Just One Thing

Just One Thing

When it comes to what we think about, say and do, what might happen, if we found a way to keep things simple - and focus on #JustOneThing

What if we found simpler, better ways of living and working - that could play out in our:

  • 1:1 conversations
  • Meetings

- or the ways we: 

  • Write (or preach) 
  • Communicate with others
  • Deal with our inbox
  • Manage projects - or our to do list

I get it. Keeping it simple can be hard. Sometimes things are complex.

And here's the thing: 'simple' isn't always 'easy'.

However, many of us are really good at making things much more complicated (and time consuming) than they need to be.

Many of us talk a really good game about forsaking the temptation to do #allthethings - but we often find ourselves very sorely tempted, to invest more time, more energy, and more money in:

More thought

More words

More action.

More isn't always More

Last week, a timely email from a reader simultaneously offered me both huge encouragement - and a timely challenge.

Our good humoured conversation was about the length of blog posts - about why and how much we write - and what purpose it serves (or doesn't) when we write more - or less.

The conversation got me thinking, in a wider way, about the 'more' of 'less' - and how it can be a real gift, to ourselves and others, when we are willing and able to keep things simple.

So, here's the thing:

Serving others, as well as we can, is about serving others.

It's not primarily about meeting our own expectations - or the expectations of others.

Particularly if those are expectations are sometimes misplaced, or boundary violating - for us, or for them.

There is only purpose in spending more time doing things if it's genuinely worthwhile, in one way or another.

'Worthwhile' isn't simply about utility. Sometimes things are valuable because they are functionally useful - or beautiful. Sometimes, it's something else...

I'm reminded of the story of Mary & Martha here - where Jesus says to Martha (who is busy doing all the things):

"Few things are needed - or indeed only one". (Luke 10:42, NIV)

Just. One. Thing.

More thought, more words and more action do not always produce more value - or a better outcome.

When Less MIGHT BE More

Less isn't always more.

But less can be more, when you work out how to:

  • Deliver equal or greater value in less time, by cutting out what's not (or is less) important.
  • Make things clearer for yourself and others - by finding simplicity the other side of complexity.
  • Value other people's time (energy and money) - as well as your own.
  • Powerfully demonstrate that you care personally - without it requiring an unreasonably high (or constantly increasing) quantity of resources.

Keeping things simple isn't always quicker, or easier - but it often serves others better.

When less MIGHT ALSO be scary

If you're someone who typically thinks, says and does more, rather than less, doing less can be scary - at least to start with.

This may be particularly true if: 

  • You measure the value of what you think/say/do by its volume.
  • You live/work in a culture where 'more' is typically seen by others as 'better'.
  • If time/money/energy spent, is seen as the only (or main) indicator of how much you care personally about someone, or something.
  • You feel anxious about being seen to do or say less - or produce less visible output. 
  • You have come to rely on ingrained habits of overthinking - or saying and doing a lot - even if this isn't particularly fruitful.
  • You're afraid of what else you might have to do, if you did less of the things that aren't especially important.

If this feels challenging, this might be a sign that it's also useful...


For the rest of 2018, as part of a challenge to simplify my own life and work, I've decided to challenge myself to keep things simple, here on the blog.

From next week, I'll be sharing #justonething.

In practise, this means that each blog post will:

Have a ONE word title.

Communicate ONE main idea.

Leave you with ONE question.

I'm planning to keep the whole thing under 250-300 words, which is the number of words the average person can read in - you guessed it:

ONE minute.

This isn't going to be easy. But as a discipline for a season, I'm looking forward to finding out if if this challenge could help me serve others better. 

So that's my challenge...

WHAT'S yours?

If there's an area of your life or work, where you sense 'less' might just be 'more':

Where could you choose to accept the challenge to keep things simple? 

Plan to have a go at focussing on #JustOneThing this week? Feel free to drop me a message and let me know. I'd love to hear how it's working for you.


© 2018 Sarah Phillips, Away Coaching
All rights reserved. May be shared freely - please retain contact details:  www.awaycoaching.com
Subscribe here to receive weekly blog posts in your inbox.