It’s easy to let ourselves get spread too thin.

We have no free time. We’re not getting enough sleep. We’re always on the move. We can’t wait for the weekend, but there’s so much to do around the house that we never get a chance to relax.

We want to pull back. We want to say no. We want to let go of the activities and commitments that we never should have started, but we can’t. Society has taught us well: we have to do it all, and then some.

Think of Essentialism as a giant permission slip: it’s not just okay to cut back on what we’re doing, it’s, well, essential for our success.

The recurring theme of the book is “less but better”. We do less, but what we do, we do it better.

Imagine being able to do your best work, being fully present with your family, and making a meaningful contribution to your community.

We can’t do it when we’re spread too thin.

Most of the book looks at different ways the “I can do it all” mentality affects our lives and gives us the tools we need to make adjustments in our lives. McKeown flat-out-says that Essentialism isn’t something else to do, but a way of living that lets you focus on the things that matter most to you.

If you just want to knuckle down and do it all, keep looking. This isn’t the book for you.

But if you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to cut back, it’s a great read. You’ll come away with the inspiration you need to regroup, retrench, and refocus yourself on what you want to be the essential aspects of your life.