Do Less But Better with Greg and Anna McKeown

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • An Introduction to Greg and Anna McKeown (0:30)
  • Random Facts About Each Other (1:07)
  • Testimonials from Book Club Members (7:43)
  • You Can Do Less, But Better (10:42)
  • Set Up Buffers (14:15)
  • What’s Essential Now? (21:21)
  • Essentialists Work from the Inside-out (25:12)
  • Find Five Things a Day (31:58)
  • Positivity and Negativity Cannot be Simultaneous (34:27)
  • Find Greg Online (36:11)

I am SO excited to share my conversation with bestselling author Greg and his wife Anna McKeown with you! Greg McKeown is the New York Times Bestselling author of the book “Essentialism.” He’s also a public speaker, leadership and business strategist. We discussed the drawbacks of perfectionism, essential habits, and gratitude. So much goodness in this episode!

An Introduction to Greg and Anna McKeown

Greg McKeown is an author, public speaker, leadership and business strategist, and New York Times Bestselling Author. In 2012, The World Economic Forum inducted McKeown into the Forum of Young Global Leaders. His book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, is probably the only book I’ve read three times!

Random Facts About Each Other

Greg is the CEO of McKeown Inc., and he teaches a course at Stanford. Anna affirms that Greg is a great dad and that everything in the book was tested on their family. Greg says that Anna is even better at practicing essentialism than he is. During their first year of marriage, Anna and Greg traveled as part of the national tour of Beauty and the Beast because of Anna’s position in the musical.

Testimonials from Book Club Members

Rebecca said, “I’ve read other books in the manner of doing less, but I’ve often felt shamed. This book isn’t a guilt trip!”

Lindy said, “I’m currently a terrible essentialist, but that’s okay… I am a perpetually busy person. I want to not be able to relate to this. #GOALS”

Maren said, “This has to be a daily process that you have to be aware of in order to be an essentialist.”

You Can Do Less, But Better

You don’t need to do things the way you or anyone else thinks they have to be done. This is an ongoing process where you adapt to all of your new realities. Continuously ask yourself: “What’s important now?”

Start with one thing and start small. If you can get rid of one shirt rather than cleaning out your whole closet, do that. Greg suggests picking up the book Goodbye Things. One of the rules in this book is to discard one thing NOW. It’s so simple, but you can transform your life by getting rid of something each time you have this thought. The whole final ¼ of Greg’s book is designed to help readers make this easier.

Set Up Buffers

Setting up rules for yourself in an excel sheet, like making sure you leave the office and stop working at a certain time each day, can prevent your work life from flowing into your personal life. Greg now announces to Anna what time he comes out of the office. This holds him accountable to his family. Clear lines, endpoints, and boundaries help you invest in the people in your life.

Anna and Greg had a school routine with their kids, but this routine needed to shift after school went back into session. Anna set up an orientation over the course of a week to ease their kids into the new routine.

Essentialism is an ongoing process of orientation, like in these examples.

What’s Essential Now?

In the paperback copy of his book, Greg might be adding a chapter about what is essential now. The COVID-19 changes haven’t been normal. We needed to change all of our routines all at once. We weren’t designed to digitize everything. Parents were suddenly homeschooling. What is essential now is different than what was essential before.

Greg has a new podcast, the Essentialism podcast, where he helps people recognize where their focuses should lie now. It is not even remotely selfish to look after yourself, especially in these times.

Essentialists Work from the Inside-out

Nonessentialists try to drink the ocean. You’ll never be done with out-there stuff. By the time you start reconnecting with the people in your life, there’s nothing left for them. You aren’t present mentally because you’re exhausted.

Essentialists start from the inside-out to protect the asset first. that way they bring their best to every element of life. Put on your armor and fill your cup before trying to give it all to everything else, first. Anna has a self-care checklist to ensure that she isn’t letting herself slide out of her positive habits.

Make a checklist of the habits that bring you pleasure every day and print it out so that you actually remember to do them.

Find Five Things a Day

When Anna had to work with a particularly challenging person every day, she made it a habit to think of five things that she could honor about them. It was hard in the beginning, but she started small. She articulated these kindnesses to the person when she could and it helped the two to build a friendship.

Positivity and Negativity Cannot be Simultaneous

Greg reminds us that the moment you are grateful, you shift into a positive state. The way we deal with our inner mean girl is often intergenerationally developed. If you focus on what you lack, you will lose what you have. If you focus on what you have, you will gain what you lack.

Resources from this episode:

Follow Greg on Instagram

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Follow Kelli on Instagram

Join the Fear-LESS Girl Book Club Here


Thank you so much for listening to this episode! I’m honored and excited to be on this journey toward personal growth and greater confidence with you. If you enjoyed the podcast, I’d love to ask you to take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star reviews on your podcast app, that way we can help even more women to join us as we #dropkickyourinnermenagirl together.

P.S. If you’re looking for ways to increase your confidence and silence your inner mean-girl, download by free workbook, 6 Ways to Dropkick Your Inner Mean Girl.





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