Book:  The One Thing

Author:  Gary Keller & Jay Papasan

Purchase:  PrinteBookAudiobook

Citation:  Keller, G. & Papasan, J. (2012). The one thing : the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results. Austin, Tex: Bard Press.

Three Big Takeaways:

  • Multitasking has become so mainstream, people think it is something that they must do. However, we simply can’t focus on two things at once – our attention bounces back and forth.  People lose 28% of an average workday while multitasking

  • When our energy is spent, our willpower is depleted and we defer to our default choice.  This means that you must do what matters most when your willpower is the highest. Do your most important work early – willpower can be depleted by the end of the day. 

  • Do your ONE thing early in the morning.  Others will get used to your blocked off time and adjust.  Normal business culture can often get in the way of productivity. 

Other Key Ideas:

  • The 80/20 or the “Pareto” principle:  A minority (20%) of your effort leads to a majority (80%) of your results

  • Allow what matters to drive your day - you must learn to say “no” to the other things until your most important work is done

  • At work we get interrupted every 11 minutes and spend 1/3 of the day recovering from interruptions

  • We have 4,000 thoughts a day – which is an average of a thought every 14 seconds

  • You can do two things at once, but can’t effectively focus on two things at once

  • Workers who use computers during the day change windows or check email nearly 37 times an hour

  • It takes 66 days to acquire a new habit; easier habits it takes a shorter time; harder habits it takes longer

  • Need to develop one habit at a time – it is very hard to do two

  • You have a limited amount of willpower during the day – keep it in reserve so you can do what matters most

  • Find out what the models, systems, habits, and relationships are of other people that have reached their “goal”.  As must as we’d like to believe were all different, what consistently works for others will almost always work for us

  • Failure is ok!  When we fail, we should stop, ask what we need to do to succeed, learn from our mistakes, and grow

  • If you write down your goals, you have a 39.5% more chance of accomplishing your goals

  • The most successful people are the most productive people

  • Once you’ve done your ONE thing for the day, you can devote the rest of your day to everything else

  • Great success shows up when time each day is devoted to being great

  • Plan your time off in advance – plan your vacation months out; Need to recharge and reward yourself.  Remember that resting is as important as working

  • The most productive people work on event time, not clock time.  Don’t stop for the day until the one thing is done. 

  • Be a MAKER in the morning and a MANAGER in the afternoon

  • Block an hour each week to review your annual and monthly goals:  “Based on where I am right now, what’s the ONE thing I need to do this week to stay on track for my monthly goal and for my monthly goal to be on track for my annual goal?”

  • If stuff pops into your head during your ONE thing, jot it down and come back to it.  Remember - your most important work demands 100% of your attention

  • If you write down your goals and send your accountability results you are 77% more likely to achieve your goals

  • If you can have a highly productive day until noon, the rest of the day will fall into place

Copyright © 2019 by Dr. Jared Smith LLC.  Specializing in Leadership, Education, and Personal Growth.