If you are old enough, you may remember the ABC approach to time management that was prevalent during the ’70s. Time management organizers divided letters A, B and C into sections. The letter A was used for any objective or task that was considered the most important. The letter B was for items less important, and the letter C for any tasks less important than B. Some of the current personal organizers utilize a priority method similar to the old ABC approach.
The argument for deciding on priority levels for different tasks sounds logical. But I have a question regarding priorities. If we are not able to finish what we agree is our most important priority (labeled A), does it really matter if we accomplish what is not important or perhaps less important? Why do B or C if we never get complete A? After studying this question for many years, I discovered a powerful answer – one I have personally practiced for decades–that will take any success you currently enjoy to an exceptional level. I will share this formula later in this newsletter.
We all have the same amount of time in a single day. The solution often posed by time-management gurus centers around organizing the unlimited number of tasks we want to accomplish with a fixed amount of time. If 24 hours is the total hours available to us, how do we want to spend that time?
In today’s electronic world, with devices and systems that are created for efficiency, it seems to me that we have less time. The constant bombardment of messages from all kinds of electronic devices is controlling our destiny. Many of us who use Smartphones have sophisticated filter systems to help set aside unwanted emails. Just the act of getting rid of communication that we did not request, and do not want, takes time. We are now spending time and money on systems that will help us to get rid of the clutter. Is it working for you? Something more is needed.
How many of us start reading an email and quickly realize we are not interested? Immediately, we mark read or we delete. But, the simple act of saving or deleting takes time.
How many of us have become glued to our Smartphones? I have heard it described as an appendage, a part of one’s own body. Numerous studies have already been made – I have quoted some of these in past newsletter blogs – showing the danger of to our relationships. And relationships are key to any success we will enjoy in life.
The biggest problem with time management is our communication expressway. We are in the fast lane of communication madness with no exits anywhere. And slowing down poses the risk of getting hit from behind. What should we do?
We are not spending adequate time in the one area that will help us to succeed because we are spending, sometimes not even reluctantly, lots of time on all the communication that controls our lives and is not needed. Not essential. Not helping us to succeed. Not important.
We spend a lot of time each day on things that will never help us succeed. I know because I am also guilty of doing this. How about you?
I actually support organized systems, having used numerous systems over the years. If they help you, be sure to continue using them. But, I want to add one simple strategy that is powerfully effective. I have over four decades of experience with this approach. And, it works. It has been my strategy for sanity in the ever-increasing communication overload that bombards us daily.
My system is easy and it works. And, you do not need to buy a new organizer or go to an expensive seminar to figure out how it works. My simple system is:
Just One Thing.
Identify one thing that will change your life forever that you can accomplish within the next 12 months. Write it down. Repeat it every single day. Don’t discard your current system of organization. Keep your ABC method or other organizing system if, and only if, it actually helps you. Add just one thing.
At the beginning of each day, think about one thing that will forever change your life. At the end of the day, ask yourself if you made progress on the one thing. Any single goal that is going to change your life forever will take many steps to accomplish. As you progress, you may find yourself organizing your approach. Some of this will happen organically, just because of the single focus. But, more important than the style or method you choose is the fact that you identify the one thing and constantly remind yourself of this one thing. And act daily on its progress.
“We become what we think about.” Earl Nightingale
Thank you, Earl, for this valuable quote that came to me early in my adult life. It was one of my takeaways from the Strangest Secret Tapes, which I listened to daily. Over time, I added a few words to his quote:
We become what we think about and consistently do.
Be sure to daily think about the one thing. You will get distracted often because of the communication volume we all experience. And, you are likely to be busy with other things that must get done. This is normal and expected. Despite the interruptions, make a commitment to return to your one thing as often as possible. Think about it when you have time to think. Take a step often. Act.
Think and Act on Just One Thing.
Just one thing. Not two. Not three. Choose one that will forever change your life and can get done in 12 months. When you accomplish this goal, choose another one for the next 12 months.
Here is my guarantee: At the end of five years, no one will recognize the person you have become. Not even you.
Life is too short. Way too short. You have the ability to accomplish many things. Sadly, many of the things we achieve may not be that important.
Instead of accomplishing a long list of many things, set your mind on achieving one life-changing goal. One single purpose, if it is the right one, will change your life forever. Choose to live an exceptional life.
If you want a new organizer, purchase it. If you want to adopt a new time management system, go for it. I can make some good recommendations for both. But whatever I use, I am not going to change one thing. For the rest of whatever time I have to live, there is one certainty regarding major goals in my life. I am going to focus on . . .
Just one thing.
Do you right now know your one thing? Are you getting up each day and thinking about the one thing? Are you working each day, even if just in a small way, on the one thing? Is your one thing something that will forever affect your life?
Five years from now, you will no longer recognize me.
Today, I will concentrate on …
Just one thing.