How Focusing On One Thing At A Time Will Increase Your Productivity

  • 6 min read
Navigating This Space - focusing-on-one-thing-at-a-time

Multi-tasking is a myth!

Your brain only has the ability to fully focus on one thing at a time. Giving it more tasks to magically complete at once will only slow the progress you’re trying to make.

When you try to focus on multiple things at once, the only thing your brain is doing is switching focus between the tasks.


This is the reason why you find it difficult to have a conversation while the radio is blasting your favorite song or why driving while talking on the phone is advised against.


The brain operates like a printer: it cannot print two different tasks at once and instead creates a queue so it can successfully process the first task before moving on to the next.

Trying to focus on two tasks at the same time is equivalent to switching from app to app on your phone without getting a chance to dive deeper and focus on the goal.


Focus on one thing at a time. 


This is the method you should be implementing in your life when it comes to achieving your goals and dreams. Trying to cram more things in your schedule will only cause unnecessary anxiety and rob your feelings of accomplishment at the end of the day.


To achieve desirable results from any task you’re working on, it’s imperative that you give that task your undivided attention. Jumping from task to task will only leave you with a ton of unfinished work that seems to have no end in sight.


Why is it important to focus on one thing at a time?


A study was conducted to see the effects multitasking has on the brain and the results highlighted the fact that when we focus on a task using one of our senses, our other senses become automatically impaired.

A great example of this is eating while watching tv. 


I’m the type of person who cannot concentrate on watching a tv show while I’m eating, especially when the food is delicious. I find myself zoning out from one thing and paying more attention to the other.

This is the brain switching focus and giving priority to one task over the other. I’ve always thought that tv sets in restaurants were a terrible idea because it robs the diner the experience of being present with whomever they’re dining with and it promotes distractions.


Society has filled our environment with millions of different distractions and going down that rabbit hole is only robbing you of your brain and memory power.


For example:


You pick up your phone to text your friend that you’ll be ten minutes late. When your screen unlocks a notification pops up alerting you to an email that you were waiting on.

After you’ve read and replied to that email, you jump on Instagram and ten minutes later you exit the app and set down your phone.

You grab your phone again because you’ve just realized that you still haven’t sent that text when another notification pops up and you go down the rabbit hole again.

This happens about three times before you successfully message your friend, finally completing your first task.


To maximize your potential in achieving any goal, the only way to stay on course is to have a laser-beam focus.

Nothing else should matter during the time you’ve set aside to complete your goal. Give your brain one thing to focus on and that goal will become a reality in no time.


“What you stay focused on will grow.”― Roy T. Bennett


How to concentrate and focus on one thing at a time to be successful


If you’re having a problem focusing on one thing at a time, you need to identify the things that are distracting you and eliminate them. Distractions are the main cause of a lack of focus. 


Jot It Down Now, Organize Later


Since the brain is always working and thinking of things to better your life, whenever a thought pops up reminding you of something you must do, jot it down. Keeping a small notebook handy will help you to keep track of what you’re thinking throughout the day, which will eventually help you when you’re creating your to-do list to accomplish those tasks.


“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”― Zig Ziglar


Focus on one project at a time


Identify what objectives must be met to successfully complete your project. Then, work on the smaller to-dos to get it done. Utilizing the Ivy Lee Method will assist you in identifying and prioritizing the most important tasks in your project. Completing one task at a time will increase the progression of your project a lot faster than trying to complete three tasks at a time. 


Manage your time


Time management will be your number one aid with focusing on one thing at a time. When you’ve set aside dedicated time for the project, you’re signaling to your brain that this time is for completing this task, and this task only. I’ve shared a few time management activities to help you manage your time here.


“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate, and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”― Paulo Coelho


Do yourself a favor and work with the flow of your body and your brain. Going against how your brain naturally operates will only delay your personal growth and development progress.

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Jody is a creative writer, artist, graphic designer, and a digital nomad who also helps people live more fulfilling lives by finding creative solutions to their personal growth and development problems and lifestyle challenges.

2 thoughts on “How Focusing On One Thing At A Time Will Increase Your Productivity”

  1. Ayyye Cherie

    THIS was so right on time!!!

    With my consistent wondering from project to project state of mind and many unpredictable distractions aka absolutely everything else happening in world, now more then ever it seems so hard to get anything productive done. Lately, I have been practicing writing down my daily task and giving each task a window frame of time to be completed. Looking at all my checked off items at the end of the day feels so rewarding. Although, it has been hard to stay on top of this daily, I am getting better. Thank you for sharing even more tools I can utilize to really master staying focus and on track!

    1. Jody

      Ayyyeee!! This makes me so happy! I’m happy that I was able to help your journey along. Remember to take it easy and don’t be too hard on yourself, one checkmark means progress so you’re moving forward! I’m rooting for you!!!

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