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How to focus on one thing at a time

There is so much I want to do that it doesn’t matter how much juggling I do I don’t seem to fit them all in my day. Yet I don’t want to let go of anything. I am a typical case of being busy but not productive. I am not going deep enough and the quality of my work is suffering.

When my kids were little they wanted to do several extra-curricular activities just like their friends – swimming, basketball, dance, piano, violin, gymnastics, ice skating. I didn’t believe it was possible to fit them all in a week. So I made two rules for them. They can do only two things at a time and they will have to stick them for at least six months. This way if they wanted to try something new, they will have to wait.

It worked like magic with them. My daughters stuck with Indian classical dance for twenty years and maths for ten years while basketball, tennis, swimming, ice skating, piano, and clarinet came and went.

I need a similar rule for myself now.

But it is easier to discipline your kids than yourself. At least this is the case with me.

After going through a lot of agonies I have unearthed a few strategies.

  1. Choose 5. The credit of this one goes to Jame Altucher the writer of the book ‘Choose Yourself.’ According to him create a list of 25 things and choose 5 that are your absolute favorite. Concentrate on those five. Park the rest for later, they might just be distractions.
  2. Turn them into projects. Make them time and result specific. Write for one month, draw cartoons for one month. Have a new focus every month. Create mini projects and that will give you some structure around your wants and dreams.

Working a little by little on a regular basis gets a lot done and you don’t waste energy.

And this is what I will be doing. I will be devoting December, the last month of the year, to get back to the novel that I started more than five years ago. This month I will be writing a 100-page synopsis of my novel that will include plot, story, characters, details and research.

And I will be reporting about it on this blog.

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