Having to pay attention, or focusing on what’s important is how we get things done, that is how we stay sight of what we need to do in order to get certain processes moving in a forward direction.
However, the biggest annoyance hindering people from going full steam ahead are distractions. How do we focus when there is a never ending source of distractions surrounding us? Even tasks as a whole, that we need to get done becomes a form of distraction from allowing us to focus on the individual task at hand.
The article How Do You Focus? Especially when you have lots to do by Nathan Kontny (CEO of Highrise) gives a simple insight into the development of the term ‘Priority’.
According to Google’s Ngram Viewer, Kontny noticed that the words ‘Priority’ vs ‘Priorities’ have changed over the years. Up until 1940, no one ever used the word priorities. “If you have ‘priorities’ how many do you have. What’s the magic number? Three? Five? A dozen? The plural doesn’t make sense.” Kontny goes on to further explain that “Priority. There’s a single thing that’s most important in the things you do. Sure you can do more than one thing. But those other things aren’t as important as your priority.”
It is probably because of this shift in mindset that we can have more than 1 priority, that creates more distraction in our lives. We simply do not know what really matters anymore. So the key to managing all our ‘priorities’ really is to be clear on what our true ‘priority’ is.
Kontny’s second point for young working professionals or fresh graduates, is to go wide, not deep while you are still nimble. Time is still on your side, so take the advantage and try as many things as you can instead of focusing on only 1 specific area of interest.
Using the Pareto principle as an example whereby it states that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained, goes to show that when you’re buried knee deep in things, everything feels important. But from a different perspective, you’ll probably find, most of it really didn’t even matter.
An interesting read for those stressed and confused individuals who need some perspective on majoring on the major.
To read the full article (5 minutes read), find it here.