Lesson #73: One Thing to tackle overwhelm and live your best life

I’m sitting at my favourite cafe, with my laptop, notebook, notes, phone, kindle and second coffee, waiting for a call to say my car has been serviced and is ready.

It seems my car’s servicing became my ONE Thing for today, in preparation for a roadtrip in two day’s time .. my car that only two weeks ago I thought might have done its final dash after the radiator burst at 440,000 kms. But a new radiator, a new lease on life and an unexpected road trip (for my dad’s funeral), and my car has jumped to the top of my priority list — to keep my car and it’s travellers smoothly sailing.

My pile of notes and open files and browsers represents the clutter I’m wading through as I search for what to focus on next. What is my actual ONE Thing that will really move my life forward (because in truth, the car service has somewhat hijacked my day .. but it isn’t really my ONE Thing in a bigger sense. And in truth, I am searching for my ONE Thing so that I can really feel a sense of things moving forward rather than my days being swept away in minutae.

I read Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing, last year and, as someone prone to distraction and overwhelm, it spoke to me in a big way. We all have lots of things we are trying to do, and it can feel like time goes by with little to show for it. The more efficient, and ultimately satisfying way to move forward is to focus on one thing at a time and finish that.. and then move on to the next thing.

As I write this I’m thinking I need to go and re-read the book, but I’m writing this lesson now anyway, since the message is one I need to remind myself of right now.

Right now that One Thing is writing this lesson. And then it will be setting a clear focus for moving forward.

And now it nighttime and I’m back home with my car parked in the driveway, dinner finished, and the next steps waiting. My One Thing for tonight was to start with a list of all the things I want/need to do and prioritise from there.

I want a bath (to get warm)

I need to pack (starting with a checklist)

And I still want to finish this lesson.


I’ve had my bath, made my checklist, and now it almost midnight and time to finish this lesson so I can go to sleep.

This lesson was meant as a stepping stone .. a sort of reminder of this One Thing concept .. so that I can be getting some traction rather than spinning my wheels in time-sucking clutter.

Different levels of One Thing

The ‘Focusing Question’ (above) can be used to address both the Big Picture as well as the day-to-day.

Being clear on the Big ‘Why’ of your life brings clarity to the day-to-day.

I may come back to this lesson, but since sleep is a priority I need to prioritise more, I will finish, for now, with a few quotes from the book.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Orly Grace

Orly Grace

Orly Grace writes lessons from life to inspire and empower. See her other creations at www.circlesoflife.net