Not having enough time has become one of the biggest reasons why we don’t do the things we really want to.
The idea that we have to fit in as much as possible into our already busy lives is a dangerous mindset to have. The reality is we have a limited number of hours each day and if we continue to have the mindset that “we can do it all” or “we can have it all,” it can lead to:
- High levels of unnecessary pressure or stress.
- Feelings of overwhelm or inadequacy.
- Mental or emotional fatigue.
- Physical health issues such as burnout.
- Slow progress towards achieving goals.
The key is to change our relationship with time and adopt something new that will enable us to utilise the time we have better.
A few years ago, I read a book titled, The One Thing, by Gary Keller, which changed the way I work and how I use my time. Before reading the book, my normal practice was to try to fit as much in as possible every day, sometimes to my detriment.
When working on a project or taking steps towards the achievement of a goal, I would list down as many things as I knew I had to do and would just work through them. While there isn’t anything wrong with this approach, I ended up putting a lot of pressure on myself because there was so many things to get done.
After reading The One Thing, I now apply this rule to most of my projects and activities and it has made a huge difference. Before starting any new project or task, I now ask myself this question:
What is one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary?
A simple example can be writing a book as a project. There are many things that have to be done like deciding on a topic, choosing a title and sub-title, identifying the chapters, creating an outline, deciding on the structure of each chapter, deciding on the length of the book, and so on.
By applying this rule, instead of focusing on so many things that needs to be done, we can just focus on one key activity that will make the other activities easier. In this case, it could be creating an outline for the book. By doing that, it will make it easier to identify the chapters and its structure, and it can also help identify a working title and sub-title.
Once the outline is completed, the next thing to focus on could be to write the chapter we’re most familiar with, which can then lead to the other chapters becoming easier to write.
The Benefits of Using This Rule
A number of things has happened as a result of using this rule consistently.
- It has led to greater levels of clarity when working on projects or tasks.
- It has allowed me to prioritise better.
- It has helped me focus on high-value activities more often instead of trivial, low-value activities.
- It has led to things being done quicker and better because of greater levels of focus.
- It has reduced the level of tension or stress I used to feel when I had a lot of things to get done.
Anyone who will apply this rule will see significant improvements in their effectiveness and their ability to get things done. This will also mean that not having enough time will not be an issue provided we’re clear on what needs to be done first.
Action Step: If you haven’t read the book, The One Thing, by Gary Keller, I would recommend that as the first step. Next, choose a date when you’ll apply this rule to your most important projects or tasks.
Question: What benefit do you think you will gain from applying this rule?