I have a terrible time with focus. In fact, I don’t even want to focus on one thing. I want to do as many things as humanly possible at once.
I hate to sleep, because it’s the one time when I haven’t figured a way to multitask. Yes, I read my email at the stop lights. Yes, I have a book in every bathroom in the house. Yes, I read Success magazine while I eat.
Now that I’ve gotten my confessions out of the way, I’ll tell you — you will find greater success if you focus on one thing at a time. If you put your heart and soul and all into it until your one task is 100% complete.
The absolute best teacher on the issue of focus is Thich Nhat Hahn. I recently finished his book, “The Miracle of Mindfulness.” One of my greatest take-aways from the book was “when you are washing the dishes, wash the dishes.”
Thich Nhat Hahn beautifully illustrates the how and why of being present in everything you do. No matter how trivial it may seem.
But before I can get to the joy of being fully present when I wash the dishes, I must first learn the basics.
Like how to complete this blog post without getting up to grab a snack, clicking away to my email, trying to listen to a “can’t miss” webinar replay in the background . . .
But why? Why does focus matter? Aren’t those who are capable of constant multitasking the most productive, and therefore the ones that find the most success?
No. In fact, there are (at least) three reasons that focus will bring you more success. In life, and in business.
First, focus actually saves you time.
Common sense would perhaps dictate that if you can do two things at once you will save time. What I have found, however, is that focusing on one thing allows you to complete that one project faster.
It’s like the difference in walking from point A to point B in a straight line, rather than weaving back and forth to your destination. Each time you turn your attention even for a moment, you have veered off the course and it will take you longer to get to the finish line.
In the worst of all circumstances, you don’t finish your task in one sitting. It’s impossible to then come back and pick it up right where you left off. It will take you, at the very least, a few minutes to get back to where you left off. And sometimes, you never really regain your momentum. And it takes twice as long to finish your project.
So, yes, when you multitask you get two things done. But chances are you could have accomplished each of them quicker and better if you had tackled them one at a time.
Second, focus makes you feel better.
When you focus on one thing you don’t have to worry so much. If your only goal for this hour is to respond to all of your email, then you can just do it. You aren’t worried about trying to answer all the emails, and get your newsletter finished, and update your Facebook page . . .
There’s peace of mind in having one task that can be completed in one block of time.
And, if you are focused, you are going to complete more. You won’t have four unfinished projects you are juggling. You’ll have one finished project and a clear picture of the next project that’s in line.
Checking that one thing off of your “to do” list has an unbelievable “feel good” factor.
Third, focus means you reach your goals faster.
Focus allows you to be more organized. Each success goal you have can be broken down into a series of small steps. If your goal is to get to the top of the building, focus allows you to walk decisively up one flight of steps. Which brings you one floor closer to the top.
A lack of focus, on the other hand, is like being on one of those stair-steppers at the gym. You keep walking up those revolving stairs, yet you get no higher – no closer to your success goal.
With these three benefits in mind, my focus this week is on focus. I’ll let you know what amazing results I see.
I’d love to hear from you below. Do you struggle with focus? If not, I’d love to know how you do it! If so, let me know how you plan to implement my suggestions so that you can save time, feel better, and find success faster!