Why do some people’s lives seem to move in a divinely calculated direction while others just drive around in circles?
I always say, “If your minds made up, don’t let me confuse you with the facts.”
The fact is, intent focus is what allows some to drive in a direction that leads to meaningful destinations.
While unfocused driving is like circular reasoning, you always end up exactly where you started.
Thomas Edison said, “The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.”
Focus minded people concentrate their energy on one task at a time and when possible tenaciously follow one task to its finish.
Single-minded workers understand the secret of using block time to accomplish significant projects and complete important tasks. You can create five, one-hour blocks or try reversing it and see how much you accomplish with one, five-hour block.
Either way, your productivity goes up.
Productive people also block out days and dedicate them to a single purpose.
For instance, one day could be designated to returning phone calls, checking emails, scheduling appointments, calendering and blocking the rest of your week. Designating days focuses all efforts on one problem or idea all day long.
Single taskers understand the importance of prioritizing tasks and projects. Beginning with the most important task first and focusing on it until completion.
Using the touch-move rule in chess is a helpful concept. It requires a player to complete a move of any piece on the board they intentionally touch if it is legal to do so. So when it comes to tasks, if you touch it, then complete it. That will intensify your focus and increase your productivity.
Precision requires the removal of all distractions. Directionally driven people understand a three second distraction doubles the likelihood of making mistakes. A four and a half second distraction quadruples the likelihood errors will occur.
By working on one task with no distractions, you eliminate mistakes, are many times more productive and your success rate goes up exponentially.
Intentionally, single-minded individuals are minimalist. They purposely eliminated excesses in favor of focusing on fewer, more important priorities. This approach understands how the human brain is designed to work and capitalizes on the realization less really is more.
Strong single taskers also understand the times of the day when their peak for productivity and meaningful work occurs. In other words, if you are an early bird or morning person, you probably want to place your more difficult and demanding task before noon and reserve your simpler task for the afternoon.
On the other hand, if you are a night owl you likely would benefit from placing a simpler task in the morning blocks and reserve a more difficult task for the afternoon and evening.
Being in touch with your own Edison enables you to focus your very best efforts, for extended periods, in order to finish your work well.
For all you multi-tasking pros out there, who still are not convinced about how focus on one thing at a time is actually how the Edisons of the world were able to get so much done, consider these myths.
Research shows multitasking takes 40 percent more time than focusing on one task at a time and actually more for a comprehensive task.
Studies also debunked the idea that because I’m almost 50 and your only 25 your youth allows you to multi-task better than me. In fact, the results show it didn’t matter if you were 23 and I was a 103, because the human brain at no age or stage of development is capable of multi-tasking.
A 2009 study found those who think their good at it actually are the worst multi-taskers and the more frequently people multi-tasked the worse they become and the more mistakes they made; thus, practice doesn’t always make perfect.
Multi-tasking does not show you are a person who values priorities, but reveals you are actually a person who avoids the top priority.
By busying yourself with lots of tasks, you actually avoid doing the one thing incessantly that would bring the most success.
The facts are in. The myth is busted. The truth is, there is a time for everything under the sun and meaningful work was created to build communities that tirelessly work to rebuild and restore successful societies.
Dr. T.J. Kimble of Radcliff is a clinical pastoral counselor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org