Category Archives: Prioritizing

Just One Thing!

Happy New Year!  Okay, we’re about done with the first month of the year, so I’m a little late.  I might have partied too hard (aka had lots of friends visiting and couldn’t find time or a quiet space to get work done) and caught one of those terrifically bad cold bugs going around.  But I’ve been doing a lot of reevaluating BECAUSE it’s a brand spankin’ new year and I want to do this right.

In the past, the last few weeks of the year were when your friends would start talking about New Year’s Eve plans and New Year’s resolutions (and possibly resolutions that we knew we would immediately fail by January 2nd).  Articles online and tv show hosts would blast us with stories of resolutions that work.  Personally, since I’m a huge fan of lists, I’d come up with a list of All Important Resolutions that I was absolutely, positively sure I was going to keep.  I’d do it in my typical style and have a resolution for each area of my life: career, health, family.  And you all likely know what resulted.  The resolution to exercise twice a week failed within a couple months despite my great results.  The resolution to better stay in contact with far flung family members would get pushed by the wayside as the daily grind of keeping up with the family staring me in the face each day.  And of course, new “priorities” would crop up for the career category.  And on.  And on.  And on.  Disheartening.

But wait!  There’s a better solution, I promise.  I’m going to make a BROAD assumption that anyone reading the articles on this site is trying to make forward progress in their lives toward bigger and better things for themselves.  So here’s what I’ve decided: One Resolution.  Really.  Only one.  Because we’ve spoken of it before, that we only have so many hours in a day, so much brain power, so much will power, etc. that we can’t focus on multiple things and hope to gain any real ground.  Even the idea of “focus” requires that you narrow the subject down… to one thing.

So before we get all gung-ho and run around screaming “This is my year!!!”, sit down and really think about all the things that are important to you.  Then cross off a few items.  Then cross out another one.  And another.  Until you’ve got the one thing that’s so important, that getting it done will make the rest of your important goals easier to attain.  This shouldn’t be hurried.  This should be completely deliberate.  It might take some serious time.  But once you get down to it, “focus” and “priority” and “most important” are all words that describe a single thing.  And if you spend 80% of your time making progress on that One Thing, then you’re making progress on the one thing that will make the rest of your life propel forward toward more success.

For any naysayers out there, those who are sure that having many things to concentrate on is possible, read The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.  It’s a book many successful people read and try to live by and the authors do a good job debunking the glorious myths of multi-tasking and providing concrete examples of successful implementation of the one thing philosophy.

This month’s take aways:

  • Find your One Thing.

Managing the To Dos!

red man paper mountain

My last post was about reflection and list making. What can happen when you reflect and write lists? You can get buried in them. At least I did. I had notebooks full of lists; lists for home, for car, for work, for errands, for mom and even the master list of lists! But looking back, it wasn’t a complete waste of time (possibly years, from what I can see of the many acres of trees that must have been sacrificed to produce those lists). Continue reading Managing the To Dos!