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Sunday, August 09, 2009


The Power of Focusing on One Thing

Don't get me wrong. I used to pride myself on how many things I could juggle at once and love multitasking still to this day. That said, sometimes, it truly is the better life when you take a step back and say to yourself, focus on one thing right now.

I teach this to college students I tutor who are too stressed out that starting one paper (let alone the three due in the next week) is a stumbling point. The thing is, we all can do more than we give credit to ourselves for being able to, if we take it one step at a time. That holds true for all of us, whether as writers, as friends, as parents, as grandparents, you get the drift.

Think smaller tasks when it seems like it's all too much. Five articles due in five days? Well, focus on one outline for now, or one paragraph for the next half hour. Do not think of the deadline other than when you feel like you're straying off into a proverbial string of procrastination techniques (checks of email inboxes and social networking sites increasing? well, maybe it's time to focus on doing more - assign yourself a more intensive deadline!). Think of the shorter task at hand, the one you have picked to get you one step closer. One step closer to done, one step closer to accomplishment, one step closer to satisfaction.

In a sense, it still is multitasking. Writing words, writing sentences, writing paragraphs, and writing pages. The only difference is that done in spurts, it is more effective at achieving just one goal, and sometimes, deep down, that is all we need to do for a moment or for a day. Achieve something. Good luck!


Blogger LuAnn said...

I, too, am a multi-tasker. Of course, I have to be in order to work as a journalist. I always have several things going at once ... plus keeping track of kids, grandkids, a husband, running a house, making sure the car is maintained, etc., etc., etc.
Sigh, maybe a vacation is called for!

8:14 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Maybe...or maybe you can give yourself one by taking a few minutes, jotting yourself a list of the things you have on your plate and pick only one for that moment. The idea is that if there's more than one, it gives your brain and body a reason to lock up and say, help, I need a vacation, when really, all that is needed is an, okay, I can do this smaller task until completion or for the next five minutes without looking a clock, having a freak out session, or feeling overwhelmed. Good luck and indeed, you do have a lot. Remember though, if you vacation, you have to write a travel blog entry upon return :)

8:50 PM  
Blogger LuAnn said...


12:09 PM  

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