Book Review: “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by Gary Keller

This book was already on my “to read” list when a good friend and client mentioned he was reading it.  So I picked up a copy.  There are a lot of good nuggets in this book about time management, focusing on one thing versus trying to “multitask,” and how these pieces fit together to allow a person to be more productive and successful.

Early on the reader is introduced to the Focusing Question, which is stated as follows: “What’s the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”  This forms the essence of the author’s system, which is to focus all our energies on doing one thing, the most important thing, first and foremost.  You can alter the question above to have a longer time frame such as a five-year goal and then work back towards the one-week or even one-day steps that will get you closer to that bigger goal.

Here are some other takeaways:

  • Multi-tasking doesn’t work.  Period.  The human mind cannot focus on doing two things at the same time with a high degree of success.  That’s not to say people can’t do two things at once, but the results are not optimal for either one of these things.
  • Most to-do lists are actually just survival lists—getting you through your day and your life, but not making each day a stepping-stone for the next so that you sequentially build a successful life.
  • Say no. Whether you say “later” or “never,” the point is to say “not now” to anything else you could do until your most important work is done.
  • Researchers estimate that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of their day recovering from these distractions.
  • 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.
  • Day in and day out, your own need to do other things instead of your ONE Thing may be your biggest challenge to overcome.

If you find yourself with to-do lists up the wazoo, this book will help you to get your life back by focusing on the most important things.

If you find yourself not being as productive as you want to be, this book will help you with ways to eliminate the roadblocks to your best productivity self.

A lot of this information has been presented before, but it still serves as a good reminder.  In today’s age of information overload, it’s very easy to get sidetracked and distracted.  The ONE Thing will help get you back on track.

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