Building a business is challenging. There will be times when you feel like you can’t handle it; or you might believe you’re in control when suddenly, out of nowhere, your mind’s racing, and you feel like you can’t breathe.
These times are when “Mono-Focusism” is absolutely critical.
What is “Mono-Focusism”? It’s a practice I created to counteract “Multi-Taskism” – a common debilitating condition that plagues entrepreneurs all over the world.
So let’s break this down:
The Problem = Multi-Taskism:
Many entrepreneurs become multi-taskers, which sounds like a good thing, right? WRONG! Research suggests that only two percent of people can multi-task effectively. Two percent!!! The Harvard Business Review reported that multitasking decreases your productivity by forty percent and lowers your IQ by 10 points. Clearly, the deficits of multitasking appear to outweigh the benefits.
Plus, Multi-Taskism often plays a starring role in harmful behaviors, because inevitably, things that require your full attention are getting shortchanged. Some possible negative outcomes of multitasking include car accidents; making errors of various kinds (including things related to your bottom line, money); productivity and quality deficits; an increasing lack of connection in your relationships; and health problems (stress, pressure, depression, overwhelm, anxiety, etc.).
The Solution = Mono-Focusism:
The practice of focusing on one thing at a time will go a long way toward saving your health, relationships, and business. When you fully commit your mind and body to the task at hand – meaning that you give your full attention to whatever it is you’re doing or are involved with – you have an opportunity to perform at an optimum level while also experiencing each moment fully.
Anne Lamott, in her book “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life,” shares a personal memory that speaks to Mono-Focus. Her older brother, age ten, once had a school report on birds that he’d been given three months to work on, but he’d procrastinated and found himself starting work on it the night before the due date.
Lamott writes, “We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’’
When you’re building a business, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you remember to take things bird by bird, you’ll be more likely to find your way through moments of anxiety.