Review: “The ONE Thing”

Book Review
Book: The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Reviewer: Bobby Powers

My Thoughts: 10 of 10
The ONE Thing changed the way I live and work. It helped me break unproductive habits and recognize many ways in which I was working inefficiently. I strongly recommend this book for leaders and managers who struggle with more work than hours in the day. I felt much like you until I read this book. Now I am able to prioritize what has to get done each day and focus on those priorities before doing anything else.  

Takeaways from the Book

The Perils of Multi-Tasking

  • “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” -Russian Proverb
  • “Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.” -Steve Uzzell
  • “Researchers estimate that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of their day recovering from these distractions.”
  • The time cost of context-switching: “The cost in terms of extra time from having to task switch depends on how complex or simple the tasks are.  It can range from time increases of 25 percent or less for simple tasks to well over 100 percent or more for very complicated tasks.” -Dr. David Meyer
  • “Workers who use computers during the day change windows or check e-mail or other programs nearly 37 times an hour.”

Multitasking Dwight

Relentless Prioritization and Focus Are Necessary

  • “When everything feels urgent and important, everything seems equal. We become active and busy, but this doesn’t actually move us any closer to success. Activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business.”
  • “The things which are most important don’t always scream the loudest.”
  • “Live with purpose and you know where you want to go. Live by priority and you’ll know what to do to get there.”
  • “Be like a postage stamp–stick to one thing until you get there.” -Josh Billings
  • “Extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.”
  • “Leaving some things undone is a necessary tradeoff for extraordinary results.”

What’s Your ONE Thing?

  • “What’s the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”
  • “Until my ONE Thing is done, everything else is a distraction.”
  • “If you want to get the most out if your day, do your most important work – your ONE Thing – early, before your willpower is drawn down. Since your self-control will be sapped throughout the day, use it when it’s at full strength on what matters most.”
  • “To experience extraordinary results, be a MAKER in the morning and a MANAGER in the afternoon.” That is, do your own creative work early in the day. This kind of work generally requires large blocks of time to think and brainstorm new ways to execute your own projects. Use the afternoon for meetings and overseeing your team.

Other Things to Bear in Mind

  • “People do not decide their futures. They decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” -F.M. Alexander
  • ”Be careful how your interpret the world; it is like that.” -Erich Heller

Application to My Life
Keller and Papasan urge the reader to prioritize only ONE Thing in each area of life that makes everything else unnecessary or less important.  You’ll find my list below.  What’s yours?

  • Marriage ONE Thing: Go on a date night with my wife Kaylyn every week
  • Personal ONE Thing: Read 60+ books every year
  • Physical ONE Thing: Play basketball at least once per week and work out 2+ times every week
  • Spiritual ONE Thing: Read the Bible 4+ times every week
  • Leadership ONE Thing: Meet with one of my four mentors every month over coffee or lunch
  • Financial ONE Thing: Update our budget spreadsheet at least once per month
  • Travel ONE Thing: Take one international vacation and one other vacation every year
  • Work ONE Thing: Spend 15-30 minutes each day sorting/prioritizing the new software development requests that have come in to our team

Think you’d like this book? Purchase it from Amazon:

Other books you may enjoy:
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
The 80/20 Manager by Richard Koch
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

Other notable books by the authors:
The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks, and Jay Papasan
The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks, and Jay Papasan

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