One Thing at a Time


Find one thing — the most important thing — and work on that first. Finish that and then, move to the next important thing.

In case you haven’t noticed, I have ADD. Personally, I love having ADD. I find out a lot of things I wouldn't have ordinarily discovered if I was as organized and focused as everyone else wishes I was. There are, however, moments when my ADD works against me. Like when talking to my wife (note to husbands: don’t channel check while your wife is talking to you. It really makes them mad).

And sometimes, I’ll start too many projects at the same time, end up overwhelmed and then, in a desperate frustration, drop all of them. Needless to say, having stacks of half-done projects lying around you doesn't help your confidence when the next project comes up. But here is a very important lesson I've learned.

Find one thing — the most important thing — and work on that first. Finish that and then, move to the next important thing.

You’re saying, “Mike, everyone knows that…”

You’re right. Most people do know this. It’s the way we work, the way we tell our kids to organize their homework, it’s the way we pay our bills…

BUT it’s not the way we live our lives.

Here’s what I mean. Most of us know several things in our lives that need attention or improvement. When we pray, we become aware of areas that don’t yet measure up to the image of Christ.

We need to deal with:

  • anger issues
  • forgiveness issues
  • learn to pray better
  • study the Scripture more
  • being a better spouse or parent

The list goes on and on…

Then, after we look at the list, we’ll try to fix all of these things at the same time.  The result is predictable.  We’ll become frustrated and drop everything. We’ll conclude that being a disciple of Christ may work for someone else, but we just can’t do it.

When I was going through my training to deal with addiction issues, I worked in a rehab center. I noticed something while there. Most of those dealing with alcohol addiction also smoked. And they smoked a lot. When I asked one of the counselors about it, he said, “Booze will kill them a lot quicker than the cigarettes will. They can only deal with one thing at a time.” Sure, the people in the program needed to quit smoking, but to try and stop drinking and smoking at the same time would have overwhelmed them. They would have given up on their sobriety and given into their addiction. They were learning (and I did as well) to do one thing at a time, one day at a time.

So, I’m learning to focus on one thing at a time in my own life. Yeah, I know. I have a lot to work on, but I can only handle one thing a time. So, today I have chosen one thing to focus on… the way I do every day. Tomorrow, I’ll work on something else, but today, just one thing.

What about you? What’s the one thing you need to work on today? And yes, there can be only one.

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