The ONE Thing by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan: Book Summary and Key Lessons

Date published
Jun 16, 2021
Last updated
Jul 31, 2021 3:55 PM
Last updated by

One book that profoundly impacted my life and changed how I approach the things I do every day.

Here are 3 powerful insights from The ONE Thing. Enjoy!

1. Not everything matters equally

Not everything matters equally.

Many people fail to acknowledge this truth because it's hidden behind the false sense of urgency of things jumping at us every day.

The things which are most important don't always scream the loudest.

And that's true for the entrepreneurial life; things like recruiting the right talent or writing the content don't yell, "We need to get done right NOW!" But it doesn't make them less important factors in business success.

The world is not going to tell you what to do to become great. The world is just going to be itself and throw different things at you every day. It's only YOUR responsibility to determine what matters most for you and your journey to achievement.

When you clear the path to success—that's when you consistently get there.

2. One thing only

The powerful method to infuse the sense of priority into your life is called the focusing question.

The premise is that, at any given point in time, there is a single thing that is more significant than anything else.

Ask yourself the following: "What's the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"

The answer to this question is what you should put your efforts into.

You can apply it to anything: to work, relationships, finances, etc. For example, "What's the ONE Thing I can do for my financial situation such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"

The focusing question can be shrunk into "What's my ONE Thing?" - to help define your life mission.

It can also be used to set out the plan for today: "What's my ONE Thing right now?"

By setting the intention to do the ONE Thing, you also decide what things you're NOT going to do, which is an essence of focused work.

When you know what matters most, everything makes sense. When you don't know what matters most, anything makes sense.

3. Time blocking

Defining your ONE Thing is not enough. To make sure it will get done, you need to also protect it.

The concept introduced in the book is called time blocking. Time blocking is when you purposefully schedule a specific timeslot in your agenda to do your ONE Thing.

Case studies show that you need to put at least 4 hours into your ONE Thing EVERY DAY to achieve extraordinary results.

However, the good news is you can start with as little as 45-60 minutes a day and move your way up there.

To be successful at this, you need to adopt the mindset that time blocks cannot be moved.

If, for some reason, you skipped your time block, reschedule it for later today, don't let it go. In the end, how can you miss the most important thing in your life?


  • Not everything matters equally. Don't let important things hide behind the wall of urgent matters
  • Every day set out to do the ONE Thing such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary.
  • Time block your One Thing (block off at least four consecutive hours of uninterrupted time to focus on it each day).