3 Big Ideas From The ONE Thing By Gary Keller

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The ONE Thing is a book about focus and productivity

It’s about systematically finding what’s most important and focusing on it.

And it goes beyond just personal daily productivity and shows you how to apply the methodology to other areas of your life.

The ONE Thing is broken up into three main parts.

The first dispels the myths that are killing your productivity.

The second gives you a framework for finding what you need to be working on and ensuring you stay focused on it.

And the third shows you how to use The ONE Thing in other areas of your life.

I really love this book.

Everything from the layout to the graphics to the content.

And it’s written in a way that makes it super easy to read.

This book is full of valuable takeaways but there are three that stick out the most to me.

1. The Focusing Question

The focusing question is the foundation of the entire book.

It’s a question you ask yourself that helps you cut through all the noise and distractions and figure out where your focus should be.

It goes like this, “what’s the ONE thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” 

The focusing question helps you narrow your focus.

There are a million things you can be doing at any given moment that makes it feel like your making progress toward your goal.

But almost all of those things are a distraction.

The focusing question helps you cut through everything and get to the heart of what’s actually important.

It helps you figure out the ONE thing you should be prioritizing in order to make progress.

For maximum focus and productivity, use the focusing question as much as you can.

Use it to help you with big picture questions like, “where am I going in life?” or “what is my ultimate goal?”

And use it for close up stuff like, “what should I work on this morning? or “what project should I tackle next?”

When you consistently use the focusing question, you can be sure you’re working on your highest value work possible at that moment. 

2. Goal Setting To The Now

Lots of people set goals. Most never reach them.

And it’s typically because once we set the goal, it’s hard to figure out how to plan for achieving it.

Goal setting to the now helps you take a future goal and turn it into actions you can do today.

Goal setting to the now Is like one of those Russian nesting dolls.

Where a large doll has a smaller doll inside it, which has a smaller doll inside that one etc.

You basically do the same thing with your goal setting by asking the focusing question across a timeline to figure out what you should be working on to stay on track.

Let’s say your ONE thing goal is to have a business that generates $1 million a year.

What’s the ONE thing you can do in the next 3 years to make sure you achieve that goal?

Then you ask the focusing question again to find the ONE thing you can do in the next year to be on track to achieve that 3 year goal.

Then repeat the process with a monthly, weekly and daily goal.

Finally, what do you need to be doing right this second, to achieve your daily goal?

To achieve any distant goal, you have to work backwards.

So start with the end goal in mind.

Then keep asking the focusing question until you know what you need to be focused on right now to make progress toward that goal.

3. Time Blocking

It’s not enough to just have a goal and a plan for how to achieve it. You also have to dedicate time to doing the work.

This is where time blocking comes in.

Time blocking is where you take your calendar and literally block off time to focus on a single thing and nothing else.

Why is time blocking necessary?

Because we live in a world full of distractions.

Coworkers, meetings, emails, less important projects.

They all take your time and energy away from pursuing your ONE thing.

And if you can’t insulate yourself from those distractions and focus on your work, it’s really hard to make progress toward your goal.

So start using time blocks when you work.

Use the focusing question to figure out your ONE thing.

Then block time out in your calendar to work on nothing but that.

And once you have that time blocked in your calendar, you have to protect it at all cost.

Find somewhere you wont be disrupted.

Make sure you have everything you need.

Get rid of any distractions and focus on the task at hand, your ONE thing, for the time you gave yourself.

When you block your time, and protect it, you can get so much more done in a lot less time.

And when you do it consistently your results accumulate exponentially.

The ONE Thing Is A Must Read

If you want clarity, focus and improved productivity, The ONE Thing delivers.

It’s a book that I keep returning to year after year to remind me of these important lessons.

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