“The Lazy Genius Way”: 3 Takeaways for Stressed Moms (Book Review)

A few weeks ago, I saw someone on Instagram mention the book “The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t, and Get Stuff Done” by Kendra Adachi.

Later that same day, another person mentioned the book.

I took that as a sign that I probably should check it out. I stopped what I was doing, hopped over to my Libby app, and checked out the digital version from my local library and sent it over to my Kindle and began reading.

Right out the gate, I knew this book wasn’t going to be your standard productivity self-help book with tips on how to be efficient with your time. Kendra, the author, a mom of 3, dives right in and explains what it means to be a lazy genius:

Be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t … to you.”

page 7, “The Lazy Genius Way,” Kendra Adachi

This philosophy closely resembles something that I’d embraced several years back after reading the book “The Effortless Everyday” by Katie Lee. In that book, Katie helped me look at my day-to-day life from a new perspective and she gave me permission to ditch the things that were considered “busy work.”

However, Kendra’s perspective of life more closely resembles my own (and yours) – a life filled with children and all the things that come along with. The book had me nodding my head along and she described scenes from her life that caused her frustration.

She breaks down her book based on her Lazy Genius principles, which are as follows:

  1. Decide once
  2. Start small
  3. Ask the magic question
  4. Live in the season
  5. Build the right routines
  6. Set house rules
  7. Put everything in its place
  8. Let people in
  9. Batch it
  10. Essentialize
  11. Go in the right order
  12. Schedule rest
  13. Be kind to yourself

While I 100% agree with all of her principles, in today’s blog post, I wanted to zero in on the three principles that I feel are the most important for moms who are feeling stressed out: #4, #10, and #12. I’ll summarize my takeaways from each principle and afterward, I’ll share my thoughts about the overarching theme that pretty much underlines all these lazy genius principles.

The Lazy Genius Principle #4: Live in the Season

Living in the season is a principle that basically encourages you to take into account what’s happening in your life right now and using that as a basis for figuring out how you should live life today.

I found this concept to be profound in the sense that I hadn’t heard anyone tell me that I should schedule my life around what makes sense for the season I’m living.

I felt like I was sorta doing that already, but just having Kendra point it out to me and flat out say don’t “cram your season into another season’s box” really felt freeing. It was like she gave me a permission slip to do life how it best fits for right now, in this moment in time.

If you’re in a stressful season of life, now probably isn’t the best time to tackle extensive home renovation projects. Always take your current season into consideration before adding more things to your plate.

From a mental health standpoint, if this season is stressful, you might find extra self-care activities to be vital to helping you stay sane. However, during a season where you aren’t feeling quite as emotionally strained, you could probably get away with less of those activities. That’s how I’ve been adjusting my seasons – based on how I mentally feel. I’m more willing to take on more things when I’m in a good headspace versus when I’m not feeling so great.

Kendra says,

You don’t have to be afraid of stress or sadness. You don’t have to panic when things fall out of order. You don’t have to run away from a season of life that seems to require more than you have to give.”

page 64, “The Lazy Genius Way,” Kendra Adachi

Give yourself permission, mama, to do the same as Kendra and live life according to your season.

The Lazy Genius Principle #10: Essentialize

To essentialize, as Kendra Adachi defines it, means to eliminate distraction from what matters.

She says that when you’re trying to decide what’s essential (for a room, a habit, or a relationship), consider:

  1. Name what really matters.
  2. Remove what’s in the way.
  3. Keep only the essentials.

Kendra reminds us that “true fulfillment comes from subtraction, from removing everything that distracts you from what matters and leaving only what’s essential.” (pg 148)

Far too often, we tend to get sucked into comparing our lives to those around us and we see other moms buying that thing or organizing their pantry in rainbow order. While that might be neat for them, before you run out and buy that thing or rearrange your pantry, pause and think about how it applies to your own life.

Does it matter to you? Or is it just noise?

Kendra reminds us that the more often we pause and really figure out what’s essential and what really matters in our life, “the less noise you have to manage and the more energy you have for a fulfilling life.” (pg 147)

When I’m stressed, I scale things back to only what’s essential and what really matters to me at that moment. I think remembering this principle when we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed can really be extremely helpful to get us to focus on what truly matters.

The Lazy Genius Principle #12: Schedule Rest

As a highly sensitive person, rest is vital for helping me recharge after too much stimulation. And life with kids can be extremely stimulating.

That also means it’s challenging to find ways to rest, especially on a regular basis. Kendra encourages us to find small ways to rest daily, defining self-care as something that “should be a regular practice of doing what makes you feel like yourself.”

I know the importance of daily rest and my daily yoga practice has become a sort of ritual of resetting and resting. But Kendra makes a great point in this section of the book when she points out that “your daily thing doesn’t have to be your favorite thing.” Just because your favorite way of resting is yoga, for example, that doesn’t mean you should set out to do it every day. “Especially,” she says, “when it’s tough to find time for it on a daily basis.”

Instead, she encourages us to find a small way to practice self-care daily.

“The Lazy Genius Way” Overall Theme: Name What Matters

I took a lot of notes for this book, and the overall theme that emerged when I read them back was to “name what matters.” It’s really at the root of all Kendra’s principles.

Imagine if we could all embrace this concept of naming what matters at the start of everything we do. Before we make decisions. Before we begin our chores. Before we attempt to reorganize the pantry (can you tell what house project I’m dying to tackle).

If we paused and thought about what matters, life would just be so much less stressful. We would argue less (pick our battles). Our days would flow better as we weed out tasks that are just noise. And, we’d take better care of ourselves.

What were your takeaways?

If you’ve read “The Lazy Genius Way,” I’ve love to hear what your biggest takeaways were. What principles resonated with you most? Do you now practice naming what matters? Share your thoughts in the comments below or send me a DM on Instagram. I’ve love to hear from you!

*This post includes an affiliate link to Amazon in case you’d like to get yourself a copy of “The Lazy Genius Way” (which I definitely recommend). If you purchase through my link, Amazon sends me a small referral and it doesn’t affect your price. Shopping through my links helps support this blog, so thank you in advance for your support!

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