If you haven’t read my previous post on the new book I’m reading I’ve finished, then pop over and check it out.

Essentialism can be described as getting the right things done. From reading the book, I’ve learnt that it’s a mindset, rather than a way of managing your time and the tasks that fill up that time. We do live in a time where taking on more and more, be it socially, work or personally, is seen as a positive thing. We sometimes believe that the result of this will be a greater success. This isn’t strictly true.

As a UX Designer I’ve always been a fan of Essentialism and I put some more of into practice this week by tweaking some of the things in my everyday life:

1. Turn off notifications from apps.

Yes. Facebook, Twitter, etc. I use Whatsapp for contacting people via messaging and the phone for making phone calls. I even turned off new email notifications in the GMail app.

I’m already seeing the difference, ie. not checking my phone every time it beeps or buzzes. (Hat tip to Adam for this one).

2. Trimmed the list of people I follow on Twitter.

Following too many people makes it harder for me to trawl through the endless amount of tweets, trying to find a nugget of information. I trimmed my list to under 100 so now I am only following the people and business who I believe add something to my Twitter experience – providing me with gems of information of links that may be of interest.

I’ve seen many people saying that following thousands shows you are social… C’mon, you can’t possibly read ALL of their tweets AND reply to them. If you do, you’ve clearly got too much time on your hands or never sleep?

3. Stop following brands on Facebook.

I had an incredible amount of pages “Liked” on Facebook and my feed was just full of noise. I’m slowly going off the idea of using Facebook for anything more than keeping in touch with friends who I don’t see every day. What happened to ‘real’ conversation anyway?

4. Start saying no to impromptu meetings.

Constant interruptions are a distraction. It takes time to focus once the seconds, minutes and hours of that meeting are over, where opinion takes over clarity.

5. Read a book on the commute home.

It’s very easy for me to spend the entire bus journey home aimlessly browsing stuff on the internet. I cut this out over the last two days and managed to finish a book.

6. Say no to things that aren’t inside a priority list.

If you’re forever saying yes then it’s likely that you’re spreading yourself thin. The thinner you spread yourself, the more you have to do and I find that I can’t focus and deliver my best work if I am surrounded by non-essential tasks.

7. Delete unused apps from your phone.

The number of apps on my phone means nothing. I’m a firm believer that a utility app is one that actually helps me.

How many apps do you really use? Why do you have so many on your phone? Endless screens of apps doesn’t show anything but a collection of things you don’t use. Clutter doesn’t help anyone.

8. Start going to bed earlier.

We need sleep. I need sleep. Staying up late, working on a multitude of things doesn’t necessarily mean you are being more productive. I’ve always been quite in going to bed, but I’ve made sure I’ve been in bed before 11.30 three nights this week and it’s made a considerable difference to my productivity this week.

9. Give yourself more time to relax.

All of the above give me more time to do less. More time to do less things that are more important. More time to actually spend more time doing the things I feel are essential. That’s pretty simple really!

10. Read the Essentialism book.

I can highly recommend the purchase. It’s an easy and refreshing read. Find out more.


I’m in no way finished with this list and it’s not as easy as just following a list, but I think these simple changes go a long way to getting into the mindset.


I’m a UX Consultant in London – get in touch about your next big idea.