Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Power of One

There is a theory in sales that has to do with the power of one.

What would happen today if you called one more client, made one more sale, cut one dollar from your expenses, etc. Its about how making one small change in approach and habit can result in dramatic change over time.

Think about this…

If you saved one dollar a day, every day, you’d have $365 at the end of the year. If you cookie-jarred the cost of one coffee at Starbucks a day (lets just call that $5 a day for arguments sake…or because, like me, you like expensive coffee!) the result would be $1825 saved a year.

The power of one can really be driven home with a new baby in the house. He’s one person in one household. But his arrival required tons of shopping and preparation. His one arrival generated three showers, two significant trips, a newly decorated room. He is one person in our household, but our entire schedule and lives were rearranged to accommodate him. As one very small thing, he has completely changed our lives.

And (this really does tie together) I was pondering how in the world I manage to keep the shower clean and sparkly all the time, but that other housekeeping chores are not so successful.

And in pondering my shower, I realized we spend a couple of seconds a day on the shower squeegee-ing the glass and spraying shower spray on the tile every day. That one small effort every day saves lots of time and frustration later.

So…(here is where it ties together)…I’m constructing my goals for the new year based on this power of one. Small changes done daily – one of this and one of that – in order to make a dramatic impact in my life in the future.

Its not all fleshed out yet, but it will be something like this:

One book of scripture a day. Easy, right? I get very caught up in “Read the Bible in a Year” and all that. And frankly it gets in the way of me just digging into my Word. I’ve heard it is more effective to memorize one verse and store it in the heart than it is to read the entire Bible in a year and not recall a single word. Makes sense.

One bit of exercise a day. This is a biggie for me. I don’t really WANT to go to the gym for an hour. I don’t really WANT to do arms today and legs tomorrow. But if today I focus on walking to and from lunch, I’m already doing more for my body than I was doing. And if tomorrow, I take the stairs all day, it’s a huge leap from getting on the elevator every day. If I tackle it in small habits, its not so overwhelming. (Don’t ask me why I do not consider myself “worth” the one hour of exercise a day. That’s a whole different set of “ones.”)

One scrapbook layout a week. Ok…this seems like it shouldn’t even be here. But I have had the tendency over the last year to plan my layouts and not to execute. Now I have all these baby pictures and if do not focus on getting at least 52 layouts done this year, its going to be a disaster in my scraproom. Perhaps I’ll get started on ONE and will find inspiration for another while I’m at it. What is that Julia Cameron says? Something about how starting the process of creating is the hardest part? I think I remember that in her books. (Note to self…re-read Artists Way)

One non-maintenance cleaning thing a day. This seems odd…but I’m just so enamored with the success of our shower maintenance process. So, the dishes, laundry and, of course, the shower, are on regular schedules. They are already part of our daily processes. I want to add a cleaning thing to that each day. My theory being that I’ll spend a few moments each day cleaning something in order to save myself hours on my weekends. So today, I’m going to dust and tomorrow clean the toilets and the next day mop the kitchen floor. One thing, each day.

So, the beauty of this proposed process is that it feeds my need for goals and organization, but it has room for my life to develop more organically and less on a clock. It really makes of my own life what I’ve been trying to put into process with the Bug – goals, things we have to get accomplished each day, but not a rigid or uncompromising schedule. Its not about being tied to this hour or that hour. Its about accomplishing a little something each day – small steps.. It gives me the power to look at my calendar for tomorrow, note my appointments and then build my little tasks in here and there. And it also gives my life room for God to move. If I’m not so tied down to my big calendar, I’m not at one appointment looking toward the next, I can breath, take a look around, NOTICE my world.

Besides, as a Christian I am taught that God only reveals the NEXT step to me, not the entire journey. If I’m only focusesd on the next step, God has more room to move.

So, that’s it…This next year, I’m focusing on the power of ONE.


Sam said...

Love this - I'm going to print it out and take it on the plane with me, so I can think of how I can implement this in my life for 2007. I like little bites, little steps, little changes that over time add up to big ones.

amazing grace said...

great post! so true how one thing can make such a difference. I always try to go to bed with a clean sink--HATE waking up to dishes in the sink.

have you looked at

holychaos said...

great ideas. love the shower one... that area gives me alot of frustration!

Angelbev said...

ahhh...I was also going to suggest Her tips and tricks are so helpful in getting caught up a little at a time, just 15 minutes at a time.