With all the change and upheaval in the world this year, it has been hard to maintain focus. New patterns, interactions, and responsibilities have cropped up, and have led to other stressors and worries. It has not been an easy year for a lot of us, at a personal and at a professional level.
The basic functions of work and home still have to be met, however, even as new tasks were added. Like so many others, we have been working remotely while caring for (and teaching) our children. Long- desired vacation plans have been postponed. New cleaning and shopping protocols have extended the time needed for errands. The delicate work- life balance we had achieved seemed to be falling apart.
With a burning need to clarify, organize and focus, I picked up The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. This book argues that by setting specific, single goals and holding yourself accountable to achieving them, you will accomplish more than you would by attempting to multi- task your way through an extensive and unprioritized to- do list. As unlikely as it seems to a dedicated list- maker like myself, this book may have a good point.
With all of the competing demands for attention, it becomes hard to focus on doing the most important work first. Entire days can go by in a blur of efficiently checking tasks that don’t make much of a difference off the to- do lists we make for ourselves. Using a backward- planning model, The One Thing suggests working from the long- term goal to the actionable items so that you know what to do now. For example, if I want to write a book within the next year, I need to have a manuscript finished in 10 months, be halfway through the draft in 6 months, start writing in 2 months, and have the outline finished in 6 weeks, I’d better block out some time for research starting today!
Supports and graphics are clear and helpful in this easy- to- read, approachable book. I highly recommend checking it out if you are looking for some help getting re- focused on what really matters to you.