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A Myth We Have All Believed

I wanted to share something with you that I read a couple of weeks ago. I just finished “The ONE Thing,” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. I am reading it a second time because there was so much information, I probably missed some stuff. But one thing I just re-read for the second time that stuck with me was the myth that everything matters equally.

(Keller and Papasan show this as Myth 1 of the 6 Productivity Myths, for those of you following along at home.)

If you think about it, we all know this myth is total junk. We all know in our heads and hearts that all things do NOT matter equally. It’s more important to pay your power bill than to go to a movie; it’s more important to pay your kid’s college tuition than to buy a new boat, and it’s more important to invest in a new Apple computer than to repair a 6-year-old Dell desktop.

So, we know that some things are more important than others. But our actions sometimes show that we believe the opposite. When we run around our respective offices with our heads on fire, pretending that it is just as important to respond to each and every email that dings our inbox as it is to send out a proposal to a new client or develop a plan for growing our business, we act as though we believe that all things matter equally.

Keller and Papasan are obviously building to something, right? The title of the book gives it away….what is your ONE thing? If you believe that all things matter equally, you will probably never find the ONE thing you should be doing right now.

There’s way more in this book than I can allude to here, but here is what I want you to think about: Do you behave during your work day like everything matters equally? If I watched you work for a full day, would I be able to see what YOU think is the most important aspect of your job?

I’ve been guilty of not putting the most important things first. Some days, I just want to see my to-do list get smaller, or for my inbox to feel less intimidating. So, I get in there and respond to 5 emails and check a couple of minor tasks off my to-do list, and then guess what? The productive part of my day is gone. I’ve accomplished nothing of true and real value, and I wasted the day.

The days are too precious; we can’t create more time. So, why do we pretend to be productive by hiding behind unimportant tasks at the expense of the important ones? I’m not saying that the unimportant things don’t deserve to be done at all….they just need to be done in their order of true importance.

I know that you’re thinking….because I thought the same thing. “If I leave those less important tasks for the time when I have free-time and can do them, they’ll never get done.” Bingo! If the task is never important enough to move to the top of your list, then why are you doing it?

I just blew your mind, didn’t I? I know it blew my mind when I read it. What does this truly mean? To me, it means someone else should be doing the task. If you’re a solopreneur, and you have no one else to help you, maybe it’s time to find someone on a part-time basis to help you with these tasks.

Or maybe you need to say “no” to more things.

If this has stirred up some thoughts and questions, get in touch with me and let’s talk about it. I’d probably learn something from you on how you approach the important things.

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