What is Your ONE Thing?

In all likelihood, you’re trying to be good at too many things. Trimming down your list of priorities can make you more effective. Focus your attention on the tasks that bring the most results.

What is the one thing that will move the needle in your life to reach your goals? Have you even thought about it? The one thing that matters is often challenging or unenjoyable, but you might have more free time if you did that one thing instead of the three other things you’ve been doing instead.

Focus on your one thing:

1. Everyone has 24 hours each day. Everyone has 24 hours, but how you spend them is up to you. Some people manage to build huge companies with their 24 hours. Others struggle to pay the rent. Some people create great health and happiness with their 24 hours. Others are out of shape and miserable. How do you spend your 24 hours each day?

2. Focus on what you should do, not what you could do. Most of us that have a daily list of tasks have both on our list. It’s important to figure out the things that are so important and impactful that they must be accomplished TODAY. All the rest move down to the bottom of the list.

3. Prioritize until you’re down to just one task. Prioritize even further. What is the number one thing you need to do today that will make the biggest difference? When you complete that task, what is the next most important thing. Keep going until you run out of time.

4. Have one thing you’re known for. What are you known for? Playing the piano? Installing windows? Your intelligence? Figure out your one thing and ensure the world knows about it.

5. Eliminate distractions. Distractions get in the way of focusing on your one thing. Be relentless in eliminating distractions.

6. Apply this process to all areas of your life.

  • What is the one thing you can do for the next month to most improve your health? There’s one thing you can do in your current situation to improve your health the most. It will probably help more than the next five things on your list combined.
  • What is the one thing you can practice on the piano to improve your playing the most over the next week? Or your golf swing. Or your reading speed?
  • What is the one thing you can consistently do at work to increase your value as an employee? What can you do that would help your company and career the most?

7. Be tough. The most important thing is often the least enjoyable. Squats are far less enjoyable than leg extensions, but far more effective. Joining Toastmasters is far less appealing than practicing your speeches by yourself at home. The one thing is often easy to identify but challenging to do.

What is the one thing for you? What is the one thing for each area of your life that will make the biggest difference? What is the one thing you need to do TODAY? What about this week?

Find your ONE thing, and you’ll see that little else matters.

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What To Do When You Have More Than You Can Handle

Life is a series of challenges to be managed. In between challenges, life can seem easy, but the next challenge is always on the way. When faced with too many challenges at once, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to believe that you have more going on in your life than you can handle.

Regardless of the size or the number of challenges you may face, the solution is the same: Ignore those things you can’t influence and spend your time and energy implementing solutions for those things you can influence.

A level head, a solid plan, persistence, and assistance can overcome any challenge life may bring.

Try these strategies to lighten your load:

1. Acknowledge that you’re feeling overwhelmed. There’s nothing to be gained by ignoring your situation. You’ll be in a better position to deal effectively with your life when you acknowledge the reality of the situation. When you recognize that something is wrong, you can begin to do something about it.

2. Take a time out. If you’re at work, slip away for a quick walk. If you have the freedom to do so, try taking a weekend trip. A change of scenery can make the challenges in your life seem more manageable.

3. Make a plan. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to spend too much time focusing on the challenges in your life. While this is a natural response, it leads to feeling even worse! Rather than focusing on your issues, try focusing on solutions.

Imagine your friend was facing the same challenges, what advice would you give to them?

Make a plan to move beyond your current situation. What solutions can you find? How will you implement them?

A simple change of focus can alter your perspective and your mood. Do you think you’ll feel better focusing on your problems or the solutions?

4. Distract yourself for a few hours. Read a good book or take a friend to the movies or a cute cafe. Now is the perfect time to do all the things you usually do to avoid working!

5. Talk to someone. You could speak to a coworker, a friend, family member, or a mental health professional. Who would you call on in your life to talk you down off a ledge? Pick up the phone and include someone else in your current situation.

6. List the good things in your life. Things might be rough at the moment, but there are plenty of things in your life that you can be grateful for. Make a list of them and reflect on the many blessings in your life.

7. Laugh. Few things feel better than laughing. What makes you laugh? Watch a funny video or spend time with someone who always has a way to make you laugh. Who is the funniest person in your life?

