One thing at a time

June 16, 2018

FOCUS on one thing at a time. This means that multitasking is bad. Yes, say it again. ‘Multitasking is bad‘. Slowly this time. In a whisper, almost. Now scream it! Loud! Fast! ‘Multitasking is bad!’

It is. I can assure you. It makes you feel fragmented, disoriented, and unsure of quality. I learnt this the hard way. When I found things going too slowly, never getting done. Eventually, I came to this tiny principle that I should have known from Genesis chapter one. The most effective way to get things done is to do one thing at a time. Give it your full attention and produce good quality within the window of time that you focus on it.

Now lets get this right. It is multitasking – keeping many balls in the air within a window of time that you are working – that is bad. It is not the execution of different aspects of the same project over the project period. So in a day, accept that you can get only a few different things done. Give each one its own time allotment. Within that time allotment, give that one thing your full attention. Protect yourself from fragmentation. And most importantly, protect yourself from the habit of fragmentation!

This means that you will not try to do three things during a 30 minute time slot. Cook when you cook.  Read when you read. Eat when you eat.

Allow yourself time to do any particular thing well. So as in Genesis Chapter 1, outline the general frame of your activities in any project. Then work at only one type of component in its own window of time. Then rest away from it for a while. Pause, rejuvenate and stir up your creativity, so that you move with the best strategic thinking.

And can you imagine this? It took me 50 years to find out this seemingly simple fact of life. We learn slowly, don’t we?

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