If you struggle with focusing on and reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself, this book is for you.
There are lots of books available that profess that they’re going to teach you how to do one thing or another. But goal setting and focusing on those goals can sometimes be a challenge.
Do you struggle with focusing on and reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself?
If so, The One Thing is for you.
In their book The One Thing — The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan suggest that there are some specific habits and behaviors that differentiate those who succeed from those who do not.
“It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time, who advance in this world.” — Og Mandino
The book’s focus is on the fact that the ability to focus on one thing at a time, leads to the biggest successes.
For example, focusing on just one product or one service is where most extraordinarily successful companies get their start. Immediately, we think of giants like Starbucks, KFC, etc.
But it can also be said that focusing on one thing sometimes ‘accidentally’ creates something else, that is even more successful.
Take Star Wars for instance. The movies are huge. But sales of movie merchandise more than doubles box office sales totals for the films.
But the movies had to come first.
I’ve probably read more than my fair share of books trying to teach me how to focus. In my entrepreneurial endeavors, I was all over the map. I mean, one morning I was building an ecommerce store, then I would put that on hold, so that I could start a new blog that same afternoon.
I was trying to do everything at once, because for some reason, I thought I could get more done faster that way. The same was true of working on various components of the same project at the same time.
Of course, that wasn’t (and isn’t) the case.
What happened instead, was that I started a dozen projects, and didn’t get any of them finished. Which made me frustrated as to why they were taking so long to complete.
I thought that to be able to have more than one goal, I’d have to work on them all at the same time.
Because I wanted more productivity from my work, and more income for a better lifestyle. I wanted to get more done in as little time possible.
According to Keller and Papasan, these are 4 Ways to Focus And Achieve Your Goals;
Get Rid of To-Do Lists
To-do lists are simply lists of things that we think we need to do, in no order of priority. So the most important things, often don’t get done first.
Instead of creating ‘to do’ lists, Keller and Papasan say to create a success list, of tasks that are listed by priority. It is a list that is created with purpose, and centered around getting the best results.
“The things that are most important, don’t always scream the loudest.” Bob Hawke
Create the Success List
To do lists tend to be never ending, where the success list is short. The To Do list tends to drag you all over the map, and the success list focuses on completing one specific goal.
Create a list of things that need to be done first, in order of priority.
The authors write,
“If a list isn’t built around success, then that’s not where it takes you. If your to-do list contains everything, then it’s probably taking you everywhere but where you really want to go.”
I felt that.
No More Multitasking
“To do two things at once is to do neither.” — Pubilius Syrus
In 2009, Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford University set out to find out how well multitaskers multitasked.
He and his team of researchers gave 262 students questionnaires to determine how often they multitasked. They then divided the students into two groups of high and low multitaskers, and began with the presumption that those who multitasked more often would perform better. That was not the case.
The high multitaskers were outperformed on every measure. According to Nass “Multitaskers were just lousy at everything.”
“Multitasking is a lie,” say the authors. “It’s a lie because nearly everyone accepts it as an acceptable thing to do.”
They continue to illustrate that “More than six million webpages offer answers on how to do it, and career websites list “multitasking” as a skill for employers to target and for prospective hires to list as a strength”.
“Multitasking is neither efficient nor effective. In the world of results it will fail you every time.” — Gary Keller, Jay Papasan
Whoa. No more multitasking for me.
The common belief is that successful people are disciplined. According to Keller and Papasan, that’s not true.
The key is to manage and direct the discipline that we already have.
We don’t need more discipline, but to have enough discipline to do that one thing until it becomes habit.
According to the authors, “the trick is to choose the right habit, and bring just enough discipline to establish it”.
Do the most important thing regularly, until it becomes a habit. If you decide early on what the most important thing is in every task, reaching your goals becomes a much simpler undertaking.
Now over to you! Think multitasking is keeping you from actually getting things done? Shoot me a comment below!