x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Actions speak louder than to-do lists

The Life: Here is a book for busy people that recommends forgetting about multitasking and focusing on what really needs to be achieved.

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

It markets itself as a book for busy people. And if there is one problem with reading The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, it's finding the time to actually read it.

But once you do settle down to scrutinise the philosophy shared by Gary Keller and his co-author Jay Papasan, you will find yourself flicking through this very digestible book at breakneck speed.

Thousands of books have been written about time management and success but this New York Times best-seller cuts straight to the point.

To succeed in life, and that's in all areas of your life, we need to simplify what we are doing by "going small" and focusing on one thing at a time.

The book illustrates this theory with successful companies that have made their fortunes by focusing on a single product. KFC and its secret chicken recipe is rolled out along with Starbucks and even Star Wars.

But how does the man on the street live The One Thing lifestyle?

Well, for starters we need to avoid distraction and focus on the most important task of that moment.

The book banishes multitasking and to-do lists to the bin, instead showing how easily people lose focus and end up accomplishing little because they attempt to do too much at one time.

Keller writes: "When everything feels urgent and important, everything seems equal. We become active and busy, but this doesn't actually move us any closer to success. Activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business."

It appears rather than completing 50 insignificant tasks, we should focus on one that is meaningful.

In Keller's world we should all learn to say no, allow what matters most to drive our day and avoid checking things off a list.

What follows is a clear guide in how to decide what that one thing is so that it is prioritised and focused on until completion at the expense of everything else.

This is a part self-help, part motivational book, but however you see it, it has the necessary ingredients to boost those feeling a little overwhelmed by the pressures of work and home life.

By encouraging the mind to focus on the work or chores that are most bothersome, it should instil habits that ensure more gets done and those tasks that simply don't need to get done are ignored.

It certainly goes some way to explaining why some achieve more in life than others.

 

arayer@thenational.ae