A lot of my blog posts in the past start with ‘I’m reading this book…’ and I’m happy with that, because I believe in reading something other than news snippets, Instagram feeds, quotes (although I do love a good quote) or things that require more than a 30 second attention span. This blog is no different in that way as it begins with ‘I’m reading this book’.
It may however differ somewhat in content given that most of my books are about human nature, how to be happy, yoga, philosophy and the like, and this one is about being more productive. Ok, let’s just go ahead and call it a business book. Yeah, I know, business and yoga; an unlikely, unsuitable and potentially explosive and destructive union, or so I used to believe.
Long story short, I got my head out of my ass and realised that I couldn’t live on fairy dust and Matcha lattes and I had to get a little bit more serious about my relationship to money if I was going to keep doing what I loved, which is teaching yoga, sharing ideas and if I may be so bold, being somewhat significant in the lives of those who choose to take my courses and share their journeys with me.
But I digress, back to the business book. It’s called The One Thing and is written by Gary Keller. It’s essentially a book about productivity. His idea is that you’ve got to figure out what the most important thing is and then do it. Ok, I’m simplifying. But for me, focusing and choosing one thing, forsaking all other sparkly ideas, directions, activities, tasks and projects was like mourning the death of my unborn children – and their were many. This is metaphor, albeit a poor one; but for someone who doesn’t have children, you can forgive me; besides, my ideas are my babies and I want to birth them all. Simultaneously. NOW.
Gary Keller says NO. So because I chose to listen to him for a while, I gave this a try.
Apparently it was ok to write my ideas down in a little book and save them for another time (thank god), but for now, I had to choose THE THING, and focus on it.
And I have to say, it’s working. Really. Smart guy. I still sometimes doubt my one thing and I get distracted by the new shiny idea, but for the most part, I’m doing this one thing.
The other thing he says is that you should do this ONE THING at the time of day when you are most likely to do it. We have a finite amount of willpower and it’s best not to waste that energy and willpower on Instagram chats, phone calls, checking email, painting your toenails or whatever else you have to do in a day. Now that got me thinking because it reminds me of a Buddhist teaching that kinda sorta says the same thing. It goes like this : When you take on a new value, do everything you can to create the best conditions that will best allow you to keep your value.
Values can be new healthier habits, for example, or getting away from bad ones, or taking on a new value like being on time, or being er more productive, a nicer person or whatever else you’re wanting to take on. The Buddhist teaching creates a framework of rules (They call them vows) that involve not drinking alcohol for example, because they say that you’re less likely to keep your vows and be the person you’re aiming for if you’re drunk. Simple but true. (for the record, I do drink and love wine so please don’t go thinking I’ve taken this vow) but there is something to it because my new value of productivity is impaired if I drink too much wine, but anyway, you get my point, well mine and Gary’s point.
In case you didn’t
Do the things (or if you can do The Thing) that will make the most significant change to you life when you have the most energy to do it.
Stay away from activities, influences, people, input etc that takes you away from that Thing or that doesn’t support this Thing.
For me it’s first thing in the morning.
The night before I decide what’s most important to me, and then I do that thing first thing in the morning before I start to lose steam and focus.
There you have it, merging my Buddhist ideals with my Productivity Ones- I love it when this happens.
PS. You don’t have to choose. You can keep your yogi ideals and be successful and human all at the same time, in fact, I highly recommend it.