One of the most important characteristics of a great warrior is to get things done. In our modern world this is easier said than done. You may struggle to get things done as fast as you can and end up procrastinating. To focus on getting things done you don’t need a huge system telling you how to organize, you just need to learn one simple secret: Do one thing at a time.
The myth of multitasking
Let’s be honest here as we usually do. The probability that you are able to multitask is almost zero. Don’t worry, I used to believe I was a great multitasker, but in fact I sucked at it.
The reality is that almost nobody can multitask. It is just another clever illusion of your brain. Think of it as your ego telling you are awesome while it hides the mistakes that multitasking creates. To make it simple, you don’t multitask, you just have lapses of micro attention, you jump from one task to the other and that makes you lose focus.
So if you can’t multitask or focus in several things at the same time what should you do? Glad you asked.
Want great focus? Just focus in one thing at a time
Focus on this one for a minute. If you are just jumping from one task to the other as fast as you can while you “multitask,” can you imagine how much energy is needed to keep you working? Yes, it is an insane amount. It’s so much energy that you will just end up tired and suffering stress. Probably that’s why you long for the weekends, because your brain needs a good rest.
Now imagine what could happen if you focus all that energy in one single task. Instead of being brilliant as a light bulb you would be insanely powerful as a laser beam! An excellent trade if you ask me.
Now if you can focus in one simple task you will be able to get things done far faster. Which in turn will leave you more time for leisure or other projects. Remember instead of taking 2 hours to do some task you will be taking 1 hour or even less. That’s because your whole energy will be focused in one single tasks and all the steps to complete it one at at a time.
One small challenge
This may sound like an awesome deal but I truly understand that modern society tries as hard as it can to take you away from your focus. But as a true warrior you will fight it back.
Here is the small challege (and a bit further we will talk about the solution), you have been “multitasking” for so long that now it’s hard to focus. Some need to have the TV on and just making noise in the background (I’m still recovering from this one). Or perhaps they need to make a lot of facebook or twitter breaks. It’s ok all that will change to give you renewed focus power.
Simple steps to help you improve your focus
The following tips will help you start going from multitasking to the great power of single task focus:
- Devote specific time to the task at hand: Make a date with yourself to finish that project or task. Tell people that you will be very busy or at least turn off your phone. Don’t worry a good lapse of 45 minutes will do. And there is a reason it’s not a full hour.
- Take regular breaks: Those remaining 15 minutes is for you to check whatever you wish, facebook, twitter, google+, anything you wish. The idea is that you commit to this times at least for a month. So that you will get used to specific times where you focus in one task alone.
- If problems persist get off the internet: I’m an internet junkie, I love to read a lot of blogs and learn as much as I can, but when I really need some time to truly focus I just go offline. Usually that goes as far as getting away from the computer, but that is not necessary. This will avoid all those notifications and other kind of distracting activities.
- If 45 minutes is too much, do 15: I believe you can go for 45 minute4s of unbroken focus, but if you are having problems, start a bit slowly, do it in 15 minutes sessions. Once you get it by with the 15 minutes add 5 each following week. This will build some momentum and help you focus for longer periods of time
- Talk to your team: If you work with friends or at least people in your office, try to get this as a group exercise. Place a friendly bet, like the one who can’t do the 15 minutes focus sessions is one that has to bring the coffee tomorrow. You will see how fast the group integrates and builds trust and the free coffee you are going to win is certainly worth the 15 minutes focus.
There are a lot more ideas to help you focus. If you truly wish to deepen on those ideas I truly suggest you get Focus by Leo Babauta, It’s an awesome book and even if you don’t want to spend money, you can get the free version as an insanely good deal.
Remember, one thing at a time
The urge will be big but if you commit yourself to improve the way you work, single tasking will help you actually have more time. Give it a try, stop multitasking and shut the noise outside, then you can have real time to actually make valuable work. Who knows, perhaps you can grow your side hustle into a full income project that you actually enjoy.
Focus on one task at a time and you will change your own world. Your new focus will help you change habits and also to find your passion. Focus on the great things that you are able to do. And remember this quote when you are about to get distracted:
It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. -Aristotle Onassis
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