ONE THING AT A TIME

A conversation came up between my respected and esteemed friend Daramola Tosin ad me on a good Wednesday afternoon in the month of February 2016 where he made a certain striking statement which inspired this brief write-up just as the statement got me motivated as well as intensified in thought. At times, not that we do not know the right thing to do at a particular right time, but we at times unconsciously tend to wait for something or someone to motivate or spur us to action. At times we just need that inspiration to “ginger” the “spirit” in us to do that thing we’ve always had in mind to do, irrespective of the time for the said action.

Taking us into this quick piece, it’s needful I show you an extract from the conversation:

Daram: Bro, have u tot of focusing on how to improve ur blog lately
Me: Yes I’ve baba… Just getting distraction from dis my job search thing. .. I’ve some stuffs penned down, but ve not make them whole…
Daram: Put urself togeda and focus on one thing…it’s 1 step @ a time my broda
Me: You are right bro…

Most times, all we just need to start things or push on in life is that one statement or an ice breaker which melts unconscious set barriers. Focusing on one thing at a time gives you an edge not just to get what you set your mind to achieve, but having the best of that set goal. Most of us could be multi-tasking, placing our attention on many things (goals) at once, but your focus on that one thing gives you a better and quality result.

“One thing at a time” is one of the most essential time management principles that psychologists will advise or recommend for their clients or patients. Professionals in different fields have often referred to it and have as well used such principle to make head ways in their dealings.

At work, many people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out while carrying out their duties. I must inform such people that it’s not just the number of hours we’re working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.

At this instance of juggling things, we seem not to see what we’ve lost, above all, we don’t see these stopping points, finish lines and boundaries between what we do. Obviously, technology has made it worse for us; it blurs these lines beyond recognition. Wherever we go, our work follows us, on our digital devices, ever clamant, insistent and intrusive. Technology (our device) is like an itch we can’t resist scratching, even though scratching invariably makes it worse.

Now, let’s be blunt with ourselves and tell the truth: Do you try doing many things at once? Searching for payable job and trying arduously to work on your blog and at same time planning a marriage with your fiancé/fiancée? That seems far, right? What about responding to emails, text messages and other instant messages during conference (calls or meetings, and sometimes even during calls with one other person)? What about bringing your laptop or other devices to meetings, lectures or religious services and then pretend you are taking notes while you surf the net and attend to issues on social media. At times while “important” discussion is going on, do you go through your Facebook wall and could not resist any captivating update, but to quickly respond to it? What about eating lunch at your desk while on duty; attending to clients/customers? Calls while driving, and even send the occasional text messages, even though you know you shouldn’t? Responding to messages on BBM, Whatsapp and other instant messengers while walking on the road, etc. Are you guilty of all these?

All these, cost us a lot. The biggest cost—that is if you do not crash—is to your productivity. In part, that’s a simple consequence of splitting your attention, so that you’re partially engaged in multiple activities but rarely fully engaged in any one. In part, it’s because when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you’re increasing the time it takes to finish that task by certain relevant percentage.

But most insidiously, it’s because if you’re always doing something, you’re relentlessly burning down your available reservoir of energy over the course of every day, so you have less available with every passing hour.

I know this from my own experience especially back in the university as an undergraduate. I get two to three times as much studying one thing at a time and accomplish qualitative result when I focus without interruption for a designated period of time and then take a real break, away from my study. If applied to one’s life and/or work, quality outcome is usually the end result. The best way for an individual, group or organization to fuel higher productivity and more innovative thinking is to strongly put in or encourage finite periods of absorbed focus, as well as shorter periods of real renewal. Focus on
one thing at a time.
This principle is at its most powerful when applied to getting projects under way. I know that it’s not always possible to be working on only one project at a time, but it’s a lot more possible than we are usually prepared to allow.
What I mean by a project is a desired result that takes a series of actions to complete. There’s no hard and fast dividing line between an action and a project because virtually any action can be turned into a project just by breaking it down further. But basically if you think of a project as a collection of actions leading to a specific result you will not go too wrong.

I will like to advise my readers—though it’s also up to individuals—to set their own boundaries. Consider these three conducts for yourself:

In order of priority, first do the most important thing, preferably without interruption, for certain quality period, depending on your time, with a clear start and stop time. Resist every side attraction ’cos they are distractions. Get focused on that one thing. If what you are working on is a short time thing, if possible, work in a private space during this period, or with sound-reducing earphones. Finally, resist every impulse to distraction, knowing that you have a designated stopping point. The more absorbed you can get, the more productive you’ll be. When you’re done, take at least a few minutes or period for replenishment.
Establish regular, scheduled times to think more long term, creatively, or strategically. If you don’t, you’ll constantly succumb to the tyranny of the urgent. Also, find a different environment in which to do this activity — preferably one that’s relaxed and conducive to open-ended thinking.
If on a job, take real and regular vacations. Real means that when you’re off, you’re truly disconnecting from work. Regular means several times a year if possible, even if some are only two or three days added to a weekend. The research strongly suggests that you’ll be far healthier if you take all of your vacation time, and more productive overall.

A single principle lies at the heart of all these suggestions. When you’re engaged at a project or work, get fully engage, at least for defined periods of time. When you’re renewing, with sincerity with yourself, truly renew. Make waves. Stop living your life in the gray zone.

With this piece, I welcome you back on board to this blog for more exciting, titillating and exhilarating articles and stories.

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