Recently, my dad let me borrow the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller, and let me tell you it’s a whole new way to look at productivity and living a happy life. If you want to explore this topic more, you should definitely read the book.
Today I wanted to talk about the one thing (no pun intended) that I took away from this book. It’s the idea of taking a big picture goal and shrinking it down to the smallest, simplest task that you can do today.
I’ll come out and say it, I’m a freak organizer. I’m a perfectionist. I want everything I do to be everything I ever wanted it to be plus more. But the reality of it all is…that’s never going to happen. To do EVERYTHING is unattainable.
So what do you do when you have a million different things that you want to improve on in your life? You pick the most important thing and implement the smallest habit.
It sounds weird. Honestly my first thought was “when the hell am I going to actually achieve anything if I’m taking so long doing so little?”
Just hear me out.
There’s two reasons for this approach:
- It builds self-confidence and momentum
- Doing the RIGHT one thing has the potential of taking care many of other things.
Let’s dive deeper.
Think of your life as a whole. What is the one problem you have that snowballs everything else into chaos? For me, if you couldn’t already tell, it’s this damn sleep issue. I’ll use this as my example for you.
Let’s ask some questions:
Why does this problem create chaos in my life?
If I can’t sleep I can’t function. I’m less productive, I’m grumpy, I do less, I wake up late, I’m stressed, I cancel on people. Basically I can’t show up in the way that I need to and others need me to.
What is causing this problem to occur?
This took a little more time for me to sift through, and it should. I pictured myself laying in bed getting stressed over the time. I’ve tried sleep meditations, cutting back on coffee, going to bed earlier…then finally i realized that it’s not what I do before bed it’s what I do after I’m already in bed. I can’t turn my damn brain off.
What’s one thing that I can do today to solve this problem?
You gotta get creative with this one. I knew I needed to distract my mind in some way. Do something repetitive that would calm my brain but also distracting enough to keep me away from my thoughts. I chose to start reading 30 minutes before I wanted to fall asleep.
Guess what. It’s actually working. And I’ll tell you why.
Remember those two reasons from above?
1. It builds self-confidence & momentum
Reading while I’m laying in bed takes little to no effort at all. It’s an easy thing to accomplish at the end of the day. So right there, I know it’s going to get done. And when things get done, you get happy. My sleep schedule is back on track.
Accomplishing tasks, no matter how small, makes you feel good. A lot of the times, this creates momentum for you throughout your day.
When you have too many habits you are trying to implement at once, it gets overwhelming and you usually get down on yourself because very few days out of the week do you actually accomplish all your goals. But if all I have to do every single day is read 30 minutes before bed…it seems too easy and therefore I get it done.
2. Doing the RIGHT one thing has the potential of taking care many of other things.
Since I’ve started developing this habit, my sleep schedule is more consistent and I’m actually getting up and doing my make up everyday. I know I know this seems so small but it’s HUGE for me. I love sleep. Like LOVE sleep. So the fact that I’m waking up early enough to put a fresh face on and a cute outfit, not mad about it.
And just like that, something else that I wanted to get better at automatically started happening. Getting ready and showing up looking my best everyday gives me even more momentum in the workplace. I’ve been more productive with my days and more helpful to others. I’ve been able to show up more often as the person everyone, including myself, needs me to be. This all came from the simple task of reading before bed. Kind of crazy right?
Alright, I don’t want to go on for too much longer, but I encourage you to try this out. Let me know below if you’ve implemented this strategy or read Gary’s book! I’d love to hear some thoughts. Talk to you soon!