been stripped down to its essentials and it still feels impossible to cope. If you've read McKeown's Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less you'll know what he's talking about. He describes the difference between the two books as 'Essentialism was about doing the right things. Effortless is about doing them the right way.' My immediate reaction was that it might be a waste of time to read Effortless before I read Essentialism: how would I understand how to do things the right way if I didn't know what the right things were? But - I'm a reviewer and we don't always get books in the order we'd like them, so I persisted and I'm glad that I did.

You're going to learn how to reintroduce your effortless state: that's the point at which you're relaxed and it's actually easy to do things. Then you'll learn how to take effortless action and get effortless results. That might sound simple and too good to be true - when I put it so bluntly - but you are going to have to examine yourself, your motivations and be prepared to be brutal about changes you're going to make.

We all tend to add layers of complexity to life. We over-complicate - now is the time to strip it away. Most of us have been brought up to feel that working less hard is lazy. More effort somehow makes us feel good. Effortless gives us lots of ideas as to how we can improve our lives in big and small ways. I'll give you a couple of examples but you really should read the book to see what is going to make your life better.

A small change: we all have those little annoyances. Every time you try to close a drawer you have to adjust the contents to make it close smoothly. It only takes a second or two, so you don't bother to cure the problem but it annoys you every time it happens. Cure the problem - it will only take a short time - and you've saved the time and the annoyance. Every time I went into my greenhouse, the door caught on one of the retractable shades: I'd reach up and move it out of the way. Yesterday I reached up and put a clip in position so that the door didn't catch the shade: problem solved and annoyance dispensed with.

A bigger adjustment: most of us have grudges which we keep on our payroll. The next time you encounter one of these grudges, ask exactly what job it's doing for you. I found a couple on my personal payroll and dismissal proceedings have been started. I feel lighter already.

A quick solution to a boring task: pair it with something that's fun. I've started doing the ironing whilst listening to an audiobook.

Effortless isn't a long read but it's certainly not a quick one: I found myself going back over whole chapters to fully absorb the points being made. It's remarkably free of jargon and there are plenty of anecdotes to illustrate the points being made. It's inspirational and I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to the Bookbag.

You could shelve this next to Failosophy: A handbook for when things go wrong by Elizabeth Day.

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Buy Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown at Amazon.com.

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