I just finished reading ‘The ONE Thing’ by Gary Keller and this was the key takeaway point from the book.
In his book, Gary Keller talks about how important it is to time block your ONE thing — your most important task — and get it done first thing in the morning.
In fact, the most productive people, the ones who’ve achieved extraordinary results, follow this path.
Their most important appointment each day is with themselves. And they never miss it.
Stephan King, for example, does the exact same thing.
In his book ‘On Writing’, he describes his daily schedule this way —
Mornings belong to whatever is new or the current draft. Afternoons are for naps and letters. And Evenings are for reading, family time, and any revisions that cannot wait.
Basically mornings are his prime writing time. Four hours, every morning.
Now four hours a day might scare you more than his novels, but you also can’t argue with the results.
Today, Stephan King is one of the most successful writers.
But the problem is, whenever I share this story, I often receive a response like “It’s easy for Stephan King — he is Stephan King!”
But does he get do this because he is Stephan King or he is Stephan King because he does this?
That question invariably ends the discussion at that very moment.
The truth is, early in his career, Stephan King had to find time blocks wherever he could — mornings, afternoons, lunch breaks, and even late nights, as his full-time job didn’t allow him to time block his mornings to write novels.
But once his side-hustle (his writing) started generating extraordinary results and once he was finally able to earn a living from his ONE thing, he was then able to move his time blocks to a more sustainable time.
Paul Graham, one of the founders of Y Combinator also recommends doing the same thing.
In his essay — Maker’s schedule, Manager’s schedule — he underscores the need for large time blocks.
Maker’s schedule basically means to do or create things. These things include writing articles, developing ideas, producing products, executing on project plan, and similar things.
And since these things require large time blocks, Maker’s schedule is meant to be viewed in half-day increments. — 4 hours minimum.
Manager’s schedule, on the other hand, can be divided into hours. All the unattended emails, voicemails, meetings, and general chores fall under this category.
This is exactly what you need to do to achieve extraordinary results.
Especially in a 9–5 job, I know that there is always other stuff screaming at us to be done.
When I applied this in my own schedule, it was really stressful at first.
I was continually interrupted.
Colleagues dropping by, Email alerts, and Skype messages from team members sending a steady stream of requests.
These were not even distractions. — This was my job.
But to combat this, I came up with a solution.
I simply relocated my work desk to avoid random drive-bys and non-urgent requests. And within a month, almost everyone became accustomed to the fact that between 10 AM–2 PM, I would not be accessible.
Though I still receive Skype requests constantly, but most of the requests are non-urgent. So I just write them down on a task list and get back to doing what I’m supposed to be doing. — My ONE thing.
I’m now experiencing a huge leap of productivity.
I’ve also brought more eyeballs on our website in a month than we previously did in a whole year.
And the good news is, you can also experience similar results.
You now know what to do! 😉