What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given?
For me it comes in the form of a proverb:
‘Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.’
While this may be sound advice when talking about your financial investments, it is terrible advice when it comes to getting things done. Multi-tasking is a myth. Being a Jack-of-all-trades means that you are a master of none. The only true way of achieving anything substantial in you life, is to focus on one thing at a time.
Towards the end of last year, I completed a huge project which I had been working on for 3 years. It was a feature film which I produced and directed called 1500 Steps. The only way I completed it was to put aside time each day where I would exclusively focus on that one project. I used to get up at 4:45am, spend 15 minutes waking myself up and making coffee, then I would turn on the computer and work on the detail of the film project for 2 hours straight, from 5am – 7am. (I would take a 5 minute break after the first hour to grab another coffee.) At 7am the rest of my family would wake up, and so I would stop focusing on this project and get ready with them, before I went off to my normal day job.
So while I did have other things in my life (like a job), I set aside time each day where I would only focus on this one thing. And the result of these early hour sessions was that after 3 years, I did in fact produce my first feature film, which now has had a cinema red carpet premiere and is now in the hands of the distributors.
Because I chose to focus on this one thing at one time, I was able to get it done.
Messing around all day trying to get several things done all the time, at one time, is fruitless behaviour. If this is what you do then you need to stop. Yes, you have many things to do, but the only way to achieve them is to separate them and choose to focus on one at a time.
A watched pot will certainly boil if you rid yourself of all other distractions, and never take your eyes off it.