Book Review 011: The One Thing by Jay Papasan

The One Thing, by Jay Papasan and Gary Keller, talks about their journey in overcoming issues with focus and creating better habits. They discuss the idea that multitasking isn't as productive as some people make it out to be and maintains that success requires long periods of laser-like focus, and not scattered swats. Papasan states that if you focus on the "One Thing", everything else will fall into place.

By prioritizing on "One Thing", it allows us to get more done in a day when compared to to-do list and multitasking. Adding more projects to your list without cutting others will negatively impact your results, health, and relationships. If you want to achieve your goals, Jay Papasan reminds us that it actually takes subtraction and focus, not addition.

Papasan tells us that living according to the "One Thing" mentality is rather simple. The more difficult area is to ignore the "conventional wisdom" that we have been told all these years. There are so many myths and straight out lies about productivity that sound reasonable, but when tested against results, simply do not work out.

For many of us who work in Corporate America and have a W2 job. There are often talks of finding a "work life balance." Papasan tells us that work life balance is a myth, and we need to implement "counterbalance" to lead a life of significance and meaning as we strive to adjust our priorities to focus on the most important tasks at hand.

The main theme of this book is that the best way to get the answers you seek is by asking the right questions. Papasan encourages the readers to ask the following question: “What is the one thing I can do such that, by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” This is a simple question, but not an easy one. It provides both an overview and a laser focus on what you must do today to achieve your one thing. The question propels you to go beyond simple tasks on your to-do list and directs you to what is most important, that “first domino” that will make everything else fall into place.

Favorite Quote: “Knowing when to pursue the middle and when to pursue the extremes is in essence the true beginning of wisdom. Extraordinary results are achieved by this negotiation with your time.”

Asking, “What’s my one thing?” defines your “big one thing” by prompting you to craft a conceptual path for your career, your business and your personal life. Asking, “What’s my one thing right now?” reveals the “small one thing” that drives your daily activities. This puts your top priority at the center of your focus and leads you to a productive workday and a properly focused home life.

Papasan challenges us to identify our priority each day and focus only on the present, the only moment you can affect. Stacking upon these moments leads to success, because most people work harder for present rewards than for the future. As with dominoes, visualization helps, as does writing down your goals. People who write their goals are 39.5% more likely to accomplish them than people who don’t.

Key ideas:

  • Multitasking and following long to-do lists pose the biggest obstacles to achieving your goals.

  • Align purpose with your one thing to bring you clarity and happiness.

  • Your purpose will direct your single priority and inform you on how to spend your time.

  • Learn to say no and accept the chaos that accompanies any pursuit of greatness.

  • Create an environment that supports your goals.

  • Take care of your health with good food, exercise, family time and sleep.

Hope you enjoy this book!

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