8. Get some help. More heads and pairs of hands can get a lot more accomplished than you can all by your lonesome self. Most people are pretty bored and would jump at the chance to help you deal with your drama. Get some help.

You have plenty of options when you think you have more to deal with than you can handle.

Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. When life becomes especially challenging, feeling overwhelmed can dampen your spirit and hide the best solutions from you.

Admit to yourself that you’re struggling (that’s the first step) and begin looking for solutions. Allow yourself a few distractions when you need them. Reach out to others and avoid trying to solve everything on your own. Soon, you’ll be back on a more enjoyable path.

Reading More Books in 2019

I decided that right now, I’m going to sit in front of my MacBook Pro and type whatever comes up in my mind. I do this because I know how debilitating perfectionism can be and therefore, allowing myself to just write freely without trying to perfect the structure and flow of the entire post is quite freeing. It’s also good because that way I can actually get stuff DONE.

I’m sitting in my grandparents’ guest bedroom in Northern California, with my phone face up next to my right arm on the desk, Instagram opened. Today’s IGTV video is 74% loaded, after many many attempts to upload the video. The app kept saying “Upload Failed,” to which I responded by tapping “Try Again” – and this happened probably twenty times, if not more.

You would think that this kind of situation would make a person extremely frustrated and upset, but for some reason I was completely fine (not usually like this when it comes to technological issues).

But this evening as I was tapping “Try Again” for what felt like the thousandth time, I was fine, and even quite upbeat and happy. I think the reason for this is that the rest of my day today was what I’d call a “successful” day.

What defines a successful day? Probably depends on the person. But for me, a successful day generally means that I started my day early with a lovely and refreshing morning routine, completed important tasks throughout the day, gave myself enough time to relax and rest in the afternoon (like a 30 minute nap or so), and spending adequate time planning, evaluating, and adjusting my schedule, my short and long term goals, and just my whole life in general.

It also means that I did things that I consider my lifeline: prayer (30 minutes is ideal), meditating (and really just doing nothing), Bible reading, and reading other spiritual and self-help books.

I just started reading High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard (I recently discovered the amount of value he brings to the world and now trust pretty much every word he says). IT’S SO GOOD.

I’ve never considered myself an avid reader, especially since I can actually count with one hand the books (or series of books) I read growing up: Harry Potter (but I never got around to reading the 7th book..), A Series of Unfortunate Events… and I recall reading some Nancy Drew books every so often.

But that was mostly in elementary school, and maybe some of middle school. Once high school hit though, I don’t recall ever reading a book for leisure. I do remember reading enough books for all my high school English classes.

Anyway, my point is that when I say a book is good, it’s usually a pretty big deal. But then again ever since I became obsessed with all things personal development, pretty much every self help book turned into a good book.

Here are some enlightening quotes that struck a chord in me today from High Performance Habits:

“Who are these people, and what’s their secret? They are high performers, and their secret is their habits…With the right training and habits, anyone can become a high performer…”

“What you need is a reliable set of practices for unleashing your greatest abilities. Study high performers and you will see that they have systems built into their days that drive their success. Systems are what separate the pro from the novice…Without systems, you cannot… repeatedly deliver exceptional results. In personal and professional development, these systems and procedures are, ultimately habits.”

“High performance is not achieved by a specific kind of person, but rather by a specific set of practices, which I call high performance habits.”

Anyway, just a few things that stood out to me and gave me renewed hope, all within the first twelve pages of High Performance Habits. I’m suuper stoked to finish the rest of the book!

One of my goals for 2019 is to READ MORE. So please send me your book recommendations and I’ll put it on my To-Read list!

I really really believe that 2019 will be the best year yet, and something just tells me that my life will be drastically different by the end of the year. Maybe it’s just a feeling, but anyway, these motivational people like Brendon Burchard give me much hope and expectation for amazing things to come this year!!

Following Your Anxiety to Beat Procrastination

In my last post I claimed that I had finally “figured out” how to schedule my time, and yes, that was true at the time (about a month ago). But I think I was a little too quick to make that kind of a claim.

Yes, I really did feel like I had my life under control just a month ago, and it felt great. I was productive, waking up early in the mornings, exercising, starting each day intentionally..

