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Success Mantra: Prioritise Work and then Focus

Set your priorities right to be able to sustain productivity

Jan 10, 2011 17:44 IST
Success Mantra: Prioritise Work and then Focus

Setting utopian tasks for yourself and attempting many things at once can be overwhelming and may lead to a dip in confidence

Are you overburdened with work? Do you take on more assignments than you can handle? Sometimes, in spite of being energetic and motivated, you might fail to meet deadlines and targets. Ironically, this could be due to a general lack of focus.

The fact of the matter is that you have too much on your plate and by trying to concentrate on all your projects you are attentive to none.

Focus is the key
Albert Einstein was a man who mastered the art of taking up one task at a time, focusing on it until it was achieved and shutting out everything else on his list and in life. The story goes that Einstein became so involved and focused while working on the theory of relativity that his marriage suffered and his hair turned grey almost overnight. He suspended all his engagements with various universities and institutes. This period between 1912-15, which he devoted to a single project, produced one of the most radical scientific revolutions in history – the theory of relativity.

Not all of us can be Einstein, especially in this day and age. But what Einstein proved, besides the theory of relativity, is that focused work on a single project results in higher productivity than handling a dozen assignments at the same time.

One at a time
Swami Vivekananda once said, “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea.”

These are times of insecurity and with so many things on mind, everyone believes in multi tasking to avoid complete failure. Instead, you should work consciously at maximising your chances of success.

So if your list is swarmed with “things to do” then the best way to de-clutter your senses is to prioritise your tasks. This will clear your mind and accelerate your progress.

What is important is that you are able to sift the most relevant and important projects from the mess of tasks you have piled up. Here is how you can get rid of pending work.

  • First, divide your tasks: Put them under professional, personal and extracurricular headers. Pick the top two from each and try and complete them in a week.
  • Prioritise important jobs: Under each heading, enlist the most crucial of assignments.
  • Cross out the irrelevant: Delete items from your list that are not going to help you achieve your goals.
  • Organise your obligations: Give yourself two to three weeks to get rid of pending assignments. Once you have these off your chest, the real work will await your undivided attention.
  • Avoid new undertakings: When you are done with these smaller nagging commitments you will be left with ample time for your own pet projects. Concentrate and try not to take on new ones. Postpone thoughts of fresh ventures till you have completed a substantial portion of work assigned.

After a few practice sessions, you will see how The Einstein Principle works. You will learn to be focused, disciplined and organised. Above all, you might learn how easy it is to accomplish big targets when you can effectively manage your distractions and worries – even if these are related to work. After all, if you are driven in life it is a pity to let yourself be bogged down needlessly.

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