“Essential” certainly has been a trending word in the last two years. It’s a word worth contemplating because it’s important. During quarantine, the world seemed to label who was essential based on the job they performed. Activities suddenly fell on a continuum, from most to least essential. But long before these trending labels (in 2014), Greg McKeown wrote the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Contrary to the title, this is NOT a book about minimalism. It’s the perfect book for school librarians looking for a reboot.
Think about a typical school day. How many tasks do you handle on a given day? Is there an order to the task list? Is it difficult to focus on one task at a time or is multitasking your middle name? Do you have a difficult time saying no? Do you often wonder how the word priority became plural?
If we underinvest in ourselves, and by that I mean our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution. –Greg McKeown, Essentialism, p. 94
Allow me to overuse the word “essential” just one more time. Because it’s important.
It is essential that you make time to reboot this summer. It’s an incredible form of professional development.
So, if you haven’t read McKeown’s Essentialism, now is the time. Allow him to help you:
- Develop a plan or short-term and long-term success in your life and your library
- Construct helpful answers for saying no
- Create more structure to your time on and off the clock so you have time for what is truly important
- Analyze elements of your position to provide additional impact where it’s needed most
- Streamline decision-making processes
- Clean up habits you long wish could be undone and form new, productive habits
Likewise, in life, disciplined editing can help add to your level of contribution. It increases your ability to focus on and give energy to the things that really matter. It lends the most meaningful relationships and activities more space to blossom. –Greg McKeown, Essentialism, p. 157
More than likely, you just expended an incredible amount of mental, physical, and emotional energy on pulling off this school year, making in-flight adjustments far too often. That stress can add up. Make time to just coast. And if you need help, let Essentialism be your pilot.
McKeown, Greg. 2014. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. London: Virgin Books.
Author: Renee Bowman
Renee Bowman is the co-creator of the blog for parents and caregivers Raising Real Readers. She’s twice been a teacher of the year for her district and was awarded the 2019 Samuel F. Hulbert Educator of the Year at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She will complete her school librarian certification from IUPUI in May. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @RaisingRealReaders or on Twitter @RaisingReal.