Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS)

Let me open this discussion with the concept of diversification. Of course, a direct opposite of our subject matter: Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS).

According to the great investor; Warren Buffet, he believes that "diversification is protection against ignorance”. He advised, “It is better to put all your eggs in one basket and watch it closely instead of spreading it in a lot of basket where you will not be able to watch it.”

I am not insinuating that the theory of diversification is bad on itself, but many people misuse it or let me say use it to their disadvantage. A proper understanding of how and when to start using diversification in business or personal finance is required to justify how useful it is to your advantages.

When starting out; either for personal development, personal finance, business etc, it is better you rebuff diversification and embrace the idea of Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS). This way, you will be able to concentrate your effort and resources in one place (activities) where you can watch it closely instead of spreading it in lots of activities where you will not be able to watch it as advice by Warren Buffet. In addition, trying to diversify or multitask signify your lack of knowledge, confidence or guess-working that will lead to confusing and sense of achievement since it will delay your ability to achieve a desired result at a required or time expected.

It’s not easy, but don’t tell me it’s impossible. Until you realised and accepted the important of discipline in the process of getting things done, it will take more than enough time to have a significant reward for your effort.

Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS) is one of the yardstick to measure the strength of your personal discipline. To some extent, discipline is synonymous to focus.

Zig Ziglar believe“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” Meaning those with outstanding achievement focus on one thing at a time until to get a reasonable result

Evidence Against Multitasking

There is a school of thought that views diversification as multitasking and that we achieve less with much stress with it rather than concentrating our effort in a single task.

According to Arianna Huffington, the danger of multitasking is that: “you think you’re being efficient, but actually you’re being stupid.” As Arianna points out, we now have scientific evidence proving we cannot multi-task.

What you’re really doing when you think you’re multitasking is shifting your attention from one thing to another at an astonishing pace. While it’s fascinating we have this capability, it’s not exactly the best use of our mental faculties. While with focus, we actually accomplish more, better and feel less stressed.

There are more researches pointing into this direction with lots of practical evidence you can testify to as shared by Jon Hamilton. You can read his article in full for details

The Benefit of Focus

In an article with Harvard Business Review Peter Bregman shared his view and discovery on focusing rather multitasking;

1.     It was delightful.
2.     I made significant progress on challenging projects
3.     My stress dropped dramatically
4.     I lost all patience for things I felt were not a good use of my time
5.     I had tremendous patience for things I felt were useful and enjoyable
6.     There was no downside

A week test running could review to you more benefit on what you stand to achieve by focusing rather than shifting your attention from one task, activities, job, business etc to another quickly.

In a nutshell, all this sum up to say that human brain function best when we focus on one thing till completion.

In addition to his personal discovery Peter Bregman also shared;

A study showed that people distracted by incoming email and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQs. What’s the impact of a 10-point drop? The same as losing a night of sleep. More than twice the effect of smoking marijuana.

Doing several things at once is a trick we play on ourselves, thinking we’re getting more done. In reality, our productivity goes down by as much as 40%. We don’t actually multitask. We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, and losing time in the process.

Focus is Synonymous to Goal Setting
I eventually realized the important of goal setting when I discipline myself to put to use the power of focus in my day to day activities. In a nutshell, Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS) is tantamount to goal setting.

If you are finding it difficult you might find the following useful just like I do;

  1. Discover your FOCUS: If you are the type that pride in multitasking, you may feel incompetent with is approach but you will eventually feel fulfilled at the end. Find out the most important and realistic goal you will love to achieve at that moment, and then zero your mind on the rest. You can do this by listing out expected ones, go ahead to reduce it gradually until it remain one
  2. Write it down: By putting it in writing, you are committing yourself to it. It is more helpful if you put it where you can read it to yourself everyday or set what I called goal alert with your mobile phone.
  3. Keep Working and Reviewing It: At interval, you should keep reviewing your goal as you work on it to determine your progress and don’t be discourage when it seems you are not achieving much. The concepts is just like the distance between cultivation and harvest, it take patience but never relax rather find better way(s) to speed up without shifting your focus.
  4. Treat Your Goal as Emergency: Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you should haste but we all know the power there is in emergency. Average human beings get things done in emergency that they never think they could ever done. Set a deadline for your goal, this will help you avoid distraction
  5. Relax if Need Be: One of the goals of FOCUS is to reduce the stress of getting things done and done faster. If tension set in when you FOCUS to get a task done, never hesitate to relax and if possible celebrate in a little way on the tasked achieved.

Dr. Wallace Wattle also shared a concepts related to discourage multitasking in his popular book titled Hurry and Habit which I have previously review, reading it will also be of help in your attempt to accepts the concepts of Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS).

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