Here are my book notes from The ONE Thing by Gary Keller.
1) Go small. Ignore everything you could do and focus only on what you should do. Figure out what matters most. Do fewer things with more effect instead of more things with side effects.
2) Domino effect. Understand that success is built sequentially, over time. Find the first domino. Which task, once complete, will knock down the rest of your to-dos? (Once you know what it is, simply tip that baby over each day.)
3) Proof of one. Successful companies become known for one product, then expand and evolve. Google did search. Apple did computers. Amazon sold books.
Today, yes, they all launch new products left and right and buy up other companies – but none of that would be possible if focus and attention was scattered early on.
4) Success occurs in this order: first passion, then practice, then skill, then enjoyment, and then success.
5) Lie: everything matters equally. It does not. Busyness rarely takes care of business. Where are you wasting time? What are you thinking and talking about and doing that’s keeping you from making real progress? Identify and start saying no to low impact activities.
6) Lie: multitasking. While you can do two things at once, you can only focus on one thing at a time.
We lose almost a third of the workday because we don’t know any better: we’re trying to text our buddy back, scroll through Facebook, and write an article about Warren Buffett… all while listening to three different conversations going on around us at Starbucks.
(Because that’s how internet millionaires roll, right?)
But the truth is, you only have so much brainpower. And the more you try to divvy it up, the more productivity takes a hit. Even worse, you’ll feel more stress, make more mistakes, and miss more deadlines.
Or, you could put the blinders on and give everything you’ve got to one critical task at a time.
7) Lie: self-discipline. If you don’t follow-through, it’s not that you’re lacking self-discipline. We’ve all got plenty. We just need to manage it better; to use it, wisely, to kick-start good habits.
This takes about 66 days. After that, it’s automatic. Meaning, you no longer have to count on motivation; you’ll do the habit without thinking about it – like brushing your teeth before bed.
Cool thing is, each positive habit has a ripple effect, making other positive habits easier. Don’t get carried away though. It’s best to build one new habit at a time.
8) Lie: willpower is always available. It is not. It’s finite. Like the battery on your iPhone, you might start off the day with 100%, but it goes quick as you face one temptation after the next.
So? First things first. You want to be a maker (producer) in the morning and a manager in the afternoon.
9) Lie: find balance. Millionaires know there’s no such thing. You have to spend an extraordinary amount of time practicing your craft. If you don’t, you’ll never be good enough to outdo the competition.
The key then, is to counterbalance: spend less time on minutia and more time on your signature skill.
Basically, everything I said in this post. But don’t worry: when you “trim the fat” and do what’s essential, you’ll still have plenty of time for family and friends.
10) Lie: big is bad. It is not. But if you think it is, even at a subconscious level, self-sabotage is inevitable. Remember, the richer you become, the more people you can help. So think big, believe big, act big, and get big results.
11) Lie: diversification. When you put your eggs in a bunch of baskets and try to carry them all around, some are bound to get dropped. Garry Keller subscribes to the school of thought that you pick one “business basket” and be very careful with it.
12) The million dollar focusing question. Ask yourself: what’s the one thing I can do right now that makes everything else easier or unnecessary? Do that as often as possible.
13) Spend at least 4-6 hours a day on your “one thing.” Think about the greats. Stephen King. Michael Jordan. Bill Gates. Jerry Seinfeld. Oprah. Elite achievers obsessively practice their craft every single day, for decades.
14) Protect productivity: say no; stay healthy; be okay with falling behind on less important stuff; create a working and social environment that supports your goals.
I hope this summary of The ONE Thing helped you as much as it did me. Powerful book. Buy it, read it, sleep with it.