The Many Benefits of “Single-Tasking”

It has been a year since I last published a blog post.  A year. As an author, an innovator, and a marketer, it feels almost unfathomable that I could have let this much time pass since last throwing words against the digital canvas.  

Yes, I’ve been busy. At work, 2018 was an unprecedented year in developing new business, new clients, and new practices.  At home, life has been a whirlwind of sporting events, house projects, school plays, and various other family adventures.  Busy… yes.  But too busy to write a 500-word blog post every few weeks?  A blog that I honestly love to write?

The truth is that it is not the “big things” that keep these creative endeavors from reaching their full potential.  It’s the daily grind of clutter.  The constant barrage of meetings, emails, and presentations… not to mention the self-inflicted swirl of mindless cellphone surfing, texts, and tweets.  

How can I possibly be expected to focus on a blog post when I am simultaneously having a creative review, answering an email, checking to see which of my friends best survived the Facebook “age challenge”, texting my daughter about drama rehearsal, and trying to understand why the stars of my beloved Steelers can’t be bothered to show up to work?  Phew.  

Multi-tasking has become such an ingrained habit / addiction / disease that it takes an immense amount of discipline and focus to truly invest in doing one thing well… with purpose, creativity, and depth.  I type these very words with my office door locked, my phone in a drawer, and my email alerts turned off.

This is one of the main reasons that I believe our ideation sessions here at Upstream are so rewarding for our clients.  Teams from around the globe come to our “Think Tank” to utilize our innovation process to solve challenging problems and to produce magical and insightful content. And while our workshop approach may be what guides teams to the output, that team’s success ultimately stems from their deliberate choice to step away from that daily grind and to focus upon nothing but solving the problem at hand.  

As much as I would like to take all the credit for helping teams to make “months of progress in a couple of days”, it is at least equally as important that the teams escape from their office, set their cellphones on stun, and fully commit to collaborating and creating.

The inherent value of single-tasking… of getting your small, dedicated team to:

F  – Forget all other responsibilites for a few days

O – (Escape) Off-Site to isolate yourself from distractions

C – Close your Calendar and fully engage

U – Unplug from the Web of emails, texts, and social media

S – Spend quality time ideating, iterating, creating, finishing ONE thing

… this value cannot be overstated.

My personal commitment for 2019 is to leverage the many benefits of single-tasking and become more disciplined and focused to write regular blog posts.  

…And maybe to start exercising regularly again… once I finish binge watching Black Mirror on Netflix, of course. 

Also check out this great infographic from “The High Cost of Multi-Taking” from inc.com

Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash