Book Review: The One Thing

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

Recommended for: Everyone, but especially creative types and entrepreneurs.

Not my usual format here. Cross-posted from The Art of Procrastination:

Okay, here’s something you won’t see me do too often on this blog, I’m going to recommend a business productivity book. Hey! Wait! Come back here. It’s a good one.

In fact, What’s Your One Thing? by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan is not just a business book. (Though I’ve been arguing that writers do need to think like business people for ages.) It is an excellent book for life in general and for artists and creative people of all stripes.

What it boils down to is “What is the One thing you can do right now that will help you reach your goal?”

That question is a focus question. You have to make a very specific answer for it. You can’t have a to do of 10 things. What is the One Thing that must get done right now to make your goal attainable. Of course, you also need to have a goal and actually think about and create a progression from here to there. I’m not re-capping all the steps, just the biggies. READ the BOOK.

Follow up? Why aren’t you doing that thing?

Second step, after this focus question, is to make time for that one thing and to guard that time jealously. Keller and Papasan suggest a four hour block in the morning. I would adjust that to a four hour block whenever you are at your best. If you’re a night owl, carve out a slice of time at night. If you’re a morning person, do it in the morning.

I say, if you can’t do four hours right now, carve out half-an-hour. If you can’t do that, you don’t actually give a shit about your goal and need to find one you *do* care about.

Make that time, that precious, precious time, and do it every day, five days a week. Your goal will get closer and closer. And once you spend 2-3 months carving out your time, it will be a habit and you’ll feel *wrong* when you don’t spend the time on your goal. After that, it’s inertia and time to work on the next habit you want to create.

Time, repetition, habit. Train in new habits, and over-write old ones.

When I say guard that time, it means, work without distractions. Turn off the internet. Kill the phone. Do not move away from whatever your task is until it is done.

One task a day, that’s not that hard right? Write 5 pages. Hell, write 5 sentences. Whatever the goal is, hammer at it every day.

But first, read the book. It’s worth the time.

Highly Recommended.

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