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
A few years ago, one of my articles was published in an educational magazine of interest to high school and college-aged flute students and their teachers. (My former career was as a classical musician.) I had written the article not long after the passing of the well-known and highly respected French flutist, Louis Moyse, my teacher and musical mentor of 30 years.
I came across the article again a few days ago and was taken by the fact that the musical “Life Lessons” I had shared with other flutists can easily apply to those of us in today’s business world.
What follows are 10 of the many memorable quotes I remember from Louis Moyse, followed by my translations. To apply the lessons to business life, I have added just a few words to my original writing and have shown them in parentheses.
- “This is your territory; mark it!” — Find your place in the (business) world and make the most of it!
- “Start from nothing. Then, allow yourself to grow.” — Make knowledge and self-improvement your lifelong quest.
- “Don’t be a flutist; it’s much more important to be a musician.” — Look at the details, certainly, but don’t forget to focus on the broader (business) picture. Think strategically.
- “It may be marked ‘Grave’ but it’s not necessarily about death!”— Don’t make things out to be worse than they really are.
- “You must learn to be your own teacher.” — You are responsible for your own destiny. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
- “You need to suffer!”— With (business) experience comes understanding.
- “Be more free, like a sheep. Sometimes it helps not to have too much brains (sic).” — Don’t over-think things; trust your (business) instincts.”
- “There is no such thing as ‘instant flute.’ You have to work at it!” — Success (in music or business) is not supposed to come easily.
- “Sometimes, the most difficult thing is to do nothing.” — Some things (in business) are best left alone.
- “Make it simple.” — Clear straightforward (business) communication has a power all its own.
by Rebecca Cochran