The One Thing

You know that feeling when you get to the end of the day, and even though you’ve been busy all day, you feel like you’ve accomplished NOTHING?

Nothing truly important, anyway.

Recently I have been getting this message repeatedly, from multiple sources, about focusing on “The One Thing.” What is the one thing that is really important to do – today, this week, this month – that if you do, you will have done the most important thing, and if you don’t do, you will have done nothing that’s really important?

In time management terms, this is the constant battle between the urgent vs. the important, and the urgent usually wins out. The One Thing is not usually an urgent thing, which is why it doesn’t make it to the top of the to-do priority list very easily, and if you’re not careful, it can stay at the bottom of the ever-growing list forever.

Another problem with the urgent vs. the important is that a lot of the time the seemingly urgent tasks – emails, appointments, meetings, life planning, general adulting – take a different part of the brain than the important things, such as, in the case of my One Thing today, writing.  So even if I end up with a sliver of time to focus on the important things, my brain is so much in task-management stress mode that it’s incredibly difficult to settle in to a different frame of mind and allow creativity to do its thing.

Even worse, I have absolutely no excuse for being unproductive on the writing front. I have no one – spouse, kids, or even pets – to take care of. I have even taken a sabbatical in order to focus on the important things. Yet here I am, feeling like I can barely cobble together the time and energy for a 30 minute writing session.

In spite of my bleak feelings, though, I am here, doing my One Thing, so there’s that.


How about you? What is your One Thing today, this week, this month? How do you prioritize your time so that you have time for the important things?

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3 thoughts on “The One Thing

  1. I know what you are saying. I am on a break from work, I have spouse, I have the whole day to do many things, but I feel I have not accomplished any thing at the
    End of the day. I would want to write on my blog ,but .i don’t . Hopefully I will find that one thing soon

  2. Definitely good for thought. I’m in the middle of having taken on too much…and I feel like I’m drowning. So, my one thing, at the moment, is remembering to breathe.

  3. Great post, Janelle! And so very true. Most of what we do every day are not things that bring us joy, but simply things we must do.

    Good luck with the writing! I’m sure your writer’s block is temporary.

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