Books We Love: The One Thing

Reviewed by Emily D. Tisdale

Work smarter, not harder.

Time is of the essence.

Either you run the day or the day runs you.

There’s a lot of ink devoted to helping us understand how to use the time we have to focus on what matters the most in our personal and work lives. Gary Keller of Keller Williams Realty boils it down to one very simple question:

What’s the ONE THING you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

Create a Success List, not a To-Do List

It’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole of a beautifully laid out to-do list. At a glance, there are easily a number of little tasks that can be knocked out, allowing us to get out our little red pens and cross something off. However, it’s important that we don’t confuse activity with productivity.

According to Keller, to achieve success, we need to ditch the to-do list and create success lists in which we list tasks that create extraordinary results. While to-do lists have a tendency to pull you in many different directions, success lists aim you in a very specific direction.

 

Form a Habit

Turns out the key to success is not about endless hours in the office or mastering the multitasking myth. It’s simply about habits.

If you choose the right habit and couple that with the discipline to establish that habit, success isn’t far behind. Keller encourages readers to pursue success through developing the right habits. Habits, after all, require much less energy and effort to maintain and “when hard stuff becomes habit, habit makes the hard stuff easy.”

 

Motivation Isn’t Always On-Call

Most of us have heard our entire lives that each day, we should tackle our hardest / most dreaded / most difficult tasks first – but most of us don’t listen. This advice has stood the test of time because, as Keller points out, motivation may be strong, but willpower isn’t always on call.

Most of us think that we can simply “turn on” our willpower button when in fact, the opposite is true. Willpower is a renewable resource and, much like our phone batteries, it has a limited life but can be recharged. And here’s the kicker – when willpower runs out, we use our default settings. (Hopefully, our default settings are backed up by the right habits.)

It’s not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it is that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.

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