Lesson #73: One Thing to tackle overwhelm and live your best life
What’s the ONE Thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary? — Gary Keller
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.
What’s the ONE Thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
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.
It shows you how big your life can be and just how small you must go to get there. It’s both a map for the big picture and a compass for your smallest next move.
Whether you seek answers big or small, asking the Focusing Question is the ultimate success habit for your life.
Most people struggle to comprehend how many things don’t need to be done, if they would just start by doing the right thing.
Your big ONE Thing is your purpose and your small ONE Thing is the priority you take action on to achieve it.
when stuff pops into your head, just write it down on a task list and get back to what you’re supposed to be doing. In other words, do a brain dump.
In the end, the best way to succeed big is to go small. And when you go small, you say no — a lot.