Years ago I read the book The One Thing. It challenged me in a lot of ways and gave me a lot to think about.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway was this quote from author Gary Keller: “What’s the ONE THING you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
In fact, for a long time I had that quote in my main Excel file that I use every day to take notes and organize tasks.
I tried to keep that idea top of mind and to try to step back and examine situations with that lens.
In today’s world, we’re all busy. Projects, deadlines, to do lists, quality issues, customers, hiring and retaining talent, texts, meetings, calls… it goes on and on.
And sometimes we find ourselves just sort of treading water or putting out fires because there is so much beating down the door of our mind.
But I love that quote and idea from the book and want us to think a little more about it.
If we were to be to display all of the demands that are on us and our team members on a large piece of paper in front of us, how many of those could be eliminated or made easier by doing just a single thing?
The single thing could be trying or buying a new app or piece of technology. It could be hiring one new position that help organize, communicate and keep things in order and running smoothly. It could be changing one thing about how the organization is run, a policy or procedure.
I’m an Excel guy so I’ve seen this time and time again with automating spreadsheets for people I’ve worked with. Maybe there’s a file that a lot of people use, but it’s cumbersome and inefficient and maybe even confusing. Over the years I’ve helped solve this problem time and again by enhancing Excel or Google Sheets files to save time and energy and improve communication at the same time.
You really never know until you step back and look at everything this way.
Maybe it would help to be able to quantify where your time is going as well as take a stab at the energy required for the various tasks.
However you do it, I think you’ll find this approach can really be a powerful way to start to get some breathing room.
It reminds me of the Abraham Lincoln quote, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
President Lincoln knew that the one thing that would make the chopping easier was to focus on the sharpness of the axe.
How can you sharpen your axe? What one thing could you change or put into place this coming week that could have the biggest impact for you and your team?
Let me know what that is for you by shooting me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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