In our last installment, we discussed the need to identify and document our goals to help keep our activities moving forward and to maximize our productivity.
For this round, we’ll be talking about the One Thing. We all have daily habits that we adhere to without even thinking twice about them: making our beds in the morning, making coffee, dressing for work, commuting to work, etc.
We don’t think twice about these things, they are simply necessities of life, which don’t elicit much in the way of feelings one way or the other. And yet they need to be done, so we do them out of habit. These habits are all things that keep us going, whether we acknowledge them or not, but they aren’t the “things” that I’m talking about.
Outside of the standard daily activities that we perform, it can be beneficial to think about that one thing every day that we are most looking forward to. It doesn’t have to be too elaborate. It’s simply that one thing that we absolutely know that we are going to accomplish, regardless of the other activities in our lives. There’s no limit to the possibilities, and it’s going to be different for everybody, like:
- Planning and executing a good workout
- Washing your car
- Mowing the lawn
- Setting up that new meeting with a new client
- Planning a new adventure
Identify one item outside of your daily routine, and make that thing happen by the end of the day. If you can continue to add just one thing to your task list (and complete it) daily, you’ll be amazed at just how much you can get done.
There’s a warning here: don’t overdo it; pick one thing only each day, so it’s a manageable goal and make that thing happen. One thing is plenty, and at the end of a single month, you’ve suddenly bumped up your personal or professional productivity by 30 items, which isn’t too shabby.
Now you are thinking, this sounds great for normal times, but what we are experiencing is far from normal. Consider that in abnormal times it can be an even more valuable tool and can provide results that we hadn’t even considered.
Now is the time to broaden our daily goals to include things we thought we didn’t have time to accomplish. Think more in terms of things that can increase your personal and professional development, or perhaps passing some of your life skills on to your family and friends. Stuff like:
- Teach your kids how to drive a stick shift
- Split wood and run the chain saw with your kids
- Cook with your kids
- Read that technical paper that you’ve been putting off
- Take an online class (it’s surprising just how many free courses offered online)
- Re-connect with old school mates
- Write handwritten letters and send them to family and friends
The list can go on and on, and I just happened to use these examples, as they happen to be the things that I’ve added to my daily list over the last week or so.
The results may really surprise you as they have surprised me, and I’d strongly encourage you to give it a try, it’s gratifying. Who knew that my son would be proficient driving a stick shift on the first outing? Isn’t it awesome to have the kids cook and clean for you for a change?!
We’re all in this together, let’s come out of it on the other side stronger than we were going in by adding that One Thing in our lives every day.