In the modern world of conventional school, work and family, most of us work too hard to make ends meet, without concentrating on factors that can bring personal fulfillment. We are all searching for that one secret to success and happiness. What we forget is that the power to our won greatness lies within us. It lies in the choices we make each day we wake up and the resolutions we make while going to sleep.
Most importantly, we need to realize that the power to produce extraordinary results in our work, business or other ventures is not defined by how many tasks we can do in a day, but by the effort, focus and commitment we put into one single task. There is increased chance of success when we focus on one single goal, break it down into specific achievable objectives than if we have so many things to do at the same time. This is called ‘singular focus’. Trying to do everything in the perception of multi-tasking only stagnates our journey to success.
In this self-improvement report, we learn why doing multiple things denies us the desired success, how to transform our ‘do-everything’ approach into a ‘singular focus’ approach for maximum success and how to manage our time for work and home while realizing this success.
The Significance of Singular Focus
There are many illustrations to explain why focus on one thing at a time is the simplest formula for success. In a popular movie called City Slickers, a wise cow boy named Curly defines the rule for success in one statement; ’define your one thing, focus and stick unto it for maximum success’’. This can be broken down as; doing fewer things increases positive effects and achievement while doing many things at the same time only divides your attention resulting in undesired effects.
Most of us lose it out on family time, friendships, success and even good health when we stuff our schedules with dozens of projects and to-do lists. This only makes your life small as your concentration is cut into smaller pieces by each additional task. Greater achievement is realized by excelling at a one single at a time.
It has been scientifically proven that success builds on itself in a sequence and not a simultaneous manner. Undivided focus on one thing has seen many world known brands get to their current success levels. Think of Google sSearch or KFC chicken. These brands did not try swallowing up all the available opportunities but rather picked one, invested in it with single focus and today they are great examples to be used in defining the power of focus.
Skill and Passion
To determine that one thing that you should focus on for greater achievement, your skills and passion play a very significant role. Passion is basically what you love doing and can do it for free. It’s passion that makes people to take risks in trying unconventional ventures. It’s passion that gets to you to find success and enjoyment in any given project even when you are not paid to do it. When passion meets purpose, your one ultimate success story is born.
Skill is typically the knowledge you have in carrying out a given task. Once you have identified that one thing you are passionate about, singular focus on it means you will spend much time developing your skills. With increased focus and well-sharpened skills, you are sure of maximum results as you enjoy that which you are passionate about.
A world class example of passion meets skill and purpose is Bill Gates. He employed the simple rule of aligning one thing of focus with passion and skill. He developed his passion for computers right from high school and focused on a specific skill of programming. As a result of aligning his focus with skills and passion, Bill Gates has built one of the most successful business ventures in the world; Microsoft. You too can make it to join the class of few successful people in the world who draw achievement and personal fulfillment from passion. All you need is to discover the passion in you, align it with your skills and focus on one single goal.
Be Cautious Of Pessimistic Myths
Applying singular focus to your work and life is one of the simplest things you can do to realize your potential success. However, to achieve this you must be wise enough to avoid detracting street talk, myths and lies about productivity. Some of the lies and distractions that you need to erase from your mind when pursuing singular focus for increased productivity include:
· The notion that ‘everything matters’
If everything mattered equally as this myth says, then priority would not make sense. Unfortunately when you get busy there is a tendency to make rush decisions without prioritizing things based on time, urgency and importance. To develop the habit of singular focus, you need to breakdown your long list of actions into one single task that matters the most. Avoid imagining you could do a few things at once, instead pick only one and invest your time and attention to it.
You could use the common time management matrix of urgency versus importance. For instance, things that are urgent but not important can be delegated while things that are important but not urgent can be rescheduled. Only focus on what is urgent and important to your long term success. No matter how many to-dos you have on your schedule, you can always narrow them down to one that defines your ultimate goal.
· The myth that ‘multitasking makes you great’
Trying it out everything at the same time doesn’t add value to your efficiency. As Steve Uzzell, a renowned motivational speaker once said, �multitasking only gives you a chance to screw up more than one thing’’. Multitasking distracts and disorients you each time you switch from one task to another. Even for the most successful companies in the world, each employee is given a specific task to handle at any given time. This reduces stress and increases productivity.
Multitasking with a notion that you can achieve everything in a go only slows down your progress. Learn to stick to one task and give it your best. Greater achievement is realized through the success of each small step of the way.
· Live a balanced life
The idea of living a balanced life is the world’s greatest obstacle to success. It simply means that you need to live within the status quo. However, to achieve greater success with a singular focus, create a counterbalance by learning to adjust your priorities constantly as per the situation. For instance, when at work always prioritize what is important so that you can get time for home and family. When at home prioritize what is important so that you can get time to be at work. The ability to prioritize is important and focusing exclusively on it will, in fact, give you the perceived balance in life with guaranteed success and happiness.
· The belief that thinking ‘small is okay’.
Many people who fear the challenge of success will convince you to think in small steps. When you know what kind of success you want to achieve, avoid the negative notion that ’big is bad’’. The power of imagination determines the actions to be undertaken in order to achieve desired results. Thinking big simply means looking beyond the obvious and setting your standards high. For instance, if a reasonable goal is placed at 5, put your imagination at 10 or even 15. This gives you the bigger picture and ensures you are always ahead of your potential competitors.
When you get the bigger picture of your goal, you have a reason to focus on every single task in order to achieve it. Most of us, however, fail to think big for fear of failure. Don’t fear failure, it only allows you to understand how to better your approach. Failure gives you a chance to increase your creativity and innovation; it’s a significant part of the journey to success.
If you can move away from the above conventional myths in your pursuit for success, then you are destined for greatness. You need to learn how to ask the right questions that will define your one thing to focus on.
The Big Question
Discovering what you must do today in order to achieve your specific goal is a journey of personal intuition. You need to ask yourself the right questions in order to get an answer that will narrow down all the tasks at hand to the most important one, what we call the ‘first domino’’ that will define your path to greatness.
You can only get right answers by asking the right questions. A simple question such as; ’what is the one thing I can do today that will make every other thing easier’’? could be your turning point in life. Its response will give you an overview of what you must do now in order to achieve your single lifetime goal. Think of such questions as ‘What’s my one thing’? , “What’s my one thing right now?’’ The responses to this question will give you both the ultimate big thing to pursue in life and the one small thing that drives your daily life respectively. You will then be able to your focus for both short term and long term productivity. Always define your answers into the commonly known SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound) approach so that you determine the steps to undertake in achieve them.
As you define your specific issue of focus, it is important that you develop good habits that will help you remain focused and propel you to greater success in life. You need to realize that success is is affected by all aspects like your spiritual life, personal relationships, physical life, work and financial life. Let your good habit therefore cut across these sections.
To develop a habit easily, you need to understand the concept, put it into regular practice, set up reminders so you don’t forget and seek help from colleagues, friends or family.
Purpose, Priority and Productivity
The formula for attaining greater success is; ‘purpose, priority and productivity’. Purpose defines the ‘why’ of your venture. It is your foundation and driving force. It is said that many companies lose track of success every time they fail to recognize the ‘why’ of their business. Many times it’s never about profit. Knowing your purpose gives you clarity on why you do what you do, keeps you on your path and helps you make right decisions that bring fulfillment and success.
Priority is simply that one big thing you want to achieve. It defines your course of action. Always look into your long-term goals to identify the priority for each day. Identifying your priority will help you get where you want to go easily. It allows you to focus on the present, on those moments that you have direct influence over. Daily priorities combined will translate into long term success with a strong foundation. Always visualize your greater success through the short-term priorities. It’s wise to have your goals and priorities written down.
Productivity is fueled by the small things you do every day in order to achieve your big thing. Productive people dedicate most of their time on a single priority. They focus their energy on one specific thing in order to achieve better results. To increase your productivity, you can apply the ‘time-blocking’ principle. It ensures that what has to be done is done within the timelines without any inferences. Productive people will set aside specific time to work on their priorities before doing any other thing. You can always extend your time blocking for your priority to achieve extra ordinary results. Don’t for get to block time for resting, planning and evaluation. These three are very fundamental in the journey to success.
Success is not defined by the number of to-do lists we can handle each day, rather by the increased focus we give to one single task at a time. The simple secrets to singular focusing are; saying no to what isn’t your priority, realizing that the road to success is bumpy and accepting the chaos, taking care of your spiritual mental and physical health and always creating a conducive environment in favor of your long-term and short-term goals.
Deogratius is a Trainer, Strategy & Capacity Development Consultant, Motivational Speaker and Life Coach.