But that kind of “ideal” lifestyle gradually evolved into a less ideal one as the days and weeks went by. Hence the lack of new blog posts for a whole month.

The good thing is that I finally told myself tonight that I cannot go to bed until I’ve finished writing a new blog post. So here I am.

It’s actually very late at night, past midnight, but I knew that if I didn’t take action ASAP it’d be difficult for me to make progress on my big life goals. I believe that it’s worth making certain sacrifices (in this case, the amount of sleep I’ll get tonight) if you know you will not regret the results you’ll get from sacrificing some of your comfort. I just wouldn’t do it every day.

Just before I started typing up this blog post, I read a bunch of articles online that talked about time management, productivity, habits, and related topics.

But first, just a sidebar before I talk about what I just read…

It’s actually really frustrating for me right now as I’m typing these words because my thoughts aren’t flowing and it’s like my brain is stuck. It’s like some form of writer’s block, where my sentences are choppy and I wonder how I used to be able to write so much so often and my range of vocabulary words seems so elementary now.

That being said, I will still finish up typing this post because I want to respect myself and my already-made decision to finish this before going to bed. Actually I’m technically already in bed, using a lap desk, leaning against my pillow against the wall, looking forward to finally resting from the long day. (Note – I fell asleep right about here after I wrote this paragraph, so I actually finished writing this the next day.)

Anyway, one thing I thought was insightful and helpful from one of the articles I read was that if you find yourself procrastinating on something and you sense resistance or anxiety about the thing you’re procrastinating on, that’s a good indication that that is the very thing you should do first.

This makes sense to me because if you think about it, who in their right mind would “procrastinate” when it comes to watching their favorite shows? Netflix and YouTube have never struck me as anxiety-inducing, but rather, they have a way of helping us numb away the scary “real” things that we should actually be working on. 

But after that numbingly wonderful Miranda Sings video is finished, you’re back to square one: overwhelming huge mountain of intimidating task giving you anxiety and way more stress than you need (not that you ever “need” stress).

Let’s look at it from the other side: you’re about to procrastinate by doing something that seems productive such as wiping down your kitchen counters (why not), or taking some papers out to the recycling bin to help you “declutter” and “organize.”

So you proceed to “take care” of these good, productive tasks, when deep down you know you will still have to face that looming project you’ve been avoiding. Despite all the little tasks you get done, your stress level rises, you’re less happy, you’re more irritable, and any ounce of motivation that was in you leaks out.

Then you continue to look for petty (but oh so productive) tasks. Maybe you even plan out an ambitious schedule for yourself for the next week to complete that project of yours. And then maybe you don’t even follow the well though-out, ambitious, color-coded schedule that you labored so diligently on.

Meanwhile, you’re MORE stressed, MORE unhappy, MORE irritable, and EVEN MORE unmotivated. And this vicious cycle repeats itself over and over again.

Does this sound familiar????

My point is, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed about something that you’ve been putting off doing, that’s probably an indication that it is a very important task or project that needs your undivided attention right away.

So if you’re feeling anxious right now about something you know you have to eventually do, my suggestion is to “follow” your anxiety right to its source and face it head-on. Make that a priority and just start.

In most cases, starting is the hardest part, but once you’re fifteen minutes (i.e. the time it takes to get into the “flow” – I read that somewhere) into it, you’re in the zone, you finally make some progress (however little it may be), and you experience a decrease in stress and irritability, and an increase in happiness and motivation.

Try it out and let me know how it goes. 🙂


Taking Action Isn’t Hard

I literally just copied and pasted my most recent newsletter email below, and switched a few words…

The Un-Challenging Thing About Challenges:

Apologies for the lack of emails and blog posts for the past few weeks, but I am still here and have had you guys on my mind. Taking action to produce content was the challenge though, but once action is taken, that is, once you START doing something, the challenge doesn’t end up feeling as challenging as imagined.

A lot of times we don’t take action on important things because whether we realize it or not, we’re fearful of the challenge. But how would we actually know it’s going to be challenging when we haven’t even tried doing it yet?

My take on this is that challenges are very much related to our mindset, which is based on our belief system.

