I'm tired of multi-tasking!
I came across a new issue from Inc. Magazine that featured the CEO of Twitter on the cover, apparently he is going to teach us how to get even more done in our already insane lives.
When I saw that, I threw the magazine away.
I have a firm belief that we're spreading ourselves too thin, and while the call from society asks us to do more and be more amazing, all that happens in the end is an average result. Because we do too much, we've become average people. In fact, many of us do less than average in life. You heard me. Because you're trying to do to much, you're mediocre at all of it. Yes, you may be jugging a lot, but are you really making a difference or are you just balancing a thousand balls in the air? My guess is the latter.
I've been thinking a lot about what it takes to be the kind of person that actually produces high quality work that you can be proud of. What made Michelangelo great? How about Steve Jobs? Why was Henri Cartier-Bresson the best in his field?
The answer is a single purpose of mind.
Acquiring a Single Purpose of Mind
What if you chose one thing in each area of your life to be great at? By that, I mean one thing at work, one thing as a parent, one thing as a creative outlet. As you live each area of your life, you dig deeper into that one thing.
I'm sick of the word "multi-tasking". People who try and do more than one thing at a time make mistakes. They get sloppy, they work without passion, and they become addicted to a chaotic state of mind. At the end of the day, they're tired and have very little to show for it. Multi-tasking is a fallacy that destroys the essence of the lives we could live. Forgive me for being so dramatic, but I feel very strongly about this.
We're suffering from mass exposure to Attention deficit Disorder. We've painted ourselves into a corner where we try and devote our attention to a topic only to find ourselves getting distracted by something else unrelated, but apparently important.
Try this: Pick one area in your life be it work, parenting, or creativity. Now pick just one thing that you'll focus on in that area. Ignore everything else and watch what happens. I know this is bold advice to give, and yes it's hard to implement. I'm not immune from this myself. I've been trying to do this in my life and it's paying off in spades, but I still have a long way to go.
How to Choose Your Focus
For me, the hardest part about deciding to get good at something is picking just one thing and letting everything else go. This is especially hard from me in the creativity role of my life. I have a lot of interests and picking one feels insane. However, it's starting to work. In the past, I was interested in music, writing, photography, and more. The list when on and on. Since I began thinking about photography as my sole source of creativity, I've really taken off. In fact, I've launched a new photography journal just this month, had several amazing shoots, and learned a lot about myself. Before I made this decision, my photography was nothing more than a dream. Now that I have blocked everything else out and gone for it, I've fallen in love.
Here's a picture from my shoot this morning. Visit my photo journal called Today In Pixels.
In order to chose your focus, you're going to have to do some soul searching. I would suggest taking the day off, getting away from everything, and seriously considering how you want to make your mark.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- What brings you the most joy?
- What adds the most value to that role in your life?
- What would becoming great in that area do for you and those you love?
Ideas for Work
- Product development
- Customer service
Ideas for Parenting
- Play with your kids
- Teach responsibility
- Build confidence
Ideas for Creativity / Self-Expression
- A Sport
A Living Example
At work, I have a million things I'm supposed to do. As founder of Ignite Spot, it's easy for me to get pulled in several directions from operations, to sales, and customer service. If I look at all that's expected of me, I could be average at all of them, or I could focus on one and let our team work on the others. I can still have oversight as the business owner, but I don't need to do them.
What bring me the most joy at Ignite Spot?
I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, and trying to find ways to solve them. As such, I lean towards selling for our firm. That role allows me to achieve my goals and do what I love.
What would add the most value to Ignite Spot?
In sales I can help the company get new clients which ramps up growth, creates more opportunity for everyone, and creates a sense of excitement. All of the other areas of my job are great, but selling definitely adds the most value to the company as a whole when it comes to my skill set and passion.
What would becoming great in this area mean for me and those I love?
As I sell, I'm able to create a more stable financial future for myself and family, create jobs for our team, and provide extra funds for growth and development.
Again, I would suggest that you do this for each role in your life. Once you get your focus set, hit it with everything you've got. In short, doing less means doing a whole lot more.