231 | What is Your One Thing with Jay Papasan

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Jay Papasan

What’s your one thing? Today’s guest is Jay Papasan. He is the best selling author of The One Thing where he explores the unexpected simple truth behind impactful results. As entrepreneurs, it is more than common to try and tackle it all – but Jay challenges us to do that ONE thing that will get you soaring. Listen to this podcast to give yourself clarity on what is important in your day to day to-do list.

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Target Audience: Jay has a history of serving the real estate industry. However, his book: The ONE thing is targeted to entrepreneurs who are seeking to prioritize their tasks. Jay is a lifelong writer. His philosophy encompasses the concept of having a business worth owning and a life worth living. As an entrepreneur, you get the liberty of choosing whatever job you want. Hopefully, that lines up with where your gifts and passions lie.

The ONE Thing

Hopefully, we all get a chance to discover what our one thing is. That thing we truly love to do – no matter what – we’d even do it for free. And because we love it, we probably seek mastery in it. We can really shine despite the hard work it takes. We can achieve this when we narrow our focus to the things that matter most. What’s the absolute priority to stick to?

The Big Picture and Daily Tasks

For Jay, this would be writing – because he’s a writer. The focusing question he poses to us is: What’s the one thing YOU can do – such that by doing it everything else is easier or unnecessary? Stop and look for it.

Most of us are familiar with the to-do list that never stops growing. But, ask yourself: Of all the things I could do- what’s the handful that I really should do?

Get out a piece of paper every day and start by circling the big ones- put those on a separate piece of paper. Then circle ONE thing and that becomes your number 1 priority. What happens is people go from 2-3 pages of notes to 3-5 things that are a priority. Give this simple exercise 3-5 minutes. If you give more you are over analyzing it!


Blocking out the amount of time for a certain task depends on the task. For instance, the ‘writing a book process’ is a deeper process. It could take 30-40 minutes to get ideas warmed up and to get into a ‘flow’ state. Jay admits that his best days are when he has that BIG block of time.

But let’s back up a bit here. What is time to block anyway? Time blocking is the process of making appointments with yourself to do your most important work. It should be a ritual. It happens every day. It is regular. If you don’t think through when you are going to do it, it’s not likely to happen.

Guilt and Shame around the To Do List

Who’s willing to admit this? It feels inherently good when we can cross more quantities of items off our list. We want the list to be shorter- so we feel good to just cross things off the list. But it is a double sided trap. Stuff gets done- but not the big stuff.

Even more importantly, we may be putting of the stuff that scares us. Yet, we get a feeling of productivity just because we crossed many items off our list. But are those the items that are actually propelling us forward? Fear can be a fabulous indicator of where our compass should be pointed. Remember, It’s easier to put something off than to fail today.

So many of us share this dilemma. Instead of a to-do list, we should have a courage list. The opportunity lies on the other side of fear.

Practical and Actionable:

ASK YOURSELF: What’s the one thing I can do – such that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary? Stop and look for it.

Go to your big list and identify your #1. Make a commitment by putting on your calendar and follow it! Everything else will unfold.

Resources and Links

How is your business going…would you like to talk about it?

I love my audience of listeners. I really do.  I would love to help you in some way. I started doing calls with listeners and realized that it was a great way to understand you.

Okay, then I formalized the process to offer a Results Roadmap… it is a private one-on-one call with me about your business.  I want to help you see your roadmap with more clarity and confidence. Find out more about the Results Roadmap (it takes you to my personal website). This is not a sales pitch. Let me serve you.


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