Did you ever had an old garden hose nozzle that didn’t work properly? The kind which sprayed every which way but wouldn’t focus a fine steady stream where and when you wanted. And we got soaked with cold water just for trying. Or, faulty shower head that drilled us, its stream going everywhere but where we wanted – no matter how often or finely we adjusted? Two small examples I’m using to ‘relate to you’, so we might feel somehow ‘on the same page’ about focus.
I used to believe I could focus.
I thought that meant CONCENTRATE – albeit something I’ve always had trouble with. That’s why I’ve sometimes wondered if I have undiagnosed ADHD. I’m not exaggerating …
Yet I’m meticulously organized, detailed, and diligent. I triage everything I’m working on, I don’t lose or forget or misplace very often.
My problem, focusing 100% on one thing. One at a time.
I’ve never done it well enough, always wanted a better way.
Multitasking may often be a necessity but I’m less and less sure of its virtue or value …
Daily now, my single-tasking project: focused on focusing my focus on one thing – one task, issue, cause, file, problem – at a time; this is hard. Very hard. I’ve been moving, culling, destroying and getting rid of a lot of those things, piles and files, you know the kind, the ones we know we’ll get to one day, the idea we’ll work on when we get around to it.
Adjusting focus is not like getting that perfect stream to spay the garden or the perfect shower setting to deliver heat and pressure on just the right spot of a very sore lower back – adjusting focus is, I’m convinced, not done that way. Rather, it is the removal of everything else. Not just tiny or irrelevant things/tasks – but everything. The 2nd and 3rd most important things – set those aside too. Clear the table, empty the room, clear the mind for only one thing. Then work it until it is gone, until it is done with you or you are done with it. Then focus on a few little things, or on what is 2nd or 3rd, but only when you are ready to release the pressure on #1, to set that primary focus aside for later or tomorrow.
I’ve been experimenting – feeling successful at it – focusing in this new way. 9:30 to noon. And again from 1:00-3:00. Not every day, but most days. I build my schedule around it. On Sunday night I review my week’s plan, the focus for each day. Sure, I fit in meetings, appointments and client/transaction specific tasks, but first – for each day, I choose and plot my focus. Meetings, appointment invitations and tasks must then be scheduled ‘around my focus’ rather than destroying it for a half or whole day. I’m not to the point of writing a book about this method or boasting I have it mastered, but so far it is feeling like a brilliant move I should have mastered long ago, but maybe I had to nearly-master all those other ways first in order to arrive at this point completely convinced of its merit …
Hi Mark. We have to have the courage to build bridges...to learn, expand and understand our thoughts. Or just stay safe......in our black and white world ....where there are no shades of grey! Personally...I am bridge builder!! Love your daily thoughts...!, UM, Toronto, ON