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Dear High Performers, decide this first…

“When you don’t know what matters most, anything makes sense.”

~ Gary Keller

Productivity kills achievement.

We think we’re being productive, but really, we’re distracted.

We’ve lost sight of our primary objective—the one priority, the one thing that drives all other things in our business.

We use task accumulation as an excuse for underachievement.​

When you don’t know what matters, everything matters.

  • Checking email, text messages, and social media every five minutes is productive.
  • Tackling $10-an-hour tasks you should outsource or not do altogether is productive.
  • Taking “get to know you” or “pick your brain” phone calls is productive.

Getting things done is the wrong goal.

Forget your checklists and to-do lists.

If success (in anything) is your goal, you must abandon the idea of being productive.

Instead, focus on getting the right things done–the one to five activities that align with your “One Thing” (popularized by Gary Keller in his amazing book by the same name).

Andy Frisella calls this The Power List.

  1. You complete your Power List; you win the day.
  2. You win enough days; you win the week.
  3. If you win enough weeks, you win the month.
  4. If you win enough months, you win the year.
  5. You win enough years, and you win your life.

…and isn’t that the goal, to win your life?

Winning Your Life

Have you ever considered what “winning your life” looks like?

Far too many of us have not. For a long time, I had not.

It was not until I was able to define what winning looked like that I started to focus on my One Thing.

Here’s a clip from a recent keynote speaking performance for a group of insurance professionals, in which I discussed the idea of The One Thing, among other concepts.

YouTube player

Think about your One Thing.

What is it?

What’s the one thing that makes everything else in your life easier or unnecessary?

  • If your goal is a new PR in sales, your one thing could be to make more calls, attend more events, or ask for more referrals.​
  • If your goal is to be a better partner, learn their love language and make that thing an intentional act every day, no matter how “busy” you might be.
  • If you want to write a book, you must write every day.

Once you figure out your one thing, use The Power List (or your success list) to track the one to five activities (no more than five) that must get done tomorrow to advance your One Thing.

If you’re struggling to define your One Thing, Havard professor Arthur C. Brooks recommends you create a “To-Don’t List” as a thought exercise.

By first deciding what you should NOT be doing, you can get a better handle on the One Thing you should be doing.

The Rub

No more floundering around randomly from task to task…excusing away underachievement as “productivity.”

If you don’t figure out your ONE thing and commit yourself to it, then high achievement and success will never materialize.

You will live a life of “productive” underachievement.

God did not put you on this earth to be busy.

Figure out your ONE Thing.

Do it every day.

This is the way.


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