Struggling with your business, fitting in wood turning, family pressures and the like? Want to know the secret to making it all work out? So did I. The One Thing, will give you the secret to finding that focus and creating a success in your life. What will this book do? It will help you focus.
Book Review – The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
When I first read the title I thought “Yeah right. Focus on one thing to the exclusion of all others and that makes success? No way.” But I was unhappy with what I was doing and needed to change something. This book had been endorsed by several bloggers that I follow. So I thought it can’t hurt.
As I read The One Thing it nailed my misconceptions, which was a good thing. Then I found out that it wasn’t one thing it was six or seven things. Well, it is one thing that is applied to six or seven different areas of your life. Let’s see if I can explain it. The big focus is on getting an answer to the question: “What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
You ask this question for the main areas of your life. This might include finances, spiritual life, physical health, personal life, key relationships, job, or business. First I want to share some of my misconceptions that would limit the benefit of The One Thing.
The main misconception for me is that everything matters equally. In my life this was represented by my to-do list. It had everything from improving my website to taking out the garbage. It was overwhelming and long. Some people improve the list by categorizing items into A, B, and C. The idea is to start doing A items first then with the remaining time move on to B then finally C items. (I might never take out the garbage!) However using The One Thing question focuses on the most important item that has to be done and done in such a way that other items become easier or unnecessary. That is, what is your most important A item on your to-do list?
Now when you are employed you would have a to-do list at work and you would focus on it exclusively while at work. When you are working for yourself and from your home it becomes a bit more complicated. In The One Thing they recommend structuring your time so that you are focused on each area of your life as appropriate. So if I am focusing on my business then improving my SEO on my website would be my one thing. If I am focusing on my key relationships then taking out the garbage could be my one thing. Does this make sense? Multitasking is also shot down as a non-option. It really doesn’t work.
Another lie is the myth of a balanced life. The One Thing suggests that at any given time different areas of your life will receive more focus than other areas. Hopefully over long periods of time you manage to have a satisfactory balance in all the areas but sometimes for a day, week or longer, finances might take priority over physical health, as an example.
Moving on to The One Thing
The challenge that I am still struggling with is asking the one question with a long time horizon. I’m going to keep working on that one. I find it difficult to set long term goals or even general directions for my life. However, I can see that once I have identified either the specific goals or general direction that I want to go in The One Thing will help me stay focused in my activities. There will be purpose to my actions.
My actions need to be guided by my purpose so that The One Thing for right now fits with my goal for the day/week/month/year/long-term. This takes training to think from the present to future and how to make the connections work. Yes, the book does suggest you ask The One Thing question frequently during the day.
To implement this idea, do your One Thing during your most productive time. Morning or evening or whenever, it’s your choice. You want your most focused and energized time centered on your long-term goals.
There are lots of practical suggestions on how to implement and work with The One Thing question. I might not remember it on a daily basis but when I do it helps me to focus on what is important, how I can make things easier or even unnecessary, and brings me closer to my goals. The same can work for you.