The One Thing....

Sometimes I look at my 'to do' list and it gives me the shakes.

But then outlook on 'to do' lists is probably not your average outlook.

I tend towards 'to do' mania...always fearful of throwing out the previous 'to do' list in case I miss something...or something on my old list suddenly becomes important again. I have 'to do' notebooks all the way back to the 1990's. I save them all...and..yes, I admit to secretly enjoying guesstimating where and when I wrote them.

Maybe it's an expat thing...moving from country to country with my lists. I kind of see them as a window into the 'day to day' of my previous lives....painting supplies in Sydney, fundraising ideas in Auckland, day trips in and around London, creating an herb gardens in Vietnam and the occasional reminders to take a hike in New Hampshire. Simple day to day lists of yesteryear which have become hidden treasures today.

Except...I have ONE big problem. My 'to do' lists of today have become procrastinating lists, some tasks and projects seem beyond comprehension and unmanageable.  I often wonder if I have become my own worst enemy.

Can you relate?


I am reading a book called The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan...which essentially suggests you concentrate on one thing and do it well. I discovered the book through Laura McClellan's podcast, The Productive Woman. I enjoy the honesty in Laura's words and am thankful for the things she inspires me to do. You can listen and read her podcast here.

Do you ever ask yourself what the ONE thing that is most important to you? What is the ONE thing you most want to accomplish? If you could put all your energy into that ONE thing...would you finally accomplish that elusive goal or maybe determine what your next goal should be?

If you start reading this book you will be asking yourself similar questions about that ONE thing that could potentially make a difference in your life.

It makes me think about how I am living my life and wondering if I am asking myself the right questions. I am in an unusual situation at the moment, living between three countries, I often wonder how I can make the most of this time without freaking out over three countries worth of 'to do' lists.

I have decided to take my long lists and 'go small', focusing on what matters most and if the three lists merge into one or two things... I know I am on the right track. Going small. It is surprisingly easy when you put your mind to it.

""Going Small" is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It's recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It's a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It's realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus."

All this after reading a few chapters, I can't wait to see what comes next!

The One Thing..
you can read it here

Happy Simplyfing!

Jeanne xx

For those of you feeling Queenly,
a Queenism.



  1. Each one of us has many one things. To select which one we have to focus on is hard. Which one is the most essential. For happiness?

    Which book should I finish first.

    The point is SELECT ONE.
    Thank you Jeanne for the book suggestion.

  2. Oops, just had a wonderful comment that went into the ether world! In a nutshell, my to-do lists are strictly utilitarian and I derive great pleasure is crossing off each errand or task, crumpling the paper and tossing it into the trash! Now, don't ask me about my wish lists or notes I take while researching or books to be read. I will likely go to my grave with the majority of them! That's not meant to be morbid, just practical. Multi-tasking is, I believe, the bane of modern life. It doesn't allow any time to process things and rather than enhancing, I feel it dilutes our lives. Stephen Covey's big rock theory is what comes to mind as a guide to prioritize our lives. As regards balancing our lives, I love this quote:
    "If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
    And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
    Sell one, and with the dole
    Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
    Mosleh Eddin Saadi

    P.S. Weighing in again on the moniker of your Hong Kong abode, I love "The Perch"!
    "Practically perfect in every way", so says Mary Poppins! :)

  3. Hi Jeanne, it's actually a very good idea your day by day list and you should not worry if you can't some things not accomplish. We all, sure, do our best to do as much as possible but there are also sometimes too many things on the list.
    In particular in your case when you travel within weeks from country to country.
    take it with serenity and enjoy all what you have accomplished yet...and that's
    a proud. There are many books which teach you about mindfulness, do things one by one, but it's only written and different to the reality.

  4. So interesting and quite timely for me -- it's a question I've been pondering as I'm adjusting to retirement. Flirting, currently, with committing to The Artist's Way for twelve weeks, and some of my self-assessment has been making me wonder if a lifetime of doing quite a few things quite well hasn't been a way of keeping at bay the fear of really committing to something I might really be great at. . . or not. Does that make sense? So there's much resonance for me with the One Thing notion -- except that perhaps my One Thing is somehow in the synthesis of many. . . . I'll be curious to see if you have more to say about this as you read on.

  5. YES,I grasped that awhile ago........CANNOT DO IT ALL.
    WHEN do you listen to PODCASTS?I find that fascinating YOU have time for THAT.........BUt then you are alone a good part of the time as THAT MISTER H is away!I do not have THAT ALONE TIME ........
    I do make lists but they are short these days.........I ADORE CHECKING THEM OFF!!!!!!!XX

  6. I love all you share sweet lady.
    Happy Spring
    Love and hugs and kisses and glorious wishes X0X0

  7. Hi I came over from Stories and Scribbles . Reading about Snail mail and letter writing or cards ..brilliant idea. Wow have all your lists from many years ago ... amazing. I have to do lists but not written ...maybe I should write them down. I would not worry if you cannot do it all .. Your friend La Contessa should make alone time ..we all need a tiny bit. Loving your blog style top.


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