The One Thing Rule

There are really never enough hours in a day. As I am writing this, I have two client deliverables due along with at least three meetings -and I still need to pack for my upcoming long weekend trip. (I may or may not be a masochist when it comes to scheduling. Send help.) In either case, it’s often tough for me to find slots of time to make significant progress on some of my longer term personal goals.

What I’ve decided to institute is the “One Thing Rule” and it’s changed my life. It works like this: Every day, I schedule off a small block of time (normally less than an hour) to make progress on one of my BHAG, or big hairy audacious goal. Literally. Like, I schedule a block of time on my calendar and make it recurring. As I often say to friends, if it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist. A BHAG, coined by James Collins in his 1994 book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies*, is meant to serve as a focal point for organizations’ visions. However, in this case, I’m referring to a BHAG in the personal sense.

What’s one thing that you’d like to accomplish in the next year or five? Learn a new language? Write a book? Become a better cook? Carve out that time daily to take steps towards that. Learning how to schedule my down time to work on personal projects has assisted with ensuring that they don’t fall off of my radar due to client demands or life happenings. Also, it helps you break down your goals into bite-sized manageable chunks. Sure, you won’t learn French in a day, but you can take 30 minutes to spend a few minutes on Duolingo.

Once I decide on goals, I write them down and revisit them every night before going to bed. This helps keep them on the top of my mind.

I find that when I’m personally fulfilled, I am my best self for my friends, family and clients.

What’s one of your BHAG’s? What’s one thing you can do today to get yourself closer to it?


** It’s, like, $10 on Amazon and you could probably finish it during a train ride from DC to NYC. Get it here.


About the Author: Krysten Copeland is the founder of KC & Co Communications, a boutique Public Relations and Marketing firm located in Washington, DC.

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