If there was one thing you could do to change your life, what would it be? Win a fortune and explore the world? Get a body to die for without the diets? Or perhaps you’d simply like to meet your perfect partner, make babies and live the good life.
Well, you’re going to love what I’m about to tell you…
I give you the one thing that has changed my life. Particularly my working life.
And it’s something you can do right now.
You can be successful by doing less
Do you think success is time-consuming and complicated? Do you feel you have to constantly do lots of different things at the same time in order to achieve anything?
I used to be like that too. And it’s no wonder in our crazy world where unless you’re busy and knackered you’re doing it wrong. Unless you’re always on the go you’re lazy and don’t deserve to be successful!
But then I discovered ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, a book outlining how you can be successful by doing less.
The book starts with a Russian proverb, “If you chase two rabbits you will not catch either one” which sums up perfectly a big problem in today’s society. We are all trying to do too much at once and it’s impacting on our health.
The fact is you only have so much time and energy. If you try to do too much at once you’ll be spread too thinly and at best feel overwhelmed, at worst become ill. Although you’re probably working very hard you can’t give fully to anything. Multitasking well is a myth.
So what’s the answer?
Slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
‘The One Thing’ has helped me do just that, changing my whole approach to life, including work. It has lots of practical advice to help you achieve more without burnout. Even when society decrees busy is best.
Based on the advice in this book, here are four things you can do to achieve more without burnout…
How to achieve more without burnout
1. The focusing question
We all need focus to achieve anything. To find the one thing it’s best to do right now you must ask this question:
“What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
If you don’t you may end up doing X Y and Z only to discover if you’d started with W you wouldn’t have had to do them at all!
So asking this question helps you work more efficiently.
2. Live with purpose
What is the purpose behind your business? Or if you work for someone else why have you chosen to work there? What drives you? What excites you? What keeps you going through the tough times?
If you don’t have a purpose, you’ll lose focus fast and won’t be able to stick to your goals. You need to find your reason why.
Here’s mine: to help people thrive at life and work.
One way I do this is by helping mental health and wellbeing businesses grow and be successful. My copywriting helps them to help other people flourish. And boom! Mission complete.
3. Time blocking
If you can’t stick to doing your one thing every day you won’t get very far. Blocking out time to do it is essential.
I am very practical about this now and block it out in my diary. At first it was hard to know how much time each task would take, but now I can gauge it more-or-less. And don’t be afraid to spend lots of time on an activity that brings you fantastic results. It’s worth it to increase your success rate.
You can also cross of each task as you complete it. I love scribbling tasks out, until there are holes in the paper sometimes. It makes me feel great – once I’ve crossed out my one thing I relax into the rest of my work for that day, complete it faster and do it better. Scribble power!
You must also protect your time block. Don’t let anything get in the way. Then you’ll get done what needs to be done.
I turn off my phone, shut down my email and web browsers and work where there’ll be no interruptions. The kitchen table is good as long as no one else is around. You just need to find a space that suits you. Try different places. Experiment. I also use the local library for a change of scene (but not in the school holidays!)
4. Live by priority
The process Gary Keller calls ‘goal setting to the now’ has been the most helpful process for me. By identifying your future goal first you can then identify steps to achieving it. Follow this pattern:
Goal setting to the now will keep you focused; you’ll think clearly and find the right priority at the right time.
Then make sure you write your goals down. This way you can refer back to them and keep on track. I have just shared my goals with my business coach and she also helps stop me drifting.
How I have goal-set to the now:
- Purpose identified: to help mental health and wellbeing businesses grow and be successful (by copywriting for them)
- One thing for this year: get new clients in my niche
- One thing for September: meet new business people in my niche
- One thing for the first week of September: attend relevant business networking meetings
- One thing for day one: attend X business networking meeting and follow up at least one useful contact
Of course this is only one example. In September I actually have over 20 daily one things and four weekly one things.
How ‘The One Thing’ has changed my life
- Before I worked chaotically, now I am organised and achieve more: ‘Goal-setting to the now’ has helped me clarify my business goals and laser-focused my ideas.
- Before I didn’t notice my achievements, now I do and I feel good: Deciding what my one thing is regularly, and crossing each off, means I can’t avoid recognising my achievements. I know I’m achieving something useful every day.
- Before I was apathetic, now I am full of enthusiasm and drive: My positive mood fuels my work and I wake up looking forward to the day. I am happier in myself.
- Before I felt guilty about breaks from work, now I rest to be more efficient: Now that I notice every achievement I can see I’m constantly moving forward. So I can take a breather without feeling I must keep working. And I’m more efficient after a break, so get more done overall.
- Before I had little energy, it is now increasing: Doing one thing has helped me manage life alongside CFS/ME. Because I’m allowing my body to rest, I’m getting better (whoop whoop!) and my energy is gradually increasing.
‘The One Thing’ can change your life too
‘The One Thing’ has changed my life dramatically and it can change yours too. Look at what you’ve achieved in life. If you implement the one thing now think how much more successful you can be.
To feel happier, more focused and to achieve more without the stress don’t forget to do these four things:
- Ask the focusing question
- Live with purpose
- Time block
- Live by priority