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The ONE Thing

The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results

By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
18-minute read
Audio available
The ONE Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The ONE Thing (2013) helps you to discover your most important goal, and gives you tools to ensure you can use your time productively to get there. The book reveals that many of the maxims we accept as good practice are actually myths that only hinder our progress. It also provides advice on how to live your life with priority, purpose and productivity without sending other aspects of life out of balance, because this is the way to perform the kind of focused work that leads to great success.

  • Anyone looking to improve their productivity
  • Anyone who has trouble finding time to commit to their goal
  • Anyone looking for greater clarity and purpose in their daily life

Gary Keller is co-founder and chairman of the board of Keller Williams Realty International, a company he grew from a small office in Austin, Texas, to become the largest real estate company in the US. His previous three books formed the Millionaire Real Estate Series and have all been bestsellers.

Jay Papasan is the executive editor and vice-president of publishing at Keller Williams Realty, and is the president of Rellek Publishing. He has also co-authored numerous bestselling books, including the Millionaire Real Estate Series.

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The ONE Thing

The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results

By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 11 key ideas
The ONE Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Synopsis

The ONE Thing (2013) helps you to discover your most important goal, and gives you tools to ensure you can use your time productively to get there. The book reveals that many of the maxims we accept as good practice are actually myths that only hinder our progress. It also provides advice on how to live your life with priority, purpose and productivity without sending other aspects of life out of balance, because this is the way to perform the kind of focused work that leads to great success.

Key idea 1 of 11

Prioritize your to-dos – they are not all equally important.

Most people, from time to time, make “to-do” lists to keep track of all the tasks they have to complete. But once you have your list, how do you decide which item to work on first?

Do you start with the most time-consuming ones, or get smaller tasks checked off first? Maybe you just work through them in the order they were written?

These approaches fail to address a key point: all items are not equally important.

In fact, it is likely that only a few of them will have a profound impact, and these should therefore be given the highest priority.

This conclusion can be drawn from the work of Joseph M. Juran, a pioneer of quality-control management. Whilst working for General Motors, he discovered that a majority of the defects in their cars came from only a handful of production flaws. It was clear that fixing these flaws should be their highest priority.

Juran named his finding the Pareto Principle, after an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who wrote a model for wealth and income distribution in nineteenth-century Italy. In the model, Pareto showed that 80 percent of the land was owned by 20 percent of the people. Juran had noted that these proportions matched his own: 80 percent of the defects came from just 20 percent of the flaws.

Juran realized that this 80/20 principle may in fact be a universal law: 80 percent of your results or outputs are always delivered by 20 percent of your work or inputs.

The implications of this principle are clear: the tasks on your to-do list are not equally important; just a small number of them will make the greatest contribution to your success. Prioritize your tasks to focus on the ones that will achieve the greatest proportion of your results.

Prioritize your to-dos – they are not all equally important.

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