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The Power of Less

blind contour #8
Blind Contour David. Ballpoint. 2005.

It’s not normal that I post a book review here, especially a non art related book. I recently finished reading The Power of Less by Leo Babauta (author of the famous Zen Habits blog) and I found it so helpful that I thought someone else out there might appreciate it as well. It focuses on how to achieve your goals in life and improve your effectiveness (not the same as efficiency) by single tasking and eliminating the unnecessary. I’ve read a few time management books before, but always walked away from them feeling inadequate and knowing that I’d never be able to achieve what they promised. What I loved the most about this book was that it was incredibly encouraging. His writing style also exemplifies what he’s talking about. The book is short and sweet. His writing is concise and he doesn’t waste time with many examples and entertaining intros.

These are the most helpful nuggets that I got:

Single Task. If you focus on one thing until it is finished, your work will be better quality because you’ll be paying attention to what you’re doing. You’ll also be doing things without constantly jumping to other tasks, so you will get things done faster too.

Focus on one goal at a time. I tend to become very energetic when first beginning a new endeavor and then quickly burn out and feel bad about myself when I fail. By only doing one thing at a time, it becomes easier to actually do it and make it a true and lasting habit. Going along with this idea, he suggests making daily goals very easy – too easy – in the beginning so that it keeps you motivated.

He gives a lot of helpful tips for how to come up with a system for dealing with common issues, like email and Internet addiction. His chapter “Simple Internet” really made me realize how addicted I am to the Internet and how much time I waste on it. I have already started to spend less time online, and have become more aware of my habits when I do. Since reading his book I have been able to keep my email inbox at work empty, which is pretty dramatic. At home I am working on keeping my bedroom clean. It is something I have been struggling with for years so I will be sure to report back on how this is going for me.


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