The One Thing
best thoughts from this best seller
The ONE Thing by Keller & Papasan is about prioritization and focus. Spreading yourself too thin is like chasing two rabbits at once … you won’t catch either one.
The First Thing To Focus On top
- How do you know what the first thing to focus on should be? p.21
- In the beginning The One Thing is usually not apparent. p.24
- Starting and continually thinking a certain way repeatedly over time, results in the creation of a habit, and the Focusing Question is the strongest habit you can have to achieve extraordinary results.
- So, a good thing to focus on first is to “Make asking the Focusing Question a habit.” Start believing in it and ask it constantly every day. p.24
The Focusing Question top
The Focusing Question consists of three parts:
- What’s the one thing I can do (right now, today, this week)
- which will make
- everything else easier or unnecessary.
I.e., what is the 1st domino after which the next domino will fall.
Just Do It, now top
Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t Wait … Just get started right here & now with whatever you have … Just Do It.
General George Patton said “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.” The discipline of planning is indispensable but “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” So, make good plans to prepare yourself (per the 7Ps) and to help clarify the priorities, assumptions, options and priorities. But, realize that plans will have to be changed since there is no way to perfectly forecast and control the future.
This is a good analogy to help you avoid over planning. At night headlights show only the next thing to be done. When planning ahead in life the main two things to consider are (1) am I headed in the right direction and (2) what’s next. Keep aware of what road you are on, but don’t waste attention worrying about the twists and turns ahead which you really can’t see yet. As Thomas Carlyle said “The main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
The Domino Effect top
Study and learn which domino (i.e., action step) to start with and then line up the rest of the dominos in proper order. “This calls for prioritizing, finding that lead domino, and whacking away at it until it falls. This defines the process of extraordinary success: It is sequential, and not simultaneous.” p.3
Understanding this domino effect helps you decide the first thing to immediately and fully focus on (what’s next) … and then to move to the next step and the next … which eventually leads over time to the biggest most important thing (long term vision). p.3
Link Back top
What we accomplish presently defines what we will accomplish next. p.32 However, because of human nature the further away a potential reward is in the future the smaller the immediate motivation to achieve it. Therefore, mentally link back to your ultimate vision to connect with its motivation. I.e., mentally step back through the sequence from the one thing you are going to do next to the the ultimate vision goal and the motivation it will provide.
Manage Limited Will Power top
Here are some tips for managing our very limited will power:
- Block out morning time: We have the most will power in the morning so schedule first things first, in the morning.
- In practice, set aside 15 minutes to deal with regular morning activities, and then proceed to work on your One Thing. Block in a minimum of 4 hours per day if you can.
- To help motivate yourself keep a scoreboard that tracks your hours of deep work in a prominent place. E.g., 2 hours blocked in every morning.
- Recreate : Without recreation, which takes time, you will burn out and run out of will power and creativity. Schedule in plenty of time for recreation and taking care of your body. This is a top priority.
- Good habits: A few right habits can free us from monitoring just about everything else. The world champion swimmer Michael Phelps, for example, cultivated just one discipline — to swim every day for six hours. So, identify a key point of discipline and develop a habit.
- Distraction. During work hours earn to say no to everything not related to your One Thing. Distraction is the destroyer of deep work. Create environments that cut distraction during your key blocks of time to a minimum.
A Little More top
- Expect a mess in your work life bucket: If you do the most important things in your business you can expect that there will be many less important things that are messy.
- Balance your personal life bucket: Try to balance your personal activities such as exercise time and socializing.
- “We will know our purpose when we ask the ‘Big Why.’ It’s why you are excited with your life.” Having a great Purpose is the single best route to perseverance and conviction. p.30
- Purpose doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s the ONE thing you want your life to be about more than anything else. p.31
Related Links top
- Reference: Summary: The One Thing by Keller & Papasan.
Summary by Readtrepreneur Publishing. The page numbers shown above are from the Kindle version of this summary.
- The One Thing Book and Blog on the benefits of focusing on only one thing at a time.
- Excellent quotes from The One Thing.
- First Things First One Thing At A Time + PMA and more
- Summaries of Deep Work by Cal Newport: Summary 1, Summary 2
- Return to Best Thought Management Ideas
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