Chapter 12. Focusing the mind
Men talk of killing time,
while time quietly kills them. ― Dion Boucicault
Concentration and the ability to handle a single task are essential
to any great achievement.
Focus means that
once you’ve started on your most important task,
determined to stick with it without straying
or getting distracted.
The ability to focus your mind on the most important use
of your time is the number one requirement for success.
You can fulfill every other requirement
with your intellect,
ability and creativity,
but if you can’t focus on each specific thing,
you won’t be successful.
You need to do the most important things first,
one after the other,
and ignore the secondary.
If you don’t force yourself to focus fully on specific things,
you’ll always end up doing low-priority tasks.
Always make enough time for your top priorities.
Determine how long it takes to do one thing
and add 30% of that time back up
for unexpected interruptions,
and new responsibilities.
With a reserve of 30% of the time,
you will probably estimate quite accurately the time
it will take to get the job done.
This is one of the secrets to achieving high performance at work.
Earl Nightingale said,
“All great achievements in life come from
sustained focus over a long period of time.”
Practice handling each task
Getting things done
is one of the most important time management techniques
and life management principles.
Once you have started a task,
you must continue with it until it is completed.
Handling each task requires you to stop lifting
and putting down a task over and over,
moving on to something else and then back again.
Once you’ve taken over and started a task,
force yourself to finish it
before moving on to the next.
Apply a case-by-case approach to your correspondence.
Ignore the unimportant immediately
and deal with important documents only once
by sorting or responding right away.
The one-to-one principle popularized
by time management expert Alan Lakein comes from time
and movement studies that compared the results of people
who are focused and those
who are always working intermittently,
walking away and returning
to the same task over and over while doing it.
These studies found
that each time you pause one thing
and move on to another,
you lose momentum and rhythm in your work
and no longer have a sense of where you’re going.
When you get back to that,
you have no choice
but to review what you’ve done before,
spotting before stopping and starting over.
This process can take up to 5 times longer
to get the job done than it would
if you continued to do it in sequence
from start to finish.
doing it one at a time can shorten the time
it takes you to complete an important task by 80%,
while greatly increasing the quality of the results.
Currently, there is quite a lot of debate
about the concept of multitasking.
Some people think
that they are capable of high performance when multitasking.
Studies have now proven that this idea is completely wrong.
Experts discovered that multitasking
is essentially “switching between tasks”.
In fact, you can only do one thing at a time.
If you stop doing one thing to move on to another,
you must shift all of your attention
and energy to the new task.
When you return to your previous task,
you are simply shifting your attention like a beam of light
from one target to another.
Then you will have to get back to working on the old job
so that you can start over with it.
Dumb and dumber
According to USA Today,
every time you move from one task to another and back again,
you will have to expend a portion of your brain power
At the end of a busy day,
you can lose up to 10 IQ points.
you gradually become less intelligent during the day
and by the end of the day will be exhausted
and often indecisive over little things like what to eat
or what program to watch on TV in the evening.
Multitasking may seem tempting,
but it’s an illusionary use of time.
It can harm your career
and affect your ability to complete the most important tasks
that are critical to your success.
One way or another,
the rich will continue to add more assets to their fortunes,
while the majority sit still worrying about paying the bills. ― Steve Siebold
Determined to focus
Resolve today to make it a habit to plan your work carefully,
set priorities, and start with your most important tasks.
As you begin to work on your key task,
resolve to give it your full attention without straying
or distracting until it’s done.
One of the techniques used by high-performance leaders
is to work from home in the morning or evening
or on weekends when you can focus your mind
without being distracted.
Another important factor in being able to focus
whole mind is to avoid the “temptation of distraction”.
Instead of answering all emails or calls,
turn them off.
Close doors, turn off devices
and put everything aside
so you can handle the task
that will make the biggest difference to your company
and career at this point.
When you create that habit,
soon your performance
and results will be multiplied many times over.
Millionaire or billionaires only focus on doubling their wealth every day. ― Steve Siebold