How to focus on your ONE thing?

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Regardless of where you are, at work or at home, in surroundings that demand your attention, it is almost impossible not to get distracted all the time.

If you try to focus on the thing you are doing there is always an employee, a colleague or one of your kids that need something from you. You don't want to disappoint them by saying 'no' and the distraction is a fact. When you return to your activities it is likely that you need some time to get back into that process. Precious time wasted.....

A while ago I discovered the book 'The ONE Thing' by Gary Keller. Reading that book opened my eyes about my own habits and lack of discipline when it comes to focussing and avoiding distractions. Given the fact that I'm building my own online business it is necessary to take action and learn how I can get out of situations like that. So, now I'm slowly implementing the principle of The ONE Thing into my life.

However simple the principle sounds, it takes an effort to get it in your mind. Focussing on your ONE thing means saying 'Yes' to that thing and 'No' to ( a lot) of other things or persons.

To stay focused on your ONE Thing the author introduces The Focusing Question: "What's the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary ?"

You start with setting a goal and a timeframe. Let's say the timeframe that you use is 'in 1 year'. You can ask yourself the Focusing Question on that goal and find out what is needed to attain that goal. Break it down to the same Focusing Question but for this month, this week and this day. Finally you ask yourself 'What is the ONE Thing I can do NOW such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary.

The domino metaphor


Keller uses the domino metaphor to explain the way you can achieve your goals if you handle your priorities ONE thing at the time. The Focusing Question already implies that if you do your current ONE thing right that it will make the next ONE thing easier or even unnecessary. A falling domino (your successful action) can tip over a domino that is 50% bigger. If you look at your ONE thing as that domino you will understand the metaphor and that a well-performed action can lead you to big results and success.

Focusing on the ONE thing requires time blocking. Your ONE thing is the most important thing of the day. You have to stick with that.

There are challenges along the way. Determining your ONE thing is difficult if you don't know how to set priorities. You have to learn that, for example by looking different at your to-do list. Split it in could do's and should do's and park the could do's.


Keller describes that along the process you will have to deal with LIES and THIEFS.

I interpret the LIES Keller describes as limiting habits or beliefs that we inherited from our past. From parents, teachers, everyone in our circle who has tried to teach us something based on their own habits and beliefs. They are now yours too if you want it or not....
But to be successful an open mind is necessary. In a lot of situations, you have to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. In my case, and probably in yours too, the idea has been put in our head not to ask too much from life. But if you don't ask much you will not get much, will you? If you want to reach your goals you need Big Answers. And Big Answers require Big Questions! Do, don't be shy. This is just one example of the LIES Keller mentions.

The THIEFS are the things that will make it difficult to keep your focus on your ONE thing. If you don't have the ability to say "No" you will have a problem with blocking time. Once you've learned to say "No" and you will focus on your ONE thing it will mean that other things will not be done. Loose ends, clutter, chaos. You must be able to handle that. Also, your own health habits and the (lack of) support from your environment are THIEFS that Keller explains.

I think The ONE Thing is a wonderful tool to analyse your own life. Look at your habits and beliefs. Are they serving you well or are they working against you? You don't have to implement every aspect of what Keller describes to let the principle have a positive impact on your life. For most of us, it is already a big step to analyse yourself and your mindset in this way. If you have an open-mind and you want to be successful it is obvious that reading and applying The ONE Thing will not be a waste of your time.

Thank you for reading.

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Warm regards,

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