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The Power of Single Minded Focus – WAHM in Focus Podcast #8 Transcript

Mon, Apr 28, 2008

Podcast, Productivity

 Single Minded Project Focus

There is nothing like focusing on one task and one task only to completion to get good, targeted work finished.

Multi tasking was popular but I see it's popularity dwindling as people are finding themselves unfocused, stressed and dropping too many balls as they simply have too much going on.

Multi tasking is not the magic pill that we once thought it was, and it's one of the causes of burn out and ill health.

It comes to some people more naturally than others, but in almost all cases – any project requiring concentration and quality work is better done with single focus.

This means no email, no phone, no other windows on the computer open.

I have a bad habit of working on more than 1 thing when my computer is slow to load. That process alone probably makes it slower and is a good illustration of why single focus is more efficient and will help you to create your best work – for every additional task you attempt – your focus and energy devoted to each one is divided.

Theoretically, the sum of your time taken to accomplish 2 tasks should be the same as these tasks done separately, but much as synchronisity and exponential progress works in our favour, multi tasking works against it.

This is for a few basic and practical reasons. When making a concentrated effort to single focus your efforts on a project…

  • You plan your time better. I f you have hours devoted to doing one thing, you are going to choose the most important thing that you can be doing. On the other hand, with no single focus and no plan, it is very easy to fritter an hour away on nothing in particular.
  • You spend less time preparing, putting things away, finding things, loosing things and remembering where you put project notes etc. Brian Tracy says that you can save hours doing what he calls single handling for these reasons.
  • You cut down on procrastination time.
  • The act of planning your time pockets for 1 single project will increase your focus on the important projects and allow you to easily see if you are taking on too much.

It's easy to spin our wheels working on 10 projects for what seems to be time immemorial, and assuming that it just takes that long, never realizing the problem is inefficient work habits and overload because you have no focus, and no clear plan of HOW and WHEN you should expect completion. Sometimes we don't even realize exactly how long we've been working at something and not getting anywhere with it.

When scheduling 10 projects into specific time pockets in your weekly planner, you will see right away how much time these projects are going to take, whether or not it is possible to complete them on deadline and which ones to complete first. Prioritizing will become a clear requirement.

Again, single focus and planning go hand in hand and work together so seamlessly that not much effort is required.

SINGLE MINDED FOCUS CLEARS YOUR HEAD 

When I am not disciplined in using single focus and time pockets to plan my project time, I am in a constant state of what I like to call “the fog”.

When your every day habits are a mish mash of tasks, done when you get to them rather than in an orderly and planned fashion, you brain starts to reflect the same state.

Maybe that is why the saying that a cluttered environment is an indication of a cluttered mind.

It can be a question of which comes first – the chicken or the egg. But one thing is for certain – a clear space, a clearly defined schedule for projects and tasks and using single focus to get those tasks accomplished will result in a clearer mind and better thinking power. Try it!

ACTION TIPS – Putting Single Focus Principles Into Action

  • List all major projects in progress now and in the future.
  • List all minor maintenance tasks.
  • Create time pockets necessary to finish the minor maintenance tasks by listing them under a major time pocket category. For example, clear and answer emails, blog, comments, return calls can go in one time pocket at a suitable time to be done only at that time. 
  • Remember to delegate anything that you can.
  • Prioritize your major projects.
  • Set a time line of estimated completion for each and decide which ones to work on first and how much time your want to devote to each one, either daily or weekly.
  • Decide on the duration and frequency you want to use for each project time pocket and schedule it into your planner.Schedule planning time each week.
  • Stick to your schedule.
  • Make a note at the end of each work day as to how you made out, how you could do better with what didn't work and what you can do again or build upon with what did work.

That should keep you busy! Try using these principles of single minded focus and you'll be surprised at how much more productive you become, and how much more on track you will feel.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • I found this awesome blog written by David Bohl of Slow Down Fast – he obviously 'gets it' and has some great resources. 

Here is one of them – Time Management – Focus and Getting Results.

  • Brian Tracy is one of my favourite time managemenet speakers. I listen to his informative presentations over and over.  He has a book out called Focal Point that is the place to start when planning your single minded focus activities and time pockets – it will help you to choose your focal point, the one place that want to radiate focus from within the 7 key areas of your life.  Focal Point is available as an ebook or softcover.

One Response to “The Power of Single Minded Focus – WAHM in Focus Podcast #8 Transcript”

  1. I’ve always thought that multi-tasking was unproductive and would shudder when I saw that as the top requirement for a job posting. Thanks for your tips on getting things done with focus Jan!

    JoLynn from The Fit Shack’s last blog post..A Cheap Way to Eat Clean – Grow Your Own Veggies!

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