As a community member of The ONE Thing, you know that we’re all about taking control of our lives by time blocking. Time blocking is the act of making an appointment with yourself in order to get your most important work done. It’s deceptively simple in theory—I set the appointment and boom! that time is mine—but it can be tricky to practice in the day-to-day of our lives.
This difficulty comes from having to defend our time blocks from people who are competing for our time: colleagues who need to know if you’ve connected with a client, aspiring karate kids who need rides to the dojo. It can feel as if we aren’t able to truly focus on our ONE thing when we need to be different things for so many people.
To “defend” your time blocks, it’s important to not think of your ONE thing as belonging solely to you. If you approach the people in your life that depend on you and enlist them as allies in your ONE thing journey, you’ll be directing a powerful force and building a community of people to keep you accountable to your goals.
Perceived Power and Time
According to a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology featured in an article by Melissa Dalh for The Cut, people who feel powerful feel like that have more control of their time. In the experiment, participants were asked to imagine themselves during a job interview. First, they were to imagine that they were the person who was being interviewed for the job; then, they imagined themselves as the interviewer. Afterward, the participants reported feeling like they were more in control of their schedule if they were in a position of power.
In this scenario, it’s easy to assume that the “power” that the participants felt came from an institutional position of authority—but there is a more compelling interpretation. The real reason that leaders are powerful is that their “power” is combination of the power of the people that they are connected to.
A true leader leverages the combined effort of others so that the group achieves more collectively than they’d be able to separately.
If you can ask your community for their help in your ONE thing journey, you’ll be acting as a leader and focusing their efforts so that your ONE goal becomes a collective win.
To help identify the people who can help you achieve your goal, think about the people who make up your community. These will likely fall under the loose roles of Partner, Family, Boss, Colleagues, and Yourself.
Regardless of whether or not you’re in a romantic relationship, you probably have someone in your life that you consider a partner. Someone who is your tried and true friend, a ride or die. Getting this person on your ONE thing team is instrumental to your ability to succeed, especially if you have a family or shared responsibilities that you’ll have to coordinate.
If you’re having difficulties honoring your one thing, set aside a time block to discuss your goals with your partner. That way, not only will you get their understanding and buy-in, but you can make sure you’re keeping track of your partners goals as well. When you are both cognizant of each other’s time, you can make sure to work in tandem to best support one another’s goals.
From there, we suggest setting up a yearly Goal Setting Retreat. Participating in a Goal Setting Retreat allows you to take a deep dive with your partner into your short and long-term goals, both as individuals and as a unit. Taking the time to examine where each person is at, what you both want, and how you want to get there allows you both to make smart choices, respect boundaries, and negotiate for time more effectively.
Our friends can be unspeakably influential in our lives; they can help us get through rough times and they can give us the motivation we need to pursue our goals. In order to help your friends help you, you’ll need to let them know about your ONE thing journey and ask them to hold you accountable along the way. If you’re worried that a friendship might go by the wayside while trying to counterbalance, set aside some time – a quick cup of a coffee or dinner out – and make sure to let your friends know what you’re trying to focus on at the moment.
While they may miss you for now, knowing that you’re MIA because you’re working towards a goal – and that it won’t be forever – will help ease the blow of less hangout time. And, who knows, maybe you’ll inspire them so that you’ll be able to help them next.
It can seem a little tricky to ask your supervisor to help you achieve a personal goal, but in order to negotiate your workload or to forge new career paths, your boss will need to be knowledgeable about your ONE thing. Having a clear discussion about what you’re focusing on and why can lead to helpful suggestions and even help delegating tasks so that your time blocks remain intact.
If you find that you’re dealing with a boss who seems uninterested in helping you deal with your one thing, try setting up a one-on-one meeting where you can discuss your goals, both personal and professional. Lay out how your personal and professional goals positively impact one another, and how they both help fuel your productivity. By being open with your boss, they can better understand where you want to go, where they fit in, and how best they can support you. This is a win-win scenario, as your goals can then result in beneficial outcomes for everyone.
Sometimes our colleagues or teammates aren’t on the same journey toward ONE thing as we are—but you can help them get on board! Just as your friends provide you with a powerful system of support and accountability, your coworkers are a crucial element in your ability to succeed. By having clear, direct, communication with them about the priorities that you’re setting, you’re more likely to succeed.
Make sure you tell your coworkers your goals, what you’re planning on working on this week, and what deadlines you have coming up. If you’re worried about any free time being taken up with frivolous meetings – communicate that! Let those around you know that free space on your calendar should be respected. As is the case with most relationships, making sure you help your coworkers and they help you means being thoughtful about one thing: boundaries. If you’re struggling with conveying what your boundaries are, use our Honest Expectations worksheet to help you define what will make you feel valued, respected, and safe. Share it with your coworkers when you discuss your goals, your time blocks, and how you’d like them to treat both.
Be sure to explain that your ONE thing journey won’t affect their workloads, set expectations about their ability to access you, and highlight any benefits you may bring to the team when your journey is complete.
Ultimately, time blocking only works if you hold yourself accountable. Once you’re in your bunker, only you will know if you’re completing the necessary tasks that will help you succeed. If you’re struggling to find accountability, try our Kick Ass Guide® to Accountability. Use it to help you gain more clarity on yourself, your goals, and your priorities. And remember: no one succeeds alone! With your community holding you accountable and supporting you, it’s up to you to harness that collective energy into extraordinary results. In the words of Lolly Daskal, “Lead from within: Choose courage; resist compromise be the person you are meant to be. Be your Extraordinary Self.”