I’ve had the weirdest experience over the past few months. I’m not rushed, I’m not running from thing to thing like a rabid cheetah hopped up on coke. I’m not trying to do a million different things at once. My days are relatively relaxed and simple, I’m still quite productive, and my business is doing better than ever. Most importantly, I’m actually making progress towards my goals.
Before this, most of my life has been a series of frustrations, constantly overworked, trying to make things happen and failing woefully, leaving a trail of abandoned projects in my wake. True, you could account for the expected failure rate of trying out new thing. But that was no way to live.
What caused this turn around? The paradox – You have to slow down to go faster. Two books were very instrumental in helping me come to this new understanding. The first is ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport, the second is ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller. I cannot recommend these two enough. I liked ‘The One Thing’ so much I bought it as a gift for my mentors.
How do you slow down to go faster? You have to come to terms with a few things. First, you don’t have to do a lot of things. In fact, if you can just identify what the most important thing is and do that, even if you did nothing else, you are still massively more productive than if you got a thousand trivial things done. That means letting bad things happen and relentlessly focusing on the most important thing until it is done. For the past two months, my One Thing has been pulling back from the technical nitty-gritty of my design business to working on the business itself, redesigning it from the ground up – the services and packages I offer, the clients I target, the value I deliver and the growth/evolution trajectory I wish to follow.
Obviously to make this practically work, I still need to juggle working with clients, attending meetings and other such tasks, But entire days and weeks are blocked off to working on the One Thing. And I work on the One Thing, not on the clothing idea I have, not on the book ideas I have, not on my blog, not on that other startup idea, just this One Thing, because when this is in place, it becomes so much easier to overlay everything else onto it.
When this One Thing is done, I will move on to the next One Thing.
And when I’m working on this One Thing, I’m not doing anything else. My phone is off, my internet access is disabled (unless I need to do research) and I’m just hacking away until the task is done. Thank you Cal. The One Thing is the most important thing, and the One Thing deserves the best of my attention and energy.
When I’m not working, I chill, I relax, I think, I read, I say NO.
Slowing down, working DEEPLY on the ONE Thing allows me to build with perspective. With the added time to think and reflecrt, I can take my time to understand the lay of the land, to line up the dominoes so that I know that what I’m doing right now is directly in line with what I want 5 years down the line.
So far so good.