The best you can do and the best something can be done are two entirely different things. It’s a concept that goes right back to the old saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Simply defaulting to how we know to do something doesn’t mean we’re doing it the best way.
Three sections of The ONE Thing highlight how high achievers understand maximizing results requires us to first figure out how to go about getting things done.
Nothing Matters Equally
Too often we put things on the same plane and assume that everything matters equally. Every task on our to-do list looks like it is just as important as everything else. In the real world there’s a hierarchy to just about everything, which means nothing matters equally.
When we divide our time equally among all of our tasks we get bogged down by unnecessary busy work and things that we could do, not the work that we need to do. When we do this, we get overwhelmed and often stressed by the constraints of our own ability and time.
Because time is a finite resource, tasks have to be prioritized based on how much they actually matter. It’s the classic 80/20 Rule. We should give 80 percent of our time to the 20 percent of things that matter most. These are the things that affect the outcome of our top goals and produce the greatest results.
Once we embrace the reality that nothing matters equally we can begin to prioritize things and create a focused success list instead of a to-do list. We can begin to line up the dominoes so that things are done in the best order possible and one success will naturally lead to the next.
Moving From Entrepreneurial to Purposeful
Many people pride themselves on their entrepreneurial spirit – being hard chargers that aren’t afraid to jump into difficult tasks headfirst. You may be giving it your best effort, but effort doesn’t directly correlate to outcome.
Going from entrepreneurial to purposeful in how we approach tasks can be a challenge. Chipping away at something often feels like we are at least headed in the right direction. The problem is that our energy will run out eventually and time will be wasted as a result. We’re also setting a ceiling that’s based on our current capabilities, meaning success will inevitably depend on our natural talent.
People that are purposeful assess a situation before they take any action on it. They contemplate all of the options and consider every tool that can be used. You can think of these people as the type that would use a chainsaw to get the job done, even if it could be done with an axe.
We have to be willing to acknowledge that what we know and how we are doing things may not be the best solution. We must be willing to change the way we are doing things so that more gets done without sacrificing quality. It’s a combination of doing the best you can do and doing it the best it can be done.
The Focusing Question
Expediting the journey to ultimate success means minimizing your workload. However, that doesn’t mean cutting corners. It means focusing on tasks that eliminate unnecessary steps and make things easier.
Before starting something new Gary Keller always asks himself the focusing question: “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
The Focusing Question is the true essence of The ONE Thing. Asking this question will automatically move us from an entrepreneurial to a purposeful approach. We’ll begin looking for the best first step, rather than the first thing that comes to mind. Asking this question over and over will eventually bring us to the ONE Thing that matters most at that given moment.
Finding the best way to get something done means letting go of relying on the way we know how to do it. It means rethinking how we time block our day and what tasks we choose to complete. Being open to all possibilities and focused on getting the best result possible is the only way to do your ONE Thing.