We tend to get lost in long lists of tasks to be done, the so-called “to do list”. While this can be a useful exercise in many ways, it can be disconcerting because the number of tasks can be endless. So why is it important to define one thing to do each day and the rest would be a bonus?
When you set one big thing to do each day, you set a course, an important direction that allows you to neglect secondary aspects of your daily life. Imagine you want to be an astronaut, it is more than essential to make studying mathematics or science in general your daily priority. This task is Your one thing, the one thing that matters most because it connects you with your “future self”. An ambitious goal is necessarily broken down into small milestones corresponding to a stage in your journey towards your personal dream, which is why it is necessary to reconnect with different approaches to time.
The advice comes from the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. According to the authors, there are 6 lies that prevent us from being successful or achieving important results.
Everything is equally important
Equality is a value that is good in some situations (e.g. equal rights between citizens of the same nation etc.) however, when it comes to equality in the importance of tasks to be accomplished, it is a symbol of a lack of discernment or prioritisation. If you are seeking to achieve a particular outcome, you will necessarily prioritise actions to optimise your approach. Equality has no place in someone who knows where they are going.
Multitasking is productive
Multitasking hinders your productivity because it splits your attention. Your attention works like a laser, only by focusing energy can you achieve a substantial result. People who are adept at multitasking ignore the loss of attention that occurs when you switch from one task to another.
Life must be balanced
There is no such thing as balance at any one time in life. Balance as we understand it is a mirage. It is only over a long period of time that one can speak of balance by alternating periods devoted to work, family, self-improvement etc. Finally, life is like a bicycle that moves forward: it is only by alternating between different phases that it can reach balance and move forward.
The will works “on demand
The will does not work “on demand”, but rather behaves like a tank that is refilled every day. Once this reservoir is exhausted, it is futile to want to continue, it is wiser to change activity, to rest, so that it fills up again.
Big thinking is bad
Thinking big is good because it allows you to have actions from the start that are related to an ambitious goal. By giving yourself big goals, you will create a certain amount of stress that will drive your actions and in fact, you will start off on the right trajectory.
Self-discipline conquers all
It’s not so much self-discipline that will win the day as the establishment of good habits. Of course, it takes discipline to establish a habit. However, establishing a habit does not mean being strong-willed and ultra-disciplined. Habits (both good and bad) have the advantage of having a kind of inertia. Once they are in place, they carry you along like a speeding train. There is no point in trying to rely on your self-discipline every day, you risk getting discouraged after a while.
The 3 rhythms of life
Life imposes its rhythm on us, whether it is biology or the frantic race of the earth around the sun, there are always external elements that impose their laws on us, whether we like it or not. Nevertheless, this common sense of adapting to these cycles is not followed by all, there are spheres that deny this reality, the first of which is professional life. Career injunctions often ignore biological realities, which raises questions about their level of wisdom.
The failure to see the need to respect the human is evident at three time scales: the day, the year and the lifetime. Essentially, the human being in the economic sense has to work hard during the best years of his life, those when he is young and most productive, with the carrot of a retirement at the end of forty years or so that will allow him to finally live the life he dreamed of. From an accounting point of view, it is also in society’s interest that people die soon after retirement, because during this period they represent a cost to society. How cynical! Let’s look at 3 aspects of time to bring it back into line with biological reality.
Before the 20th century, most of humanity learned at home. We could talk about professional training on a large scale. Today, this is done by the school, which allows parents to be fully available for their work. Essentially, it is not the loss of religious values that has contributed to the decline of family values, it is above all work. How do you build relationships with people if you spend most of your days in the office or the factory. The school and the factory have pushed family members further apart, and even more so when women have also found jobs outside the domestic sphere. A day should not be all work, there should be time for oneself and one’s family. In an ideal world, people would only work 5 hours a day so that many things can be done outside of work (childcare, domestic activities etc.)
The year is characterised by seasons, i.e. variations in temperature and sunlight to which our bodies and minds respond. It is wise to take these changes into account in order to modify our workload and adapt it to the natural elements that influence us. It is therefore a good idea to choose outdoor activities when the weather is warmer, just as it is reasonable to sleep more in winter to take account of the energy wasted by the cold and lack of light.
As people work less in their youth, they should work longer. Ideally until they die. Measured and intelligent work is a blessing for health. Of course, this idea is not true for physical jobs that cannot be done at advanced ages. The idea here is to be active throughout one’s life to help support society while gaining personal satisfaction and esteem.