The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

I recently finishing reading the book, “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. As part of my book group I hosted a live call with Jay Papasan and members of the group last week. This book was very insightful. I judge books in this genre based on asking myself, “How much, if at all, will this book change my daily behavior?” Based on that criteria I would have to rank this book very high as it will change my behavior.

The premise of The ONE Thing is that at any given point in time, there is only one thing that you should focus on doing. Your one thing is the thing that moves you the closest or the fastest toward your goal.

Around that theme the authors talk about the major lies that exist in the “productivity” community. These include the idea of multitasking, being disciplined, a balanced life, and others. The core of the book focuses around what the authors call the “Focusing Question,” which is, What is the One thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? The books also talks about 3 commitments to productivity, 4 Thieves of productivity and other helpful insights around time management and time blocking.

I loved this book. Its concept is obviously simple and yet very important. Its easy to apply immediately and it can product dramatic results fast. One of my favorite ideas from the book is the idea that we must time block our one thing. That means putting it on our schedule and protecting that time. If we lose some of that time (which is inevitable) from distractions or emergencies we must replace it.

Another great insight I took from the book is the idea of aligning the “right now moment” with our long term goals and plans. If my goal is to help people become greater producers then I need to ask, “What is the ONE thing I can do in the next five years to help people become greater producers?” Then ask, what is the one thing I can do this year to achieve my five year goal to help people become greater producers?” Then ask, what is the one thing I can do this month…. and then this week, and then right now; to help me achieve that goal? The questions are stacked and this of course implies that we all have a lot of ONE things but at any given time or moment we really do only have one thing.

I also love the chapter about will power. It reminded me of the sections about will power from “The Power of Habit” that I read last year and it was a good reminder about how critical it is to do the most important things when you have a full reserve of will power and to build habits out of the important things that currently require a lot of will power to accomplish.

And in case you are wondering why writing this blog post right now is my ONE thing… the answer is this. My ONE thing is to bring out the inner producer in all of us, and right now the ONE thing I can do is to share this book with the greatest number of people within my circle of influence as possible. Enjoy the book.

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