Mastering the Time involves soul searching, list making, filtering, prioritizing and planning.
The underlying principle in the book The ONE Thing revolves around the Focusing Question: “What’s The ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” That seems like a fairly simple and straightforward question… The problem is that answering that question takes digging, sifting and patience – not unlike panning for gold.
The first time you ask that question about an aspect of your life or a goal, you have to decide what you really want. You have to boil it down to something measurable. Then, you pull out a pad of paper and make a list of possible ways to get there. There are about 10-15 options… So you ask the Focusing Question again to rank those possibilities. It goes pretty well until you end up with 3 or 4 key ones that seem to tie. So you ask the Focusing Question one more time to rank those 3-4 possibilities. You go round and round until you can finally identify the ONE that trumps the others with regards to the impact it will have. Congratulations! You have just modeled the Pareto Principle. You now have a starting point.
I spent some time today on the phone with Seth Campbell – a guy who is living this process on a daily basis and making some serious headway on his dreams and goals. Seth wrote a great review on The ONE Thing on Amazon.com that describes the impact the book The ONE Thing has had on his life. Frankly, it sounded a little too good to be true. So I wanted to ask Seth some questions. What I respected most about Seth’s journey was that he wasn’t looking to replace or reinvent who he was. Seth was looking to “refine” who he was. Throughout it all, Seth’s faith remained first and foremost in his life. The Bible was #1 and everything else wrapped around that.
To process through all of this Seth created something he calls his 31-411. Thirty one days, four weeks, 1 month, 1 year. This is basically a sheet of paper that boils down all the soul-searching, list making, filtering, prioritizing and planning around each life goal. “It’s a training tool not a hammer” he says. Some goals are business – some are personal. Coming away from our conversation, I had some huge ah-ha’s:
- Make the Time – then Master the Time.
- Momentum is crucial in building new habits. Do not move on until some basic mastery of the task at hand has been achieved. Stacking new tasks on top of each other too fast results in all of them crashing to the ground.
- Seth’s dashboard (his 31-411) has to be reviewed every evening in preparation for the next day.
- You can only do one job at a time.
- Sifting for the ONE Thing takes about 3 cycles and some tenacity
- Identifying a ONE Thing takes a LOT of time in the beginning. Once it sets off the Domino Effect though, the impact is far-reaching.
Now the hard work begins and with each round I will step one step closer to fulfilling my goals and dreams – all before lunchtime!