Spreading Yourself Too Thin?

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We women are the ultimate multitaskers. We take great pride in being able to juggle a career and family, and proudly run our lives with lengthy to-do lists, striving to have it all.

A new book says that approach to life is a recipe for failure. Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, co-authors of the New York Times bestseller, The One Thing, say most of us spend too much time multitasking, working with check-lists and spreading ourselves too thin, feeling frustration at our lack of progress. Your business can get big by thinking small. Success can be achieved not by working more but working less. Simply put, trying to do too much doesn’t work.

“Going small is a simple approach to extraordinary results, and it works,” they write. “It works all the time, anywhere and on anything. Why? Because it has one purpose – to ultimately get you to the point. When you go as small as possible, you’ll be staring at one thing. And that’s the point.”

That doesn’t mean you don’t shoot for the moon. Your ultimate dream is possible – if you prioritize everything and put your time and focus on the most important thing. Ultimately, you accomplish a lot over time.

They give success story after story to support their claim. Colonel Sanders started KFC with a secret chicken recipe. The Coors company grew 1,500 percent in 20 years with one product, beer. Apple started with one product, the Mac.

The co-authors take us down the road of all the myths and lies they say mislead and derail us, including multitasking, a disciplines life, willpower always on call, a balanced life, big is bad and everything matters equally. A to-do list, they write should only contain Should Dos, not Could Dos. They challenge us to ask ourselves: “What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” You need to ask yourself a lot of questions and dig deep for the answers to identify the one true thing.

The key to “living by priority and for productivity” is by doing something they call “time blocking.” Most people spend too much time each day working on tasks that don’t really matter. For the best results, block off your time in the morning – for four straight hours. Yes, you read that right, four hours. “Protect your time at all costs,” they write. “Build a bunker, store provisions, sweep for mines (i.e. turn off your cell phone), and enlist support.”

In the end, the people who go on to produce extraordinary results, work fewer hours, not more. Time blocking makes it possible, leading to a simple, more straightforward approach to life and, of course, success. It’s your choice. I, for one, am sold.


About Chris Ruys

Chris Ruys is founder and president of Chris Ruys Communications, Inc., a marketing/public relations firm that specializes in high visibility campaigns using both traditional and social media strategies. Her blog, originally called "Getting Social," was launched in October 2010 as a way to share her progress as a "student" of social media. While she's still learning, Ms. Ruys has broadened the scope to include other aspects of marketing communications and PR, including blogging, email, traditional media and advertising in the blog she now calls "Proactive PR."