Each week we change the words/quote/saying that we are displaying on the noticeboard in our kitchen; these are the words we try to live by individually and as a family that week. Some weeks may focus on lifting our mood, others may be about motivation or attitude to life; something that speaks to us on some level and that we can directly apply to our lives. Changing the words each week stops them from becoming just another thing you walk past without really seeing, it keeps things fresh and stops them losing their power. This series is where I share those words with you in the hope they may help you and your family too. If you a new to the series and want to learn more, you can read the first post here, or check out the Words To Live By tab in the top menu.

In today’s fast paced digital age it seems that our attention is always being pulled in million different directions. We have become the ultimate multitasking machines; replying to emails over breakfast, catching up on social media while we brush our teeth, looking for the perfect Insta photo and mentally writing blog posts on every outing (the blogger’s curse). With the advent of smart phones we are never unreachable, and always ‘switched on’.

Words To Live By 23: Focus On One Thing At A Time

Last night I was sat watching an episode of Hawaii 5-0 (guilty pleasure!), but I kept losing track of what was happening and had to keep rewinding. It ended up taking me an hour and a half to watch a 45min episode. Now, if you’ve ever watched it, you’ll know its not exactly the most complicated of shows and doesn’t take much concentration at all. The reason it took so long? I was also reading blog posts and writing comments and sharing those posts on social media. But that’s not all. I was also crocheting, putting it down each time I needed to type. Crocheting whilst watching tv is fine, I am only doing squares and rarely nearly to look at what I am doing (and it stops me reaching for the snacks), adding in the blog posts was my mistake.

So, it took me 90 minutes to watch one program, read, comment and share 5 blog posts, and crochet 3 squares. Had I separated them out it would have looked like this:

Watch tv while crocheting 3 squares – 45 min

Read, comment on and share 5 blog posts – 30 min

Total – 75min

By trying to multi-task not only did it take 15 minutes longer but I felt stressed throughout the whole thing because my brain was flitting about all over the place. Had I done them separately I would have enjoyed myself, relaxed more, and probably left better comments for my fellow bloggers.

This is just one example of failed multitasking of course and there are plenty more. It seems to have become something I do all the time now. Try writing a blog post with emails announcing their arrival or Facebook/Twitter notifications pinging up on your phone every two minutes. Your focus is constantly being shifted. How many times have you started something and then completely lost your train of thought? How many times have you walked into a room and then forgot what you went in there for? Our brains are overloaded and overcrowded.

"When we think we’re multitasking we’re actually multiswitching. That is what the brain is very good at doing – quickly diverting its attention from one place to the next. We think we’re being productive. We are, indeed, being busy. But in reality we’re simply giving ourselves extra work." Michael Harris

It can be hard to switch off sometimes and focus on just one task, especially when you throw small children into the mix, and it all comes down to managing what time we do have more effectively.

"If you chase two rabbits, you will catch neither one." Russian Proverb

This week I am going to be working hard on setting myself boundaries and working smarter by focusing on one task at a time. If you need some help achieving better focus you can download my free guide: 20 Easy Ways To Achieve Greater Focus below:

20 Easy Ways To Achieve Greater Focus


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26 thoughts on “Words To Live By #23: Focus On One Thing At A Time

  1. Oh your posts are always so inspiring and so right. It’s so important to actually enjoy what we are doing and actually be in the now as opposed to trying to do everything at one and then not enjoying any of it as