A while back, I wrote a lengthy post sharing all of the books that I have read and thought every blogger should read too.
One of those books was titled The One Thing by Gary Keller.
This was and still is to this day, one of the most insightful and eye-opening books I’ve ever read.
Gary’s visions and theories around focus, productivity, time and task management, really paved a new way in which I thought and operated as a blogger and solopreneur.
The bullsh*t concept of multitasking
For me, one of the stand out chapters in The One Thing, is where Gary talks about the concept of multitasking.
He explains how many people are mind washed by their ability to multitask, and how some people think that they’re actually good at it and that they’re actually getting more things done.
The truth, however, is that they’re actually getting fewer things done.
And at the same time, making a bunch of errors too.
He shares countless startling studies and theories that actually prove this very concept.
In the book he also quotes a saying by Steve Uzzell, which has really stuck in my mind, the quote goes:
“Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time”
Gary goes on to talk about how multitasking has become the mainstream element in all our lives, and how we often do it without thinking about it, not just in business, but in life too.Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time - Quote by Steve UzzellClick To Tweet
My wake up call
I started reflecting on this and thought long and hard about how I was organizing myself on a daily, and even weekly basis in my business and life.
I couldn’t help but think of all the things I was trying to juggle working from home, running a blog, an online business, being a dad, a husband, and everything else.
I each of these roles I’m multitasking many more things every day.
And yes, I’ll admit that I’m making lots of mistakes and not remotely completing many things that I get started on.
I’m throwing out my to-do list
I once believed that just having a good old fashioned to-do list, with lots of items on it, was enough to keep me on the right path to getting things done.
Seriously, I would create a to-do list of 15 to 20 items every morning over a cup of coffee. In fact, I’d spend half an hour doing just making this list.
Moreover, my brain was configured to multitask everything.
I mean that’s the way I was taught to do things in life and in work, way before I came online too.
As Gary rightly says, it has become mainstream in all our lives.
We multitask when we’re not aware of it.
We eat food and watch TV at the same time.
We walk whilst texting on our mobile phones, and perhaps even whilst listening to music.
Going back to my to-do lists, guess what happened each time I made a ridiculous list with 15 to 20 items on it?
Yep, that’s right. I would get almost nothing done.
Perhaps I might complete two or three items on my list, but the rest would just get forgotten about.
Or, I would just write another list of 20 things to do for the following week, and once again hardly get anything done.
This would continue on, and on, and on.
Changes I made
Something needed to change because my focus was clearly on way too many things, right?
And as a result of starting something and not finishing it, and moving on to something else. I would actually end up achieving close to nothing.
This strategy wasn’t going to move me forward closer to my goals at all, I realised that.
I decided to take some inspiration from Gary’s book and make some changes.
I now create something that’s called a “success list” and not a “to-do list”.
What the heck is a success list?
I want you to check out the screen capture below to understand the core concept and purpose of a success list.
It is, of course, taken from The One Thing book.
So this is how I would structure myself, I would write a list of just 4 or 5 items maximum, sometimes less.
These would be specific things that would lead me to succeed in completing something greater.
For instance, let’s take blog writing.
So if I wanted to write an epic piece of content about ‘blogging productivity‘, and have it completed by the end of the week. My success list would look something like this:
- Research topic idea
- Collect data and resources
- Write post
- Edit and format post
- Schedule or publish post (Success)
Or let’s say I wanted to put out a brand new YouTube video. My success list would look something like this:
- Write notes or rough script for video for topic of video
- Setup video recording.
- Record video.
- Edit and format video.
- Upload video to YouTube and publish (Success)
I think you get the general drift here, right?
So I started doing this about six months ago, picking one thing and focusing on that one thing each week.
I can’t begin to tell you how much more I’ve been able to do and achieve overall with this strategy.
Before this, I would write a crazy list like this:
- Write blog post.
- Comment on 10 blogs.
- Record new YouTube video.
- Create visual content for social media.
- Schedule posts on HootSuite.
- Schedule posts on Facebook.
- Finish Bob’s website project.
- Update featured post images on 4 blog posts.
- Update this post, and that comment.
- Send this email, reply to that email…
- Chat to Mandy on Skype…
- Chat to Bob on Slackr.
- And it goes on, and on, and on, and on…
How boring and tedious does that list above sound and look?
It’s enough to make anyone want to throw in the towel and say, the heck with this.
Focusing on the one thing, whether you’re a blogger, marketer, solopreneur, who ever, will help you move forward.
And it will help you take a step closer to reaching your goals and finding success with your business or blog. I truly believe that.
I can create just one or two success lists like this each week, have them completed by the end of the week.
Over the course of a month, I will have done more, and achieved more than I would have sticking to the routine I was in before.
Take the one thing approach with your blog or online business
So that’s how The One Thing by Gary Keller has inspired me to change my approach to productivity.
If you want to check out Gary’s book for yourself, perhaps you haven’t read it yet or even heard of it before, I really recommend that you do.
You can find it here on Amazon.
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