The world has become obsessed with productivity. “Always be hustling” has become a battle cry for people to work constantly and try to do it all. In this landscape of 24-hour availability, high expectations and multi-tasking, one book is working to turn our assumptions upside down.
This book is The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan. In it, they explain the value of only focusing on ONE thing – the most important task in any given project. The book claims that multitasking is a road to less impressive results and that instead of spreading ourselves thin and trying to do it all we need to focus on the one thing that you could do that will make everything else easier or just plain unnecessary.
The thought behind this idea is partially inspired by the Pareto Principle, which states that 20% of your effort produces 80% of your results. If you can focus on that important 20%, you will get the best results for less effort. They tout that this is about efficiency, not laziness.
This means you should focus all your energy on the one thing that is most likely to produce results and push aside all else. To determine what that one thing is, you need differentiate between the big picture question “What’s my ONE thing” and the smaller picture query “What’s my ONE thing RIGHT NOW?” This book helps differentiate between the two and provides tips for how to achieve the intense focus necessary to make a difference.
For example, the book puts forth the idea of “time blocking,” in which you work on a specific activity during a set amount of time including activities like planning and relaxation. During these set times, you cannot stray from doing the one pre-determined activity. Anything extra is a distraction. This type of focus, they claim, will allow you to complete your task (even if it’s relaxation) and achieve the best results. If you’re interested in achieving more check out this book for more productivity tips.