I wrote this The One Thing Summary because the book made a profound difference in my and I know it can do the same in yours.
The One Thing is such an underrated book, and whilst there’s a lot of gems, there’s a single question that has the power to change your life.
Read this question and think about your answer deeply:
Of course you have a lot of things to do, but there is one thing that’s the most important. Yes, the other stuff matters, but there is still one thing that’s more valuable than the others.
How I Found My One Thing
This The One Thing Summary wouldn’t be complete without my story of finding my one thing.
My one thing is closing deals.
- Each deal closed puts money in my pocket (up to $10k a year per client)
- That money allows me to:
- Outsource other tasks someone else can do better
- Pay my bills
- Save and invest for my future
- Get referrals from my happy clients
When you know your one thing, its a small action that leads to Big results as long as you focus on it.
So instead of going big, go small and go hard on it.
Think about it like this:
Find the smallest domino. The one thing that can trigger everything else.
Here’s how to identify your one thing and maximise your results:
Don’t Make “To Do” Lists. Make Success Lists Instead
When you’re deciding on the tasks to focus on, its important to give priority to the things that contribute to your success.
For most people, success means money so we’ll focus on that. We’re going to use the 80/20 principle here. Its the idea that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.
Here’s how to find your one thing:
#1 – List All of the Activities You Have To Do
Make a long list of things you regularly have to do.
Think about meetings, reports, emails you send, calls you make and take, go review your calendar and old to-do lists to pull together a comprehensive list of stuff.
#2 – Eliminate Low Income Producing Activities
Now review your list and cross out anything which is low income producing.
- Managing your calendar
- Social Media
- Hiring and Managing staff
- Accounting, invoicing, chasing payments
- Managing travel arrangements
You still need to do those tasks, but they’re not cash generating so they are considered low income producing activities.
#3 – Keep The High Earnings Producing Activities
Now you’ve crossed out the low income tasks, review everything left on your list and ensure they are all income producing. Go through the list one more time and ask “does this task directly put money in my pocket?” – if not, cross it out.
Next we’re going to use the 80/20 principle again, this time on the high income activities list.
Review the entire list again asking “Of these tasks, which are the 20% that generate the most income?”
Once you’ve done that, do it again. Repeat that process until your list contains just a few items – no more than 5. What you have left is your success list.
From that list, identify the ONE task that is the most important – the one that generates the most income for you. That is your one thing.
From this day onwards, focus only on the tasks on your success list. The priority should always be your one thing first, then once its done move onto the rest of the tasks on your success list.
Delegate everything else (use Upwork) so you can focus on your high earnings producing activities exclusively.
Create Blocks of Time To Focus On Your One Thing Only
Our society values multi-tasking, but the most productive (and successful) people in the world know the power of focusing on a single task.
When you focus on one task at a time, you’ll:
- Create higher quality work
- Be 40% more productive (according to Harvard, Stanford and the University of London)
- Builds self-discipline
- Improves attention span (the average is just 8 seconds!)
Now I’ve (hopefully) sold you on single-tasking, let me explain why you need blocks of time for Deep Work.
The tasks that are on your success list need dedicated time for just them. By carving out time on your calendar and not allowing any other task into that time, you start to create more success.
Go to your calendar now and mark out the blocks of time you’ll do your success tasks. I recommend first thing. I do mine from 07:30 – 11:30 everyday.
On that note…
Be A Maker In The Morning And A Manager In The Afternoon
Now that you have your success list, its time to prioritise your day to ensure the most important stuff gets done first.
There’s a famous saying which says “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”? Good intentions go to hell when you get distracted.
Remember it’s important to keep the main thing, the main thing. Every morning do the most important stuff first and ensure it gets done (even if nothing else does).
If you filled your success list with the right things, then you’ll be generating the income to delegate any tasks you need to clear to make time for your main tasks.
They’ll still be tasks you need to get done that aren’t income producing, but those tasks need to get done in the afternoon. You probably have less energy in the afternoon, so it makes sense for the easier tasks to be done then.
Be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon and you’re putting yourself on the path to success.
Minimize Distractions in Your Environment To Maximize Productivity
According to one Harvard study, we spend nearly 50% of our waking time thinking about something other than what we’re really supposed to be doing.
For the 50% of time you are able to focus, you’re still highly open to distraction.
- On average, you get interrupted every 8 minutes
- It takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after an interruption
- After returning to the task, it then takes 30 minutes to get back to the same level of focus you had before the interruption
You can limit interruptions by setting up your environment the right way.
Here’s how I do that:
- Put my phone on silent, vibration off and face down
- All alarms, alerts and notifications on my laptop off
- The Focus app disables access to my social media and any apps or websites not needed during my focus time
- I don’t take calls, check emails, respond to anything other than absolute emergencies
- Wearing these noise cancelling headphones has been huge for me
By doing this, my focus times have increased significantly. Think about your environment and the changes you can make to yours.
The One Thing Summary: Wrapping Up
Want more than this The One Thing Summary? Get the book here.
I hope my The One Thing Summary has got you thinking because it really has the power to make a real difference in your life.
By eradicating the non-income producing tasks, focusing on the tasks on your success list and then making sure you get long blocks of undistracted time you’ll transform your results.
Have you read The One Thing? What were your takeaways or the biggest changes you’ve seen since implementing these strategies?
I hope this The One Thing Summary has helped you, if you have any questions or comments leave me a message below: