one thing, really really well

Today’s theme is something on the premise of doing one thing really really well. I’m not sure if this is popping on my head as I’m getting older, but I’ve always felt that it’s inspiring to see people do specific specialties on a different level. It may not be necessarily in their regular jobs. It can be a hobby or a craft in which they’re ardently passionately into. As I get older, I am having a realization that too much multitasking actually kills us from the inside. Hopping between several things at the same time takes away the soul from any activity. I was lately reading a Zen book on minimalist philosophies and one of the aspects that the author touched upon was on being present in what we do. While eating, for example, it’s a different experience when we enjoy every morsel and munch it relishing every bit of it. We won’t get this feeling when we scroll our phones while eating, for instance.

Tim Denning writes on his piece The Power of Doing Only One Thing on bringing about focus and improvement with this practice.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channeled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions. Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement, and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

Similar resonating thoughts were read from Carl Newport in his book Deep Work

“Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate. Deep work is necessary to wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual capacity. We now know from decades of research in both psychology and neuroscience that the state of mental strain that accompanies deep work is also necessary to improve your abilities.”

“Shallow Work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tends to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate. In an age of network tools, in other words, knowledge workers increasingly replace deep work with the shallow alternative — constantly sending and receiving e-mail messages like human network routers, with frequent breaks for quick hits of distraction.”

– Cal Newport , Deep Work

To complement this, I’d highly encourage you to skim through a recent write up where we talked about Maker’s time.

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