The Power of ONE Thing!

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If you are living with ADHD, you probably have many ‘things to do’. Your to-do’s might include brilliant inventions to make and businesses to start up, or the more mundane tasks of daily life. However, despite your best intentions, none of these things seem to get done. You have so many things, that you feel too scattered and overwhelmed to take action on.

A solution to this problem is to pick one thing and work on that.

It might seem counter intuitive when you have so many ‘things’ buzzing around in your head. Yet, in his book, The ONE Thing. The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, author, Gary Keller suggests just that. The book outlines many advantages of selecting one thing to give your full attention to. The biggest is achieving the big results you want!

This is great news if you are living with ADHD because:

  1. You think big and have grand plans, but can’t seem to take them beyond the initial stages.
  2. If you are working on one project, you feel anxious that you aren’t giving the other projects attention. To combat that anxiety, you jump from one project to the next but aren’t productive.

The ONE thing concept can be applied to every area of your life: at work, home, relationship, exercise, etc. How do you pick the one thing? The author suggests you ask this question:

“What would be the thing you can do so when you do it, everything else in your life fall into place and be[come] easier”?

This might seem like a hard question to answer. However, whenever I ask this question to an adult with ADHD, they seem to instinctively know what it would be. It might be writing a research article for the newsletter at work to get the visibility you need to advance your career. At home, it might be as simple as doing the dishes every day; because then, the kitchen almost takes care of itself.

You can ask this question for all areas in your life, including your relationship.

By giving yourself permission to focus on just one thing, the guilt, stress and shame you feel about not working on all your other ‘to-do’s melt away. You start to feel good about yourself.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t do the other things at a later date. But for now, you are just focusing on your ONE thing. When you have ADHD, this concept is incredibly liberating and freeing. It takes the confusion out of life.

Focusing on your ONE thing helps with time management too. It gives you permission to block out the daily distractions that stop you from focusing. These might come from other people in the form of phone calls and impromptu visits to your office. Or they might come from you; such as multitasking and constantly checking your email. The ONE thing also helps you curb your impulsivity because when you have a very clear idea of what to work on, it is easier to limit impulsive actions.

You can apply the ONE thing concept in other situations too. For example, if you go to a meeting, you might write a list of 5 or 6 actions to do, but not take action on any of them. Instead, pick ONE action and do just that.

When you start using the ONE thing method, you will find all sorts of situations that you can apply it to: from your big life goals to the smaller microelements within it.

What is your ONE thing?


Gary Keller, The ONE Thing, Bard Press, 2013

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