Quick Skim: The One Thing by Gary Keller

The One ThingIN A NUTSHELL: 
“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” This book came at just the right time for me and hit me right between the eyes. In it, Gary Keller pushes back on today’s popular multitasking philosophies and discusses the importance of being able to focus on one thing and bring it to completion. He raises what he calls “the focusing question,” which is: What’s the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? 

This is one of those books that is very simple, yet needed. It is separated into three sections. The first is debunking 6 common Lies about productivity such as multitasking, self-discipline, and a balanced life. He then moves on to the Truth about productivity before ending with Extraordinary Results where he discusses 3 key commitments and 4 common thieves.

I am going to cheat and pick 2, because they’re related. The first is the idea that “success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right” or restated “when you do the right thing, it can liberate you from having to monitor everything.” My natural tendency (e.g. when setting personal goals), is to have so many goals that I can’t keep track of them all. This lack of clarity and focus on the most important eventually results in the failure of all.

The second Golden Nugget is found in Chapter 15: the idea of time blocking. Very simply stated, this is the practice of setting aside time every day for your One Thing then protecting that time like a madman. Since reading this chapter, I have totally rearranged my daily work schedule. Each morning I focus on my One Thing before my day has a chance to get off track with meetings and other urgent interruptions. I’ve actually blocked this time on my calendar and made an appointment with myself for this time. So far, it is working well!

GaryKeller_Speaking_horizontal_highresABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gary Keller is the cofounder and chairman of Keller Williams Realty, which is the #1 real estate company in the US. For more on this book, you can go to the supplementary website.

Nearly anyone can benefit from this book.
Students who are trying to figure out how to prioritize their summer, workers trying to develop new skills, parents prioritizing their kids’ activities, or business leaders developing strategy for their company. If you have more projects than time, you need this book.

The One Thing is on my recommended reading list. For the full list, click here. 


4 thoughts on “Quick Skim: The One Thing by Gary Keller

  1. From a personal perspective, this helps me: “At the end of my life what is the ONE THING that, if it is not accomplished, makes everything else not matter at all?” From a mom’s perspective, this helps me: “At the end of this day, what is the ONE THING, if nothing else gets done, that will make this day successful {according to God’s standard of success}?” From a teacher’s perspective this helps me: “What is the ONE THING I want my students to take away from this lesson?” And from a wife’s perspective this helps me: “What is ONE THING I can do today to love my husband and invest back into our relationship?” There is just too much going on in a single day/year/life to do it all. I need this message of simplification and prioritization every day. Thanks for the review!

  2. funny how the things that matter the most tend to be the things we most easily ignore. making an appointment with our one thing is a good habit.

    • Agreed! It goes back to Covey’s urgent/important time management matrix. There is never a shortage of urgent things, so one must be intentional about making time for the important. Thanks for the recommendation on this book – it’s a good one!

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