In “Living the 80/20 Way“, Richard Koch asks: how many of the activities you cram into a day are necessary? If you chose the one activity which would make the biggest difference to your life today, what would it be? Can it be broken down further, into more manageable chunks?
Having decided what it is, focus on that activity alone, until you have finished it. If you find yourself fretting about the other things you’re not doing, then make time to write down the most important task you’re not doing, and then forget about it until you’ve finished what you’re doing right now.
If you’re worrying about a task you’re not doing, you’re distracting yourself from the job in hand, so it will take longer, and you may not complete it satisfactorily.
You may decide that your job or your business is the most important activity because it pays the bills – and yet there are lots of other things you want to be doing instead. Their time will come if you plan ahead.
Set yourself a deadline to stop work at a reasonable time, so you can schedule the most important leisure activity – perhaps getting home in time to put your children to bed or have a romantic dinner with your partner, meeting friends or going to an evening class. Once you leave work, relax. Whatever you didn’t get finished at work will still be there tomorrow!
At any given time, it’s important to focus wholeheartedly on whatever you’re doing, in order to get the most out of the experience. Nothing else need cloud your thoughts until that task is finished – or until you choose to take a break and let your mind wander.
‘Multi-tasking’ is inefficient because it divides your concentration. Computers give the impression of multi-tasking, but they don’t really. If you click on two icons at once, the computer will do a bit of the first task, then a bit of the second, then a bit of the first… leaving you wishing you’d bought a faster computer!
Take time to do things properly, stop fretting about what you’re not doing, and concentrate on the one thing you are doing. The results will be far more rewarding.