Confession: I will make everything more complicated than it needs to be. Not because I’m confused or take a non-linear path but because I can see SOOO many possibilities, want to do it PERFECTLY, and want to fulfill my commitments in a way that delights others (yes… just a touch of people pleasing coursing through my veins).
In fact, I put SYSTEMS in place to organize my self-created complexity.
Because I know this about myself, I’ve developed a simple trick I call THE ONE THING. And of course, I use it in two ways. (Because go big or go home).
THE ONE THING
Here’s a universal truth: You cannot do ALL THINGS and do the ONE THING great. Ever. And I’m willing to bet that you “ALL THINGS” folks are exhausted and stressed out trying to keep it together. I know – I’ve been there.
So what is the ONE THING?
Trick #1: What’s the ONE THING I most want to DO, ACHIEVE, or EXPERIENCE today?
Write it down. Do it first if you feasible. Celebrate it! Everything else comes after this. Ex: Yesterday I had a lot of tasks with DUE TODAY on my list. I had a choice… I could just start ticking them off which leads us to doing the fastest first (because who doesn’t love the gratification of marking complete especially when your PM software sends unicorns and rainbows flying across your screen which mine does) even though the FASTEST is usually the least interesting and impactful. OR I could choose the ONE THING that I most wanted to accomplish which was to make a significant dent in a book I’m writing.
If I choose the ONE THING, a lot of “other things” aren’t getting done. And truthfully, that’s ok. Some of them fall in the task category of “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” (you’ve got this one too, yes?)
So I bypassed instant gratification and followed my ONE THING. I made big progress, felt amazing about it, and got over leaving all the rest untouched.
Trick #2: What’s the ONE THING that is most likely to create the RESULT you want?
I use this trick when I’m working on a project. If you vision map your projects, you are already deciding what success looks like in a measurable way and outlining the map to achieve that. You might have multiple milestone goals that support the overarching vision if it’s a larger undertaking.
My default is to create a massive list of every possible way / step / action to achieve a goal, timeline it all, and then work the plan doggedly. This is not only ridiculously effortful but diminishing in return. The 80/20 rule applies as it strangely does in most situations. 20% of your actions will garner 80% of your results (It’s actually probably 90/10). Thus, of all of the ideas you have on HOW, what is the ONE that is most likely to create the result? Do that FIRST and SOLO.
Again, if you have a stellar vision mapping process, you are measuring your outcomes. Fairly quickly, you’ll know if the ONE THING worked. You might need to tweak or try a different approach, but keep it simple. Doing too many things at once clouds the measurement (what generated what result?) AND spreads you too thin.
There is a reasonable limit to your time, and I am a believer and practitioner in training that going deep always gets you to a repeatable result faster than going wide.
I am a recovering “million things” gal. I get it… juggling all those plates and wildly marking tasks complete is an elixir of adrenaline and bravado. But what is it we most want in life? in work? in our relationships? It’s usually simple. So why not take a simple path towards it?
Yours in simplicity,
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