In reading The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan, this chapter is the most valuable in my opinion. Why? Because it provides solid simple steps on how to take action to achieve your One Thing.
Ebenezer Scrooge’s story might have been a footnote in literary history except for this—he acted. Passionate about his new purpose, and empowered by a priority that fulfilled it, he got up and got going.
Productive action transforms lives.
In our Gazelles public and private workshop we promise tools and resources that “provide a bias for action.” This is Keller’s bias for action.
Each of us invests our time doing something. Work, play, eat, sleep, stand, sit or simply breathing. When we’re not doing anything, we’re still doing something.
It’s not a question of whether we will be doing something, it’s what will we be doing!
To put together a life of extraordinary results you simply need to get the most out of what you do, when what you do matters.
Keller offers, “Living for productivity produces extraordinary results.”
Measure the Time-Managing System You Use?
“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” —Francine Jay
Several times we’ve addressed managing your time in this blog including, Time Management: Use It or Lose It, Vacations - Breakthrough in Time Management, Oops 13 Management Practices That Waste Time and Money,
When Keller teaches productivity he asks, “What type of time-managing system do you use?”
The answers vary from Outlook and Daytimer, to paper and electronic calendars.
When Keller asks how they chose the system, he receives many answers describing the format not the function.
“That’s great, but what kind of system do you use?” Keller responds. The answer is always the same: “What do you mean?”
“Well, if everyone has the same amount of time and yet some earn more than others,” Keller asks, “can we then say that it’s how we use our time that determines the money we make?”
“If this is true, that time is money, then, the best way to describe a time-managing system might just be by the money it makes. So, do you think you’re using the $10,000-a-year system? The $20,000-a-year system? The $50,000-, $100,000-, or $500,000-a-year system? Are you using the $1,000,000-plus system?”
Until inevitably someone asks, “How do we know?”
To which Keller replies, “How much do you make?”
Productive people get more done, achieve better results, and earn far more in their hours. How? They devote maximum time to being productive on their top priority, their ONE Thing. They time block their ONE Thing and then protect their time blocks with a vengeance. They’ve done something most fail to recognize. Productive people realize by working their time blocks consistently, it produces the extra-ordinary results they seek.
“Today, what’s the ONE Thing I can do for my ONE Thing such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
When you find the answer, you’ll be doing the most leveraged activity for your most leveraged work. This is how results become extraordinary.
How do you find a way to be highly productive in the hours you can put in?
If you’ve not used time-blocking let me encourage you to start. This last week was a challenge for me with moving, working with my contractor on renovations, juggling my business appointments, making sure my son had meals, attending his concerts, plus my own social interactions. Since having cancer, a high priority for me is to meditate a minimum of 50 minutes each day. The week we moved and closed on my house I missed meditating Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It made a significant difference in my demeanor.
This past week I implemented Keller’s suggestion to block a time slot each day to meditate. It worked. Understand that I’ve been able to discipline myself to do this 99% of the time. Yet since instituting this practice and understanding the principles better (more in next blog) I’ve found it much easier to schedule and meditate at the time I have made an appointment with myself. My plan is to continue it with my One Thing for the quarter and the year.
What is Time Blocking? Time blocking is a very results-oriented way of viewing and using time. It’s a way of making sure that what has to be done gets done. Alexander Graham Bell said, “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” Time blocking harnesses your energy and centers it on your most important work. It’s productivity’s greatest power tool.
If disproportionate results come from one activity, then you must give that one activity disproportionate time.
It’s the 80-20 rule that so many of us fail to apply to our use of time. The most productive people use the highest dollar producing time management system.
Each and every day, ask this Focusing Question for your blocked time: “Today, what’s the ONE Thing I can do for my ONE Thing such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” When you find the answer, you’ll be doing the most leveraged activity for your most leveraged work.
This is how results become extraordinary.
Time blocking works on the premise that a calendar records appointments. Your calendar doesn’t care who those appointments are with.
Here’s the critical step, when you know your ONE Thing, make an appointment with yourself to tackle it.
To achieve extraordinary results and experience greatness, Keller suggests time block these three things in the following order:
- Time block your time off.
- Time block your ONE Thing.
- Time block your planning time.
It may surprise you to see Keller puts taking time off as number one on this list. There’s a reason he suggests this. If you want to discover why, and learn more about how time blocking can make you more productive, join me Thursday for my next blog.