The Secret To Productivity Is: Focus Is Singular
Make your focus ruthless. Focus on just one thing. You don’t get three or four or five. You only get one.
The most important benefit of this approach is that it impels the organization to solve the challenges with the highest impact. Without this discipline, there is a consistent tendency of employees to address the easier to conquer, albeit less valuable, imperatives. As a specific example, if you have 3 priorities and the most difficult one lacks a clear solution, most people will gravitate towards the 2d order task with a clearer path to an answer. As a result, the organization collectively performs at a B+ or A- level, but misses many of the opportunities for a step-function in value creation.
With distractions cleared away, seriously pursuing only priority “with extreme dispatch and vigor” grants employees a singular focus encourages a clarity of thought and mission that can drive people to perform at A+ levels. Because mostly Multitaskers Fail, Those with Focus Succeed. It turns out that for personal productivity, multitasking is one of the worst things that you can do.
Multitaskers are terrible at every aspect of multitasking. They’re terrible at ignoring irrelevant information; they’re terrible at keeping information in their head nicely and neatly organized; and they’re terrible at switching from one task to another. On the other hand, researchers have shown having the ability to direct your focus to disregard impulses and distraction — maintaining “cognitive control” in psychological terms — has been shown to be a more powerful long-term predictor of future financial success than IQ and wealth.
Focusing on a single, high-impact priority can be the critical advantage for getting things done — whether it’s for yourself or with your team.There are a lot of smart people out there, and a lot of people who have money to spend to make things happen. Your ability to focus and manage yourself amidst the rising tides of tasks, distractions, and ideas is what will set you apart.
If you allow yourself to have more than one focus, you’ve already accepted the probability of mediocrity. By its very definition, focus doesn’t function when you’re diffracting your attention.