ONE

When was the last time you concentrated on accomplishing ONE task in 24 hours?

Have you noticed? We humans seem to be hardwired to “multi-task.” It’s as if we’re trying to prove to ourselves that we’re invincible.

To combat this lately, I’ve been consciously practicing the strategy of focusing on ONE work-related project daily. Rather than pretending to manage a long “to-do” list every day, I’m choosing ONE main item to accomplish each day. The item might be ONE that’s truly deadline driven (most aren’t), or ONE that has lingered on my list way too long and deserves closure. No matter the reason, I’ve discovered that when I devote my energy to ONE daily goal, my “to-do” list shrinks quickly.

At the end of each workday, I select the next day’s ONE project. That makes it easy to immediately dive into that ONE project the next morning.

Of course, not every project can be completed in ONE day. I’ve learned to break larger projects into sections that can be accomplished in a single day.

And sure, I’m regularly pulled away from my ONE task, be it responding to an immediate client need or taking part in a pop-up conference call. By knowing what my ONE task is for the day, however, I’m able to easily switch back and complete it.

By giving myself “permission” to focus on ONE main project per day, I’m feeling a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in my work. I’m able to commit to client deadlines more readily. Rather than allowing myself to be pulled in many different directions each and every day, my greater focus is allowing me to work more quickly. And, I think my work is better overall.

Let me know your thoughts. Does the ONE strategy work for you?

by Rebecca Cochran

There Is No Wrong Way.

While walking the other day, I spied this sign. Of course, I had to walk towards it. I’ve always had a bit of a contrarian streak within me. Even as a kid, if my sisters were going one way, I went the other —just to see what would happen.

I did my entire walk the “wrong way” that day. I enjoyed crossing paths with other walkers, runners and cyclists and being able to greet them “face-to-face” with a smile or a nod. If I’d been walking the “right way,” I would have missed those human interactions, so important in today’s world.

One of my earlier posts, Walking (and Working) Backwards, came to mind. In that post, I explore some possible advantages to starting a project somewhere in “the middle” or even, at “the end.” There is certainly more than one way to approach a problem, reach a goal or generate a new idea.

On my “wrong way” walk, I recalled yet another of my earlier posts. In it, I recount “The Rules” attributed to John Cage, one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. Many of his works disrupted the way we think about listening. To Cage, music was everywhere and could be made with anything. Chance plays a big role in many of his works.

Although Cage’s “Rules” are geared towards students and teachers, we can all learn from them. His Rule Six is my favorite. “Nothing is a mistake.” I need to remind myself of this, regularly. There is no “wrong way” to accomplish anything.

I also love the ambiguity of Rule Ten. “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules.” I couldn’t agree more. Whether it pertains to our work or our play, there are no rules. We’re all learning and adapting as we go — especially lately.

There Is No Wrong Way.

Life Editing

Rather than making “Resolutions” this weird New Year, I’ve decided to do some “Life Editing.” What follows is my A to Z list of items and habits I’m vowing to edit out of my life as a way to make room for more good stuff !

A      Adverbs: Because life is short, isn’t it, Ernest?

B      Babbling: Who wants to listen to all my useless small talk anyway?

C      Cheap French Wine:  Où est le point ? Taste is everything !

D      Dillydallying: Life’s too short to waste time !

E      Exaggerating: Why make circumstances seem wilder than they really are?

F      Following: Lead, instead.

G      Giving Up: Keep going, even when I think I can’t.

H      Hurrying: If I’m constantly hurrying through life, I may miss out on some of the good stuff !

I        Good Intentions: Don’t just plan, act !

J       Junk Food: No explanation needed, right?

K      Knickknacks: Curios, collectibles or clutter? Pare it down !

L       Lonely: The ‘2020 Word of the Year’, right? Learn to enjoy time alone, which is so different than being lonely.

M      Moderation: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth going all-in, right?

N      Nightclubs: Hmmm… what’re nightclubs?

O      Overthinking: Again, life’s too short.

P      Perfectionism: It doesn’t really exist, so why bother?

Q      Quitting: Success is partly about not giving up. (See ‘G’ above.)

R      Retirement: Research shows that those who continue to engage in meaningful work enjoy longer, healthier lives.

S      I’m Stumped: Can’t think of a single “S” word worth giving up. You?

T       Television: Yes, even PBS.

U      Utopian Ideas: See ‘P’ above.

V      Very: My least favorite adverb. (See ‘A’ above.)

W     Worry: Why bother? Be happy !

X      :-x: Emoticons have never been my thing !

Y       Yes: Instead, learn to say “No” at least once a week.

Z       Zoom: Need I say more ?

What would you add to this list ?