Essential vs. Trivial - Travis Robertson

Essential vs. Trivial

Being busy is not the goal. Being EFFECTIVE is the goal. But in order to transition from being busy to being effective we need to understand how to differentiate between the trivial and the essential. Travis Robertson shares his thoughts on what it means to be busy and how “busy” can impact your business and your life.

Essential vs. Trivial

Too many people are wearing their busyness as a badge of honor. It’ as if the less sleep they get the more we should praise them. Our lives need to have a little bit of margin in them. Instead of working as hard as we can for as fast as we can or as quickly paced as we can, what we really need to be doing is finding that margin in our lives. Instead of trading what’s essential for what’s trivial, focus on just those few things that are essential.


There’s a great book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown where he talks about this idea. He says “so many people are making millimeter progress in thousands of areas of life.” How many of us is that the case for? How many of you are making millimeter progress in hundreds or even thousands of areas of life rather than saying “in a few essential areas, I’m making monumental strides and I’m making a big impact and a big difference.” It’s not about how many things we get done, it’s how important the things are that we get done. Rather than trying to figure out how to cram more into your life, how do you get busier, how do you sleep less, how do you do more in less time, you need to figure out is how to less but do it more impact-fully.

Be Effective

How do you do bigger things with your life? It’s by focusing on doing fewer things but doing them more effectively. It’s not about how much you get done, it’s about what you are doing. Take drag racing, for instance. As the race cars come out, they’ve got a quarter mile track to see how fast they can get to the other end. However, when they first come out, they do is they do what’s called “burning rubber”. They’ve got to heat those tires up and during that process they make a ton of noise, right? The wheels spin really fast, there’s smoke going everywhere. There’s a lot of noise, the engine is revving, but they are not moving anywhere. It’s fun and it’s great to make a lot of noise sometimes but at some point you’ve got to get down the track. They don’t get first place for how much noise they can make, they get first place for getting to the other side, for actually making progress. Too many of us are spinning our wheels and we’re making a lot of noise, but how much progress are we actually making? What are we actually getting? Where are we actually going?


Look at the last 12 months of your life. What did you accomplish? What great things did you actually achieve? What big goals did you set for yourself and what did you actually accomplish? Maybe the better question is what didn’t you accomplish? What big goals did you have that you didn’t make any progress on? Or what big goals did you have for your life or your business or for your health or your family or for your relationships that at the end of this last 12 months you’re looking at it and going “was it just trivial or was it stuff that’s actually essential because I accomplished things that mattered.”

Too many people settle for average, they settle for normal, they settle for being busy, but not effective. Don’t be busy just for the sake of being busy. Don’t work a lot to just say that you work a lot. Or lose sleep just so that you can go “I only got 4 hours of sleep each night over the last week” (as if we should all stand back and applaud you). That’s not the goal of life. The goal of life is not to be so busy that we don’t have time for what’s really important. The goal of life isn’t to see how busy we can be, but to look at what it is we were created for.

Why are you here?

Discover your purpose in life. Are you making a dent in that mission, in that cause, in that journey, in that dream? What is it that you’re here for and are you making progress? That’s what you need to be looking at. It’s not how busy we can be, but how effective we can be at what we’re here to actually do. Inside of each and every one of us is a dream, is a passion, is something that you want to do. The truth is, you can’t have it all. You’ve got to make sacrifices, you’ve got to make choices, and that’s okay. Make the sacrifices, make the choices and focus on just those few things that are essential and stop trading the essential for the trivial. Don’t settle for anything less.

Leave a Reply 3 comments

Sharon Heading Reply

didn’t meet my ambitious financial goals ( did well not complaining) but because of the flexibility of my work I had time to spend with my two new grandbabies and my adoreable granddaughter. Suddenly year looking more awesome than I thought!
Thanks for teh appropriate measure of success!

    Travis Robertson Reply

    Thank you for sharing that, Sharon! That is really the right perspective to have on the situation. GCI is great. But Grand Child Investment (GCI) is more important. 😉

4 Questions to Rev Up Your Goal Setting - Travis Robertson Reply

[…] if you look at this and say “one of the changes I want to make is I want to focus on doing fewer things but doing them more effectively.” How are you going to filter out the essentials from the non-essentials? Write down your […]

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