Imagine ten buckets of water lined up horizontally in front of you. You’re at a challenge and the key is to dump as much water into a big bucket that is a hundred yards down.
Then you find out the rule is that you can only move the buckets two inches forward at a time. What do you do? You start moving each bucket forward two inches running like crazy between them.
Can you visualize that? Kind of frustrating, right? Seems like it will take forever to move all those ten buckets to the finish line.
Yet you do it every day.
Now, you may not be moving buckets of water but take a look at your to-do list. How many things are you trying to move forward each day? And how many of those are you actually finishing each day?
If you are like most people you jump between projects and to-do’s, you answer emails, phone and text as they arrive and you thrive in that you are productive because you can multi-task! You’re the master of juggling ten things at a time.
Now, let’s go back to moving the ten buckets of water forward. I’d think most would agree doing that is incredibly inefficient instead of grabbing one bucket at a time and moving it to the finish line. After all, the key was to dump as much water into the big bucket as possible. But the rule didn’t say anything about having to move all ten buckets forward. The rule only said you could move the buckets two inches forward at a time.
Who would win the race of dumping as much water into the big bucket without losing their mind if you focused on moving one bucket forward two inches at a time (two inches, put bucket down, move it two inches, put it down and so on) compared to someone moving ten buckets forward at the same time? You would win, right? I mean, by the time you have dumped one bucket the other person is still busy running between buckets.
Single focus is key to productivity and getting more done. Our brains are not wired to multi-task. It can only focus on one thing at a time. When you constantly ask it to switch tasks you don’t give it the chance to fully focus. Hence, you scatter your brain power. Ever noticed how hard it is to get back to focusing on something after you get interrupted?
Changing a habit can be challenging. It’s not easy going from being a multi-tasker to a single-tasker. But think of what you could accomplish if you only moved one bucket forward at a time.
I could go on about how to create your daily to-do list but what if you only put ONE thing on there tomorrow? Not ten, not three, not two. One thing.
What would that one thing be? What if it was the thing you’ve procrastinated on? How would you feel if you finally got that off your plate? By not having anything else to focus on you’re stuck with that one thing. Or maybe it’s something you haven’t taken the time to do but really want to do. How would that feel to get further ahead on that one project?
Go and try single tasking. Only work on ONE thing. Then come back and let me know what you thought, what you learned and how it felt. Can’t wait to hear your comments.
Cheers – Camilla