2020 Vision

by Tom Swift

I’m not much on resolutions, myself, but I do appreciate the clarity of a new year. It puts me in the mood to assess my goals and consider whether new or fewer or different might serve me in the 365 days to come. I feel especially primed to undertake such considerations this year after listening — more than once, I might add — to the December 12, 2019 interview of Gary Keller on The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast). Keller, co-founder and CEO of Keller Williams, the world’s largest real estate firm, speaks and writes of a question he regularly asks himself: “What’s the One Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” As someone who has in the past struggled to summon sustained focus for personal projects, Keller’s frame speaks to me. He talks during the interview of “power hours” — those parts of each day during which we can and do our best work. Simply put, you can’t optimize every hour of every day and even trying would make a person miserable. Instead, he says, aim to have a great day by noon. That is, focus on the most important thing(s) first, each day, then allow the force of that self-gendered wind to carry you easily through the rest of the day. If you get distracted at that point? So what. You know you are going to refocus in the morning. “My life” Keller says, “is better when I’m spontaneous after I’ve done my most important thing. Being spontaneous before that, that’s where it becomes a distraction and does me harm.” There is a seemingly endless number of tasks one could place on a to-do list each day. There are not an endless number of tasks one can do such that by doing them everything else will be easier or unnecessary. To more often do that one thing — there are worse goals at the start of a new year.