“Do one thing at a time, and while doing it put your whole soul into it to the exclusion of all else.” ~ Swami Vivekananda
How many things are you simultaneously juggling right now?
At last check, I had six windows open on my computer. I be togglin.’ My messages are open on my phone so I won’t forget to reply to a friend (oh, hold up, I actually did forget to reply to someone earlier). I’m thinking about a blog post for next week. Should I spend today (the Australia Day public holiday) on the computer or making wedding decorations? I really need to get to the Post Office tomorrow to buy stamps for our invites. What about that e-book and blog redesign – practically, could I get them done in the first half of the year? Yes? Maybe? Who knows. Oh gosh, Dad, how long has it been since I called my Dad? The weekend – what’s on this weekend? Baby shower! A friend’s baby shower and a first birthday and I don’t have presents for either. Yikes.
Welcome to my brain. What a hoot. Sound like you too?
The truth is, a lot of us are maxing capacity right now. Our focus is off because we’re rushing/ toggling/ over-exerting/ adrenal-zapping all over the place and sadly, we’re often doing ourselves an injustice trying to do more than humanly possible in totally unrealistic carriages of time. It’s exhausting.
Here’s a proposal:
Why don’t we get all wild and rambunctious and flip things on their head for a bit? What if, instead of doing a legion of things half-heartedly, we made the decision to hone in on one important thing every day, and committed – no matter what – to getting it done?
Revolutionary? Too simplistic? Impossibilité? Not if it’s taking you closer to achieving your long-term goals and making you happy and more fulfilled in the process.
Here’s the deal:
FOR SELF-ACTUALISATION: Define one important long-term goal and work on it for an hour every day.
Pull out your diary and have a good look at your goals. If you were told you could only choose one of them to focus for the rest of the year, which would it be?
I’ve started putting a number priority beside the tasks on my daily to-do list (1 is obviously the Most Pressing Thing and 10 is the Can Probably Wait stuff) which I’ve found to be really helpful to ensure I don’t get struck down with the dreaded Overwhelm.
Try doing this with your goals list until you identify the one goal that you’d most like to achieve in 2012 – then start chipping away at it, bit by bit. It’s as easy as that. 60 minutes a day for 365 days is equal to 21,900 minutes, or 365 hours, spent working on your exceptional goal every year.
Pretty impressive when you put like that, huh?
FOR GROWTH + INSPIRATION: Read/ watch/ listen to one thing that inspires you every day.
If you can, do this first thing as there’s nothing better than starting the day listening to an inspiring podcast, watching an awesome video online or reading a thought-provoking blog post that really gets the cogs churning.
My favourite resources:
+ Oprah’s Lifeclass videos
+ Cheryl Richardson’s podcasts. Cheryl interviews provocative thinkers whose work is changing the world in some way in her free podcasts (search her name in iTunes to find the list) and they’re super inspiring. My favourites are the interviews with Natalie Goldberg (author of one of my favourite books on writing ‘Bird by Bird), Louise Hay and Jackie Collins.
+ Gabrielle Bernstein’s podcasts and guided meditations – also free on iTunes – and her brilliant videos.
FOR EDUCATION + ENLIGHTENMENT: Read one chapter of a good book every day.
If you’re anything like me and order new books like ink and paper stores are about to be completely annihilated, you’re probably a touch overwhelmed by the growing stack on your nightstand. No time, too many to get through, why bother starting – and all that jazz.
It’s all about chunking. Reading one chapter a day of a book with 15 chapters will have you finishing it in just over two weeks, and I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty manageable to me. There’s something insanely satisfying about holding a finished book in your hands and displaying it proudly on your bookshelf, so if you’re a book-fiend like me, make a little time to immerse yourself in those pages. Books open doors, in your mind and in your life.
FOR HEALTH + WELLNESS: Allocate one hour of ‘you time.’
Whether it’s to exercise, cook an amazing meal bursting with nutrients, meditation time, stretching out on the yoga mat, doing a top-to-toe beauty blitz, or doing whatever else replenishes your energy stores and brings harmony to your life, commit to it. It doesn’t have to be all at once – you might break your hour into halves or quarters – but it’s so necessary. We all spend a large portion of our time meeting the needs of others and it’s so incredibly important we pay ourselves the same respect.
FOR POSITIVITY + MAGIC-MAKING: Write down one thing to be grateful for every day.
You might have noticed in my Making Me Happy posts that (on average) I post about seven things that have really stood out for me over the prior week. That’s the equivalent of one blessing per day, and I think we can all agree, on even the darkest of days, there’s always something (no matter how tiny) that we can send the universe a little ‘thank you’ for.
I loved reading back on my gratitude lists from last year when I was pulling together my 2011 in Review post and I can’t speak highly enough about documenting your daily joy. Added up over a year, that’s a shipload of pleasure!
+ Write one paragraph in your journal every night to describe your day. Detail how you felt, what you did, who you chatted to, what steps you took towards your dreams.
+ Decide that instead of trying to catch up with all your friends every weekend – racing here, there and everywhere – you’ll commit to seeing just one of your beautiful friends and give them your full, undivided attention.
+ What are your thoughts on ‘the power of just one thing?’ Do you agree that doing less and doing it well leads to greater achievement of your dreams?