Imagine what life would be like if we believed nothing was impossible. What would our lives look like then? Maybe this kind of belief would motivate us to have no problems with taking the first step toward that possible destination. I read somewhere yesterday that success is a matter of taking one little step at a time. That’s how we reach our goals. That’s what successful people do.

If you put it that way, that all it takes is one little step at a time, then maybe the challenging things in the world that we live in are actually not challenging at all, because doing just ONE tiny step of something is SO doable. All you need to do is add up all these tiny steps until one day, voila! Goal accomplished.

What’s one “challenge” that has made you feel overwhelmed to the point where you haven’t even taken the first step? How about taking action by means of a baby step #1 today, even if it’s the teeniest tiniest baby step? Because even that is far better than being paralyzed by the fear and overwhelm of having to complete one HUGE project.

So what baby step will you take today to overcome that daunting challenge? Let me know in the comments below!


For more content like this, subscribe to my email newsletter, i.e. submit your email address next to “Join me in my personal growth journey!” at the top of the page. Now let’s do this!! 🙂

Losing My Job: A Blessing in Disguise

I just got off the phone with my job recruiter letting me know that I won’t be returning to work on Monday. Surprise!

Granted, I was still a “temp,” so there wasn’t any firm commitment on either side yet. But regardless, I did not expect that to happen at all.. I also left my super cute mug that said “I just want to drink coffee and pet my dog” at my desk which I will miss. But I know there are more of those mugs at Ralph’s so I might just have to make another trip back there. 🙂

Why did I lose my job? I guess another way to put it is, they fired me. Ouch. But it caught me by surprise, because I thought I was doing just fine. Wherever I worked in the past, I was always praised by upper management, so to get this unexpected phone call was quite humbling to say the least.

I just wanted to share a few things I learned from this experience. First of all, I realized that you can’t always take things at face value at the office – which sounds kind of cynical. Outwardly it seemed like my supervisor was nice, the office vibe was chill, and I was told that I could go into work at any time as long as I work for 8 hours that day.

So that’s what I did. I went to work each day not at any exact set time, and worked for 8 hours. Because that was what I was told I could do. However, when I received this phone call today, the recruiter told me that the company said I was often “late” to work. Very confusing, since there is no specific time that is defined as “late.”

What I realized after thinking back is that when it comes to work, I shouldn’t make myself too comfortable so quickly. And if I’m told that I’m allowed to do something, I actually shouldn’t fully do that thing. Does that make sense?

I also thought that I was doing well in terms of my work, because my supervisor didn’t say much about it. So I assumed everything was fine. I guess it wasn’t fine though. My only real self vindicating argument would be that my supervisor did not communicate to me exactly what her expectations were.

On my end, I guess my mistake was that I didn’t take much initiative to ask her what those exact expectations were. So it’s almost as if we both expected that the other person would already be aware of the unspoken expectations.

So while I thought things were fine, they really weren’t. Now I know that in the future it would be best for me to set more rigid goals and have more of a predictable schedule or plan for myself, even if my boss or supervisor makes everything seem very chill.

Another problem was that although I was very happy with this job in the beginning, as time went on I found myself once again in a situation where I felt that I was not being challenged or stimulated enough. Once I got to that point, my motivation faded away. That’s when I lost the drive to do my very best at work. And I guess that somehow showed in my work, based on the feedback my recruiter got from my supervisor.

This led me to a realization, which I then told my recruiter. I told her that I no longer have the interest to continue down the accounting/finance route, and wanted to venture into more creative jobs or industries. My recruiter was glad I told her that, and since she still thinks I’m a great job candidate she said she’ll let me know of potential jobs that are more “creative” (whatever that means haha) and that pay significantly better than the job I just lost.

Her words to me over the phone was that this looks like it may very well be a “blessing in disguise.” I couldn’t agree more.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, even when things are difficult to experience and understand. However I’ve never gone through insanely traumatic life events (e.g. loved ones getting victimized, parents losing their children.. ) so I don’t want to venture into those types of circumstances. Because if you ask me why someone died in a car accident, I would not be able to answer you. I for sure would not be able to tell you that everything happens for a reason, because I personally think that would be messed up of me to objectify something so deeply personal to someone else.

Anyway…. that being said, in my own life I can say definitely that every trying time turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The devastating breakup with my ex-fiance about 5 months ago is one of the best things that happened to me, because that was the best way for me to press the Restart button and get back on track with my life goals.

That’s how I got my blog rolling, and I love it so much. And that’s how I ended up moving all the way back across the country to sunny Los Angeles and got connected to so many new and old friends who make me so happy. It’s so nice to live for myself again, as an independent person. It’s nice to finally discover what I’m actually passionate about when all other influential factors (e.g. fiance) are removed. It’s like I’m getting to know myself all over again.

Truth be told, my day job was my biggest frustration to getting my blog business rolling, so when the “bad” news came I felt more relieved that anything. And then I started to get really excited about all the possibilities that lie ahead!

A couple weeks ago a blogger friend of mine told me about how she works remotely for a marketing team and that her income has been able to fund her travels all over the world with her professional hockey player boyfriend. I had started looking into that as a way to earn a little extra cash, but found myself once again frustrated by my day job. I was frustrated because the marketing job seemed way more interesting and right up my alley for me.

Sorry, quick side note: I’m not trying to tell you my life story but I find that the best way to make my point more clear and applicable for any of my posts is to draw from my personal experience, even if that means exposing my weaknesses and failures and making myself vulnerable. If what I share can help you, then exposing all my shortcomings is totally worth it.

I had my first marketing team meeting via video conference and it felt so nice to be in that meeting without feeling overwhelmed by everything else I have to do.

I’m super pumped and excited for yet again another new beginning, which I think is actually bringing me closer to my dream goal of working remotely anywhere I want in the world and getting to choose my own hours and be my own boss. The more time I spend on my blog and on my new online marketing job, the more progress I will make.

I also found out during the video conference call that one of my teammates literally lives like five minutes away from me. Of all the places in the country, one of my three teammates for this random online company lives in the same area as I do. Crazy. I think it’s a sign. I’ll have to grab coffee with her soon. 🙂

My plan of attack right now is to open up my Google calendar to get an overview of the whole week, and set my own work schedule by designating specific blocks of time to work on specific tasks at specific locations (probably cafes). I will also be sure to schedule in gym time and “goof off time” to give myself permission to “waste” my time and not have to worry about anything.

I can also finally be fully present and available to communicate and work with my virtual assistant instead of secretly messaging her on my phone at the office when my supervisor was around. Clearly, my heart was not there at the accounting office. I can finally do what I love.

Oh, did I mention I hired a virtual assistant to help with my blog business? Great investment, I recommend it. I’m also lucky enough to not have to worry about rent at the moment while I’m living with family. Life is good. 🙂

I’ve also considered just for kicks to possibly be an Uber driver in Beverly Hills to increase my chances of meeting celebrities. I’m super jealous of my Uber drivers who have picked up Kim Khardashian, Ellen Degeneres, Queen Latifah, and the guy with the curly hair from Boy Meets World. And I didn’t just make that up. Celebrities can take Uber too.

But that is more for fun than for the extra money, and I don’t know if my time will really allow for that with my blog and my part time marketing job.

Life is so interesting and full of surprises. And it’s always possible to have a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th new beginning! This is my 2nd new beginning at the age of 27. Can’t complain.

Perhaps the moral of the story is that it’s easiest to succeed at something when your heart is in it and you love what you do. Or you find that it’s still so worth it to do what you do when times are hard. Because you’re working towards the things you really want in life.

That’s why I honestly can’t see myself with a career in finance anymore, no matter how practical it may be, and no matter how much money I’d make as a financial analyst down the road. If I don’t love what I do, or if my job bores me, or if it’s just so I can pay for my bills, I think I’ll pass and do something that I’m truly passionate about. If I realize I’m not meant to work in a cubicle all day, then I probably should be out doing something else with more human interaction.

I hope my “unfortunate” job loss story gave you some inspiration and perspective about where you currently are right now.

Again, if you need anything (within reason) I am always an email away. I may not respond that quickly but I do for a fact respond to all emails. It’s been hard to keep up with even my personal emails with work taking up my time and energy. So I only expect that my response time will be quicker with my new schedule.

amy@justamyllennial.com

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