Singularity of Focus

One of my life’s goals is to help other people reach their goals. As I have worked to help as many people as I can live more fulfilling lives, one of the common questions is, “How can I do it all?”

I love this question because it is the ‘all’ portion that I am most interested in.

The anti-multitasking movement started years ago and is backed by plenty of science. But what I have found is that in our everyday pursuits to strive for more, some believe they are the exception to this rule. And as a result, we run ourselves thin trying to do it all.

I’ve been blessed in my life to have achieved a few things and as I look back at many of these successes, they have all come during times of  hyper-acuity of focus. Times where I would put all of my energy into one thing. These were times when I intentionally worked into my day time when I would block out the world.

Singularity of focus allows us to do something we rarely do nowadays, and that is use all of our brainpower for one task. I remember in medical school as I studied, I would turn off my cell phone, lock myself in a room, and only break for meals. I was totally engulfed in the material. I used every ounce of brainpower I had to grasp the concepts for that day.

Some may tell themselves, “Well, I’m smart enough to do two things at once.” Yes, you are smart enough to do this, but are you doing both tasks to the best of your ability? That is what it takes for us to realize our vision for our lives. It takes everything that we have. That is how we are able to solve the problems of how do I live my dreams. Putting all we have into answering that question.

Here are 3 quick tips on how to enhance your ability to practice Singularity of Focus:

1. Turn your cell phone off.

It’s amazing how much our cell phones (which were invented for convenience) actually keep us from focusing completely. If it isn’t a text message distracting us, it’s an email or a Facebook notification. Oh wait, someone just sent me an inbox on LinkedIn, could be a potential job, etc. Turn the phone off…

2. Schedule times to not be interrupted.

I added this because we have to be intentional about protecting our focus time. We can’t just hope to get things done in those free moments while folks aren’t bothering us. We must purposefully plan time in our day where our loved ones and coworkers know not to interrupt us. In the flying world we have something we call crew rest. And it is time where the mission crew must have uninterrupted time to rest before a mission. This is critical to aircrew effectiveness.

3. Meditate

I know this may seem random, but this is the exact practice that helped me to reel in my thinking and gave me the ability to focus on one thing. Even if we have our cell phones off and our time blocked out for no interruptions, we will still have trouble focusing if we don’t know how to quiet our minds. Meditation taught me to do just that. The key is to practice holding one or no thought and to develop a pattern of recognition for when your mind is wondering.

Doing one thing at a time, ironic as it may sound, actually allows us to accomplish more.

What are some of your ideas as to how a person can improve their Singularity of Focus?