The One Thing [book review]

I thought it might be helpful to share some insights from some of my favorite books and current reads. The One Thing by Gary Keller is for those of us who are a little too good at setting goals and being productive. As a serial ‘starter,’ I love this book! If you excel at getting things done to the point that you end up working on too many goals and not accomplishing any of them, The One Thing concepts will help you to narrow your focus and get more results on the things that matter most. Here are my key take always:

1. Use subtraction not addition to maximize results. As you remove everything from your to-do list but the main thing, you will be surprised how much easier it is to finally get finished. One thing at a time.

2. The Domino Effect is a geometric progression that starts out too slow to notice until it’s moving too fast to stop. You simply need to identify and knock over the lead domino, or the first critical step, and the process is set in motion.

3. Success leaves clues.  We know a lot about how to succeed from past experience – our own and others.

I may do another post on this because there was just way too much for one sitting! Here are some of the clues.

Lies That Prevent Us From Real Progress

  1. Everything matters equally. Equality is a lie. Activity is often unrelated to productivity and busyness rarely takes care of business. Replace your to-do list with a success list (think outcomes). The 80/20 principle says that 80% of results come from 20% of efforts.
  2. Multi-tasking is not real. It is actually switching between tasks. Your brain can’t focus on more that one thing at a time.
  3. A disciplined life. NOT! We all know super disciplined people who end up stuck in a loop of rules and shoulds.  Habits work not discipline. When the hard stuff becomes a habit then becomes easy – and frees you up to do more important and NEW things.
  4. Willpower is always on will-call. Not really. It’s more like a battery, limited but can be recharged.  Memory, solving problems and moderating impulse control all require using your will power. If you use it all up on stuff that doesn’t matter, you will never get to the stuff that does!
  5. A balanced life. Anyone else been on this fantasy cruise, or just me?  If you try to attend to all things, then everything gets short-changed.  Try this:  Work-life counterbalancing between work and life.  And balancing within each area.  Personal life requires tight counterbalancing.  Family commitments do not wait.  For professional life, go long. You need to be ok to be out of balance (things left undone) for long periods as you work through big projects.
  6. Big is bad.  Wait, what?  Go big.  Think big.  Don’t order from the same menu.  Different is good.  Act bold.  Don’t fear failure, but realize failure is a necessary step to success.  If you’ve never failed, then you never tried.

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results“People don’t decide their futures, they decide their habits and habits determine their future.”

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