12. January 2016 · Comments Off on The Power of Less by Leo Babauta · Categories: Uncategorized



My favorite excerpts and quotes are cited below. Babauta blogs at ZenHabits.net


The tale of the two newspaper reporters: pages 4 to 5

“Imagine two reporters working at a newspaper: One goes for a high volume of articles each week, and the other decides to do only one. The reporter writing thirty articles a week scans a vast amount of sources for any little bit of information that’s remotely interesting, turning each into a short, quick, and fairly limited article that doesn’t get much attention. His editor is pleased by the amount of work he’s doing, and he gets rewarded with praise.


The second reporter decides that if he’s just going to do one article this week, he’d better make it count. He spends half of the first day researching and brainstorming and thinking until he chooses a high impact story that he knows will knock people’s socks off. It’ll be an article that wins awards. He spends two days researching it and another couple days writing it and checking facts.


Guess what happens? Not only does he produce the best article of the week, but it becomes an award-winning article, one that the readers love and that gets him a promotion and long-term and widespread recognition. From that article, and others like it, he can build a career. The first reporter was thinking high-volume, but short-term. The second reporter focused on less, but it did much more over the long term.


That’s the Power of Less.”


The first two principles: pages 5 and 6


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.”


How limits help page 13:


“It simplifies things. It focuses you. It focuses on what’s important. It helps you achieve. It shows others that your time is important. It makes you more effective.”


Page 23, “Principle 3: Simplifying-Eliminating the Nonessential


Page 25, “Principle 4: Focus is your most important tool in becoming more effective


Page 28, on why multitasking is bad:

“Multitasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears for each new task and then switch back again.”


“Multitasking is more complicated, and thus leaves you more prone to stress and errors.”


“Multitasking can be crazy-making, and in this already chaotic world, we need to rein in the terror and find a little oasis of sanity and calm.”


Page 33, “Principle 5: Create new habits to make long-lasting improvements. “


Page 39, “Start new habits in small increments to ensure success”


Page 58, “The power of limitations works on the task level by choosing only three Most Important Tasks (MITs) that will become the focus of your day.”


Page 60, “Anytime you find yourself procrastinating on an important task, see if you can break it into something smaller. Then just get started. Small tasks are always better than large ones.”


Page 63, “Immersing yourself in a task, completely, is a phenomenon called “flow.” Basically, flow is a state of mind that occurs when you lose yourself in a task, and the world around you disappears.


The way to get into flow:


  • Choose a task you’re passionate about.
  • Choose a task that’s challenging.
  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Immerse yourself in the task.”



Page 75, “A common productivity tip is not to check e-mail first thing in the morning, and it’s good advice. By checking email in the morning, you’re allowing e-mail to dictate the rest of your day, instead of deciding for yourself what your Most Important Tasks will be for that day.”


Page 80, “Too often we feel the need to reply to every e-mail. But we don’t. Ask yourself, “What’s the worse that will happen if I delete this?” If the answer isn’t too bad, just delete it and move on. You can’t reply to everything. Just choose the most important ones and reply to them. If you limit the emails you actually reply to or take action on, you get the most important stuff done in the least amount of time. The eighty-twenty rule at work.”


Page 84, Babauta cites three platforms to track your internet usage. These are Toggl, yaTimer, or Tick.

Page 85, “One of the best things I’ve ever done to increase my productivity is to disconnect from the Internet when I want to get focused, uninterrupted, serious work done.”


Page 106, “Protect your time-it’s your most valuable commodity. Guard it with your life.”


Page 114, “With a well –planned morning routine:

You can prepare for your day and set your goals.

You can get in exercise, reading, writing, or other things you normally don’t have time for;

You can do something enjoyable, calming, and relaxing.”


Page 120, “Benefits of a Clean Desk:


  • It allows you to focus.
  • It gives you a Zen-like sense of calm.”

Page 133, “Along the same lines, working at a slower pace can be more productive, as contradictory as that might sound. If you can focus on the important tasks and projects, and keep your focus on those tasks, you will accomplish important things. In contrast, someone can work frantically for twelve hours a day, doing as many tasks as possible, and yet not accomplish anything important. That’s not just theory-many people do it all the time. They work hard at a fast pace, and yet wonder why they don’t get anywhere, and nothing seems to get done. They multitask and work as quickly as possible, getting stressed out the whole time. It’s not the most effective way to work.”

Page 160, “The best kind of motivation, then, is for you to really want something, to get excited about it, to be passionate about it.”