“My priorities between now and the end of the year will be to…”
Doesn’t this self-conversation sound like a noble one? Here you are deciding to yourself to really zero in on a few key things for the last two months of the year. On its face, it sounds like noble goal-setting. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll realize that you have too many pre-resolutions before your New Year’s resolutions!
I am grateful to author Greg McKeown for the eye-opening insights he shared in his book Essentialism. One of the main takeaways I got from reading it was that the word “priority” originated in the English language in the 1400s as a singular word. Over time, we have made it plural. A priority in its truest sense, however, should focus on only one thing: the most important thing. To have “priorities” is to distort the real essence of the word.
Focusing on one thing at a time has helped me to produce better results in my academic life and, interestingly, even with my domestic responsibilities. Ask my 7-year old son. He probably knows when I made his spaghetti while also reading a book and when I made it focusing on nothing else but his stringy, cheesy delight! More and more people are debunking the theory of multitasking, exposing it for what it really is: task-switching . The ‘multitasking’ myth is simply preparation for doing more than one thing in a distracted way, often leading to mediocre results.
In the upcoming week, chose one big thing to accomplish on any given day. Not two, not three, not five, just one. Do it wholeheartedly. Do it thoroughly. Chances are, you will do it excellently.