by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Prioritize Your One Thing For Greatest Impact
Gary Keller’s #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller, The One Thing The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results offers powerfully effective advice on working toward goals. Keller suggests the power in prioritizing boils down to choosing only ONE thing to focus on at a time.
But Keller’s real gem of wisdom is his strategy behind how to select that one thing. Keller’s guidance is to choose the one task that has the most powerfully direct effect on reaching your specific goal. Plan your day, week, month, quarterly actions around this one prioritized goal.
Goodbye multi-tasking. Close out all other programs, postpone meetings, let your people know not to disturb you, shut the door, and do that one thing without interruption. That one thing has to be something that will make the greatest impact or momentum toward reaching your desired goal.
Do Things That Matter Most To You And Let The Flies Go
Once you choose one thing to focus on, know that you will have to let other things slide to complete that one thing. That’s the art of prioritizing; you don’t do every little thing, or take every call, or answer every email, like swatting flies as they appear at a picnic lunch.
Really. How much good does all your arm-waving do, anyway? Flies will always be there. Or they’ll come back. They know where to find you.
It takes adjustment to let go of tasks you’ve habitually maintained, despite how little impact they make on what’s important to you. We’re so used to being busy. But not necessarily productive on the things that matter.
Get in the habit of concentrating solely on that one thing that moves you closer to your ultimate goal. Keep your attention on that one job each hour/day/week until you complete it. Then move to the next most effective thing.
Sacrifice The Lesser Things On Your To-Do List
I love this strategy. I must confess I fall off the one-thing-wagon at times. But when I make the effort toward my most important daily task in this way, and stay the course on that one thing in front of me, I accomplish what is necessary for my success. And it makes me feel great.
I struggle with letting go of juggling an endless supply of other tasks to attend to my mission of prime concern. But I find those other things are far less meaningful or enjoyable, and definitely don’t have as much impact on my big goal as my top assignment.
Failure And Your Problems Are A Powerful Catalyst To Your Success
I recently spoke with University of Kentucky Associate Professor Ryan Hargrove, of the Department of Design and Agriculture on the creative process. Hargrove teaches metacognition and creative thinking through his class, ‘Living On The Right Side of the Brain.’
[Listen to the podcast of my interview with Hargrove on the creative process.]
Hargrove shared that creative thinking leads to successful outcomes, whether it’s a problem to solve or an inspiration for a new creative project. Through his work with students, and collaborations with creative professionals, Hargrove has found that a key aspect to creative flow is allowing for and valuing failure as part of the process.
Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
When failure is used to reflect on your way of thinking, to consider what went wrong, it often functions as the catalyst for a new approach. Hargrove says it’s important to be willing to endure the discomfort of a problem state, or a failure, as that area of awkward ambiguity or angst is where a creative solution or inspiration springs forth. Instead of being a reason to quit, failure can lead to extraordinary success.
This is due to the significant mental effort of reflection on your previous approach to the problem. Analyzing a failure results in learned lessons and knowledge, allowing fresh perspectives to emerge.
How To Use Failure As A Springboard To Success
Sticking with this process takes you past your comfort zone, to think differently than you have until this moment. Working through a problem or failure is a critical and powerful means to creativity and solutions.
So don’t worry about failures or new obstacles that arise on the way toward your goals. These allow you to expand your creative vista and reach beyond your current condition. This is the kind of energetic momentum necessary to reach your bigger goal.
It Ain’t Over Until You Decide It’s Over
Don’t get too comfortable with your success, either. Each time you reach a goal, you’ll have to start the process again from the top. For every victory gained, you’ll have the next level’s box of new, perceived restrictions to surpass.
But continuing to extend and multiply your goals will open your path to a new sense of accomplishment. Each new measure of success provides yet another shot for you to further expand yourself. You’ll only feel a plateau until you reset your goals outside that box.
The sky is the limit.
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In my CREATIVITY blogs, you’ll find tips for exploring creative flow, and inspiring content related to the inherent challenges and tremendous joy within the creative process.