A boss in my early 20s said to me once in passing:
“One thing at a time, right?”
Who knows what preoccupied me. But do I ever remember feeling called out. He put his finger right on a major weakness.
I remember where I was standing, the weather, even his shirt – over a decade ago. Sizzled in my brain. But not an inkling with what I was so busy doing. Apparently, multiple things.
Such a simple observation, yet such a pivotal day.
It’s become a mantra of mine – maybe too much so.
I chuckle to myself whenever someone includes ‘multi-tasking’ as a skill on their résumé. My affinity is focus. One thing at a time. Space between thoughts, between words. Picture a hawk perched and scoping the area – efficient with no extra movements.
Those I do financial planning work with probably grow nauseated by my frequent sentence preface, “In the interest of momentum…”. There might be five goals, but we always have one target in the crosshairs. ‘All at once’ creates paralysis or frenzy – momentum always squashed.
“One thing at a time” is a wealth creation and preservation life-hack. Its cumulative effect over years immeasurable. We produce higher quality work, we form and keep better relationships, we keep our cool during volatile markets.
It’s best to assume a default nature of incompleteness or restlessness. Desire is infinite and human nature is very finite. A tricky equation that sets up for ‘multitasking’ – lack of focus, paralysis, sloppy work, disheveled financial plans. The game is overcoming.
“I’ve been slammed at work.” Or “I just need to get through “x” and then I can face the music.” That’s our cue.
One thing at a time.
One project, one conversation, one thought, one call, one email, one customer at time.
Beware: busy is far more fashionable, and culture most often wins out.
Unanticipated moments on some idle Tuesday will smack culture in the face and remind us of our inability to multitask.
Develop the practice now, so that mountains aren’t too high and valleys aren’t too deep.
Our health and wealth thrive on it.
Thanks for reading,