Squeezed Into Essentialism

Well, after six days of a ketogenic diet and four with COVID symptoms, I can definitely say that my energy is depleted. As a card-carrying workaholic, it is an interesting opportunity to really ask myself:

What is the truly essential work that I need to do?

This is a question that I try to bring my attention to regularly, but there’s nothing like extremely low blood sugar and a COVID infection to get your priorities straight. Today, I’m just trying to do the work that is truly essential, and a bit of work that is easy/energizing: syncing up with my team on the plan for the week, sharing some new technical ideas that I have with our collaborators, making sure our insurance gets renewed on time.

I am walking and dictating this, walking very slowly because I’m feeling weak. It will only take a few minutes to turn the transcription into a blog post and social media posts.

Here are some resources that I’ve found helpful in asking this question of what is truly essential.

In particular, these questions from the 4-Hour Workweek came to mind while I was walking:

1. If you had a heart attack and had to work two hours per day, what would you do?

2. If you had a second heart attack and had to work two hours per week, what would you do?

3. If you had a gun to your head and had to stop doing ⅘ of different time-consuming activities, what would you remove?

Tim Ferriss

Nothing like a having highly contagious viral infection to really amplify this thought experiment.