Friday, November 2, 2012

Life Lessons—Only One Thing!

by Reba J Hoffman, PhD

A to-do list longer than Santa's?

Ever had a to-do list that’s longer than Santa’s list of who’s naughty and nice? Yeah, me too, especially when it comes to writing and developing new ways to live my dream. My dad used to say, “The more I do, the behind-er I get.”

Wasn’t great English but the wisdom rang through. There are so many things to do sometimes, those with a dream become weary. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming, you just pop-n-plop. You toss a bag of popcorn in the microwave and plop down in front of the TV to watch a movie.

It becomes routine until you look back over a year wondering what happened to it. Your dream is no more realized than the day you birthed the desire in the first place. There is something you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. That is, concentrate on Only One Thing!

Here’s why that helps you: 
    How much does your to-do list weigh?
  • 1. You don’t feel the weight of all those items on a big, long to-do list. Most anyone can tackle one thing, right?
  • 2. You can be present in whatever one thing you’re doing right now. 

If you’re reading this blog post, my guess is your dream is to become a published author. Moving from zero to fifty thousand words or more can be enough to cause even the most seasoned writers to turn tail and run. That’s why it’s so important to concentrate on only one thing! 
  • Plot your story. One thing. 
  • Interview your heroine. One thing. 
  • Construct scene 18. One thing.

Work in small bites of time.
You get my point. By concentrating your full and undivided attention—even for five to ten consecutive minutes—will keep you moving forward toward living your dream. It will also increase your motivation, improve your confidence and ignite your creativity.

So don’t worry about all the bazillion things on your to-do list. Don’t get bogged down in all the things you must get done. Give yourself permission to concentration on getting done only one thing. If you do, one day you’ll wake up and discover there are no more one thing’s left to complete!

How do you juggle your writing dream with those other things in life? How does that work for you?

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.


  1. Giving myself permission to accomplish only one thing will be the challenge so that will be my ONE thing today. Permission received!

    Thanks Reba and Edie...

  2. Thank you so much from this ADHD writer! Today.I.Will.Focus.On.One.Thing.

  3. This couldn't have come on a better day, Reba. Since I am still in the process of moving from North Carolina to Ohio my "to do list" is so long it won't fit on one piece of paper.

    Yesterday I wrote and today I am going to write! The "to do list" is going in a drawer for another day.

    Please pray for some sun for us here in Ohio. It has been raining here for almost a week, but I am so grateful that I have power. So many people have lost power (Cleveland area) and many schools have been closed. Halloween had to be rescheduled.

    Please continue to pray with me for all the people whose lives have been devastated because of Hurricane Sandy.

    ...and The Write Conversation is the only email I am reading today!!

  4. My goal is to be satisfied, content, at peace with accomplishing my "one thing."
    I struggle daily with feelings of inadequacy. The linens were folded but the socks were left undone. The kitchen was cleaned but I didn't bake something for a neighbor as I had planned. I researched for an article but didn't get any writing done. And the list goes on...
    Thank you for your post. I greatly needed it. I press on--one thing at a time.