“Be like a postage stamp— stick to one thing until you get there.”
I wake up early, meditate and do gentle stretches. I shower, brush my teeth and drink some water.
It’s 8am and I am ready to do work. Lots of it. I have big plans for today.
I will write two blog posts, learn the next section of my “Learn thai” book. Catch up on some reading. I also have a few errands to run but I have plenty of time to complete all of this.
I’m feeling good, I’m actually excited to start. But first I have to check my email to see if I got a reply about something.
Four hours later I wake up. The morning is a blur.
After checking email and being pulled into various blogs I move to Facebook and lose another 2 hours.
I get increasingly stressed that I’m not sticking to my perfect plan.
But I can’t.
There’s too much stuff to consume. Constant updates from friends and family.
Now I have a headache, I’m frustrated and I’m under pressure to get anything productive done.
At 12 I finally click out of my Internet browser and decide to go to a café because I can’t concentrate in my room.
By the time I settle in the café it’s closer to 1pm. I start a blog post but find I’m jumping to different pages, and watching YouTube videos.
I start trying to juggle two things at once. While starting the new blog, I skim over some of my Thai. A few minutes pass and I’m back on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter.
Oh dear, it is now 3 pm. I have done NOTHING!
The Thai I read is forgotten and the blog is not even half completed.
What happened to my master plan of productivity?
I had a list of tasks that should have been completed.
I still have a full list, a headache, and a feeling of disgust with myself.
This still happens but it’s starting to occur less frequently.
I have employed a few strategies recently that have improved my work capacity and efficiency.
And it doesn’t involve multi tasking.
“It’s one of the most prevalent myths of our culture: self-discipline.” —Leo Babauta
Actually it’s quite the opposite.
I focus on ONE thing. Every day I decide on the most important thing I need to do to make today productive.
After I have decided I focus solely on that until it’s finished.
Ideally I complete the task early before anything else but sometimes depending on work (I teach) I will move it to a different time.
During that time, I work on nothing else, no email, no phone and I finish it.
In the past I would start something, be going well, then for some reason decide to finish it later or tomorrow.
This method would break my workflow, lengthen my completion time and delay other items that needed to be attended to.
Using this method simplifies my day.
I am beginning to see a trend between simplicity and improvement in all aspects of my life.
My training – If in doubt leave it out. Squat, bench, deadlift, pullups. Everything else is dressing.
My nutrition – Eat protein, lots of veggies, healthy fats, avoid processed foods. Fast occasionally.
Work/productivity – Focus on one thing. Finish it, move on.
Recovery – Squat everyday, sleep between 10pm and 6am. 20 minutes of quiet time each day.
Decide what your ONE THING is.
Ask yourself “what is the one thing I can do today/now that will move me closer to my goal?”.
What is the one thing I can do today that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?
Do your one thing until it is finished.
No email, phone, and try to minimize interruptions (this can be difficult in an office environment).
Move on guilt free.
Enjoy the reduced stress levels and increased productivity.
For those of you interested in this topic and looking for a more in-depth guide check out Gary Keller’s amazing book “The One Thing”. (not an affiliate link)
Give it a shot today and see how much more you get done.