My cocker spaniel Lulu loves to play with a ball. She is the star at the dog park. She jumps, rolls and does amazing sudden stops to get the bright green tennis ball when I throw it to her. But there is one problem that will stop my dog cold. And this same problem can bring your productivity to a halt. It’s simply this one fact of life.
Dogs don’t have pockets.
This simple problem presents a real quandary to Lulu when she comes upon a stray ball at the dog park. She grabs it and struts around with it like a queen. Now if I throw her a ball, she doesn’t quite know what to do. She can only carry one thing at a time in her mouth.
- Should she drop the ball that she has and chase the other one?
- Keep the one she has and ignore the thrown one?
Lulu usually does what many of us do when presented with two options.
She keeps the ball in her mouth and sorta chases the other one.
This really messes her up. She wants the ball she has, and it keeps her from getting the new one. She sorta runs around the new ball and sniffs it, but very rarely will she pick it up. This means a couple of things for me as her owner. We have stopped playing. Now I have to chase down the ball I threw, and try to get the old ball out of her mouth. This usually takes some effort on my part.
The bottom line: Having two options stops her cold. She goes from the star of the dog park to a dog trying to figure things out. Until I take the old ball away, she can’t focus. Her playtime stops and it irritates me as her owner.
The truth of the matter is, that is exactly how our minds work. Our conscious mind can only process limited data. It works very well when focused on one object, project, or action at a time, but it slows down considerably when we try to do two similar tasks at once. Just like my dog, it’s best to put distractions aside and take action on just one item.
I’ve talked for years on this site about the power of focused productivity.
The one thing that works for me is the Power of 48 Minutes
It simply works like this
- Turn off all distractions (cell phone, internet, etc)
- Set a Timer for 48 Minutes
- Do one thing until the timer goes off
- Take a 12 minute break
- Repeat as necessary
This works great for longer projects like writing a book, studying for a test, or practicing a musical instrument. The cool thing about 48 minutes is that you can divide it up into many sections. It easily divides in half, thirds, all the way down into twenty four, two minute intervals.
If you want to learn about the power of single tasking, check out our Empower hour article here and download our helpful worksheets.
Focused Productivity will help you keep your eye on the ball.
Now to figure out how to give my dog pockets…
Question: Have you tried focused productivity?