Inc Well | Small Business Advice for Chicago Entrepreneurs
A how-to blog for Chicago business

Why You Might be Spreading Yourself Too Thin (and How to Refocus)

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    If you sometimes feel you’re on a treadmill getting nowhere, then you have to pick up the New York Times bestseller, “The One Thing.” It may change your life.

    Most of us spend too much time multi-tasking, working with checklists and spreading ourselves too thin, then feel frustration at our lack of progress. Co-authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan challenge us in their book to get big by thinking small. You achieve success not by working more but working less. Simply put, trying to do too much doesn’t work.

    “Going small is a simple approach to extraordinary results, and it works,” they write. “It works all the time, anywhere and on anything. Why? Because it has one purpose -- to ultimately get you to the point. When you go as small as possible, you’ll be staring at one thing. And that’s the point.”

    That doesn’t mean you don’t shoot for the moon. Your ultimate dream is possible -- if you prioritize everything and put your time and focus on the most important thing. Ultimately, you accomplish a lot over time.

    They give success story after success story to support their claim. Colonel Sanders started KFC with a secret chicken recipe. The Coors company grew 1,500 percent in 20 years with one product, beer. Apple started with one product, the Mac.

    The co-authors take us down the road of all the myths and lies they say mislead and derail us, including multi-tasking, a disciplines life, willpower always on call, a balanced life, big is bad, and everything matters equally. A to-do list, they write should only contain Should Dos, not Could Dos. They challenge us to ask ourselves: “What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” You need to ask yourself a lot of questions and dig deep for the answers to identify the one true thing.

    The key to “living by priority and for productivity” is by doing something they call “time blocking.” Most people spend too much time each day working on tasks that don’t really matter. For the best results, block off your time in the morning -- for four straight hours. Yes, you read that right, four hours. “Protect your time at all costs,” they write. “Build a bunker, store provisions, sweep for mines (i.e. turn off your cell phone), and enlist support.”

    In the end, the people who go on to produce extraordinary results, work fewer hours, not more. Time blocking makes it possible, leading to a simple, more straightforward approach to life and of course, success. It’s your choice. I, for one, am sold.

    Chris Ruys is passionate about helping organizations increase their visibility and build their credibility to reach their business goals and objectives. The firm, Chris Ruys Communications, does this through the development and implementation of communications strategies that include traditional and social media marketing channels. We operate in collaboration with a network of graphic designers, media & speaker training professionals, professional photographers, videographers and other specialists, as needed. Specialties: Strategic communications, written materials, media relations, social media strategies, special events.