It’s hard to deny that we live in a chronically-distracted age, where information is coming at us at a hundred miles per hour, from all directions, all the time, and where all areas of life seem to demand constant and unyielding attention and energy.
Work is no longer a 9-5 process; it’s something that follows you home and takes up your weekends. Your boss has you on WhatsApp, and he’s not afraid to use it. Then there’s social media, to remind you that your friends are apparently living it up in ways you could only dream of. Better be sure to update your status and get that cool selfie in front of the masses, or you’ll be slipping behind in the game. And don’t forget that you’ve got to watch the news, and catch up with the latest celeb gossip sites too, or you’ll be out of the loop.
Pause. Stop multitasking. Take a deep breath. You don’t need to juggle more balls to succeed. You need to focus your attention. Here’s why.
Everyone on earth has the same number of hours in a day — the super-successful just leverage their time better
There are many quotes and stories attributed to Warren Buffet. In one of these, he reportedly defined the difference between successful and really successful people as being “really successful people say no to almost everything.”
In another anecdote, Warren Buffet apparently asked a friend to make a list of his top 25 priority goals — and then highlight the 5 most important. The other 20, said Buffet, were to be avoided at all costs until the top 5 were completed.
The point here is that everyone has the exact same number of hours in a day, from the most successful business person, to the least successful procrastinators. Focus helps you to leverage your time better. By spending your limited hours on fewer things, in a more dedicated way, you make far more headway on your top goals at any given moment.
Multi-tasking makes you inefficient and reduces your performance; trying to juggle multiple major goals at once has the same effect
Research has repeatedly shown that when people attempt to “multi-task” they invariably perform worse at every task they’re trying to juggle, and are also more inefficient with their time, too.
This makes sense. There’s a reason why, for example, we employ specialist services such as Cars Protection Plus to deal with our auto-maintenance, and plumbers to deal with our leaky pipes. Someone who bills himself as a combined plumber-mechanic-and-pizza-chef is likely not giving either trade its due attention and diligence.
Trying to do more in a limited space of time makes you sloppier. Focusing on fewer things gives you the room to do your job well.
Single-minded focus uncovers more of the terrain for you to see
For entrepreneurs, in particular, the road to professional success is never perfectly clear. Success comes as a result of a
When you focus your efforts and attention single-mindedly, you notice more of the terrain in front of you. You begin to spot meaningful but generally small-scale details. You can, in other words, more effectively make incremental changes that improve your business.
Being too broadly-focused, in comparison, makes it much more likely that you’ll miss these valuable insights as they present themselves.