Last week was especially busy, with meetings related to different areas of interest and responsibility, and hardly a moment to focus on anything. As I sat on the porch last night, first night without an outside commitment, I watched a hummingbird’s single minded attention to the feeder, and wondered if I need to adopt his attitude.
While it was satisfying to make progress on several fronts last week, ranging from work projects to responsibilities at church to homework for Blog Topics Master Class, I felt scattered and nervous. I didn’t sleep well, and I didn’t feel like I had accomplished much, even though in reality, I did. Small progress on several projects is somehow less satisfying than large progress on one project. Because I haven’t “finished” anything, I still feel like I am completely overwhelmed.
I kept thinking about that little hummingbird. The whole time I was on the porch, he kept coming back for nectar, sitting on the feeder and drinking and drinking. If I had that kind of focus, imagine the amount of progress I could make. And the difference it would make at my nonprofit and at my church.
I realized there are several principles I need to keep in mind to be more effective:
- Focus on one project at a time, and make sure I am moving that forward.
- Remember that multi-tasking is not an effective way to work. Working on several things means that none of them will be done well.
- Minimize distractions. I need to clear my desk of everything but the materials for that particular project, turn off email and social media alerts and do what is necessary to signal to others that I’m busy (close the door, plug into music, etc.).
- Keep coming back. When I get interrupted, the temptation is to move on to something else, but I need to come right back to that one project.
- Schedule more effectively. Try not to have meetings about several different projects on the same day so my attention isn’t split.
Even being chased away by another hummingbird didn’t stop that little guy from coming back again and again. Determination and focus got the job done and got his tummy filled.
How do you narrow your focus to accomplish more?