Work-Work Balance: Do Just One Thing at a Time to Get Best Results

Leslie Grossman
Leslie Grossman

Conventional wisdom tells us more is always better. For PR and ad agency owners, this might translate to more clients, more customers, more billable hours and more employees. However, more is not always better, especially when it comes to multitasking and working on ten projects simultaneously instead of one.

This notion was reinforced after I finished reading “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” (Bard Press, 2013), by Gary Keller, which now has me focusing on doing one thing at a time well instead of trying to do as much as possible.

Most PR and ad folks multitask. The environment demands they cross off as many things as possible from their continuously growing to-do lists. But does it get them the outcomes they want? Sometimes, but it can be a slow process and, at times, counterproductive. I just don’t want to get a lot of stuff “done.” I want extraordinary results.

After reading Keller’s book, I now believe there is a simple formula to get outstanding results and it doesn’t come from crossing off items on a checklist.

Here’s two key actions to take:

1. Identify the one thing that is your purpose in business or in life.

2. Identify the one thing that you should take action on to achieve that purpose.

It sounds exceedingly simple. And it is. Execution is the rub.

The book says to start each day asking an essential question: “What’s the one thing I can do today that by doing will make everything else easier or even unnecessary?”

When you do this, your direction will become clear. Your work will be more productive and your personal life more rewarding.

For example, last week, the one thing I could do to make everything easier was to write and complete a complicated presentation. In the past, I would have waited until two days before it was due, busy doing less important things to cross off my list.

Leaving the presentation until the last minute always caused me late nights of work and plenty of stress. It also impacted my team, since I was not my usual happy self.

Deploying the “One Thing” strategy, the presentation was completed ahead of schedule. The small items on my list were either delegated or, in some cases, no longer needed. It was a revelation. Ask yourself the magic question every day, take action and watch how different the results in your business can be.

Leslie Grossman is author of “LINK OUT: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections,” Vistage International, New York Chair, and leadership coach. Sign up for her newsletter here  or view her TEDx Talk “Value of Having an Entourage.”