Do One Thing: On Prioritizing What’s Important

Dear readers,

The other day, my friends and I were talking about how impressed we were with our high school selves. And not because of our swoop bangs or cool planking photos. No, we were amazed by our ability to multitask. 

High school is where we learned to multitask. We balanced school, friends, clubs, extracurriculars, and somehow still had time to go out on the weekends and wake up early Monday morning to do it all over again. 

Now, we’re adults. Here we are, doing the same thing, just on a larger scale. We’re multitasking jobs, families, kids, hobbies, money, health, and everything in between. And while swoop bangs went out of style years ago and planking is something reserved for ab workouts, the pressures I felt in high school are just as prevalent as they are today. The pressures of image, success, status, happiness . . . still loud and blaring in adulthood. 

At the end of the day, sometimes I wonder how I’m even balancing it all. 

Deep down, I know I’m not. 

And if I am, I hate myself for what I’m sacrificing to make one thing work. 

But that’s just it. In order to do all the things, you must first simply do one thing.

The Power of One Thing

The One Thing concept says that 20% of your actions will lead to 80% of your results. It means that it’s not about doing everything, but doing the right things. This concept mainly regards to effectiveness in business but can be applied to all areas of life. 

For instance, house chores are something that truly overwhelm me on a daily basis. Most of the time, I leave it all to do on the weekends. This results in a tornado of a home and a mountain of stress every Saturday and Sunday. 

However, when I apply the One Thing principle, I know that the most important thing I can do to keep my home clean during the week is to put things away after using them. I might not have the time or energy to do laundry, clean my floors, or scrub the bathroom any weekday. But you know what?

I can put the dishes away when I’m done.

I can put my dirty clothes in the hamper.

I can pick up my pillows and blanket off the floor. 

At the end of the week, my home will not be a tornado, but it will appear tidy and less daunting as the weekend approaches. I did the one thing that made the biggest difference. 

Person Choosing to Do One Thing on List
Anna Crouse Photography

Do One Thing Across Different Areas

Yesterday morning, all that I could see was a haze of disappointment in myself. In my productivity, goals, dreams, relationships . . . this always leads to a spiral of worse behavior, pushing me farther away from where I want to be.

Have you been there before?

Something that truly helps when feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated is to do one thing across different areas of life. I took out my journal and began scribbling some areas of life that I felt unsettled. 

My areas were

  • Marriage
  • Writing
  • Mental Health
  • Body
  • Career
  • Spiritual

That’s a lot of areas. If you’re not careful, life’s important areas will flush you into a spiral of shame until you’ve got nothing left. Don’t let that happen!

My One Thing Chart Downloadable

Your areas might include family, relationships, hobbies . . . anything that is important to you. I’ve created a free My One Thing downloadable to help organize your thoughts. You can use a pre-made section or write your own areas in the blank.

Train Your Mind to Prioritize One Thing

My husband Ben has lost 100 pounds in a little over a year and continues to reach his various health goals. Many people love to ask, “How did you do it?”

His response is the same every time, and it has become a mantra for him. 

Convince the mind, the body will follow. Where the body goes, the heart will end up. 

While the story behind this mantra is a long one, I’ve recently realized how small yet critical that first step is. And I’m not talking about the first time you do the workout or the first time you tidy the room.

I’m talking about convincing the mind to do those things in the first place.

If you haven’t truly decided in your mind that you’re ready to lose the weight, it might come off for a time. But it will come right back inevitably. 

If you haven’t seriously chosen that you’re ready to keep a peaceful home space, you might put a few things away for a week. But as the days go on, you’ll do less and less. Inevitably, your house will turn into a tornado again.

The truth is that if your mind isn’t ready, you shouldn’t expect your body or heart to be ready either. 

Your Time Will Come When It’s Supposed To

Do you know how many times I thought I truly committed to keeping a clean home? Or the number of times I said I’d only drink wine on the weekends? Or even how often I promised I’d schedule a day each week to pray with my spouse regularly?

I’m honestly embarrassed to admit the number.

Friend, the point is that timing is key. I’ve talked to enough people with similar struggles to know that it isn’t always your time. For whatever reason, sometimes you’re just not ready. And in order for things to stick, you’ve got to make up your mind at the right time.

But you know what? When the time’s right, it won’t feel as forced as it always does. It won’t feel as fake as it may right now. After a while, it will start to feel, well . . . right. I wish there were a more sensical way to say this. But for now, this is it. 

Because at the end of the day we’re all just people trying to balance all of the wonderful, stressful, and profound areas that life offers us. And friend, let’s be real – 

Doing things are hard. 

But one thing? One thing can make all the difference.

Sincerely doing things one thing,



3 thoughts on “Do One Thing: On Prioritizing What’s Important

  1. Becca, this idea is simple, yet profound. I’ve always felt that just getting started is 80% of the struggle. Love this!


  2. Wise, wise words. Needed words for my exhausted mind, heart and body that feel like they’re on a hamster wheel going going going, yet nothing is ever done. Thank you for this!


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