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You Cannot Do Two Things At Once

Time management is about focusing energy on keeping the important things important. When I think about the power of focused energy, I am reminded of a quotation from Alexander Graham Bell, “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

businesswoman multitasking

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Here’s what I’ve learned over the years: Using time wisely means knowing how to focus your thoughts, energy and efforts on the most important task at hand. I truly believe you cannot do two things at once and expect to do them both well. Call it multi-tasking or juggling priorities, it still boils down to the same thing – focus on one important task and concentrate your full attention on doing it to the best of your ability.

According to a 2010 article in TIME magazine, Jason Watson and David Strayer, psychologists at the University of Utah, assembled a group of 200 undergraduates and asked them to perform a simulated driving test as well as a standardized memory test that involved math and word memorization. They had the student multitask by asking them to complete a verbal version of the memory test on a hands-free cell phone while driving in a simulator. During the hour-and-a-half session, 97.5% of the students showed a significant decrease in their driving abilities and memory skills while multitasking.

It takes skill and concentrated energy to consistently sort and shift your priorities and keep the most important things, important. I’ve come to realize that my best writing time is first thing in the morning. I also realize that if I want to focus my undivided attention on writing, I can’t schedule anything that will distract me during my writing time – it is my writing time. That concentrated energy means I’ve given myself permission to carve out quality time to write. It’s not always easy to carve out time but for me, it’s become a part of my daily routine – a habit.

Let me ask you this, how do you focus your energy? Do you carve out time to keep the important things important or, do you attempt to go through your day multitasking and going from one thing to another?

Here’s a suggestion: Experiment for a week, carve out focused uninterrupted blocks of time to work on one task at a time. Document your results and see if you can begin to accomplish better results in a shorter period of time. Remember what Alexander Graham Bell said about the sun’s rays – The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think about not being able to do two things at one time.
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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tricia May 21, 2013, 4:30 pm

    Your posts are always so relevant and helpful. In fact, I begin reading your posts and get side tracked from what I had intended to do originally! So, now I need to focus on organizing my leads. Thanks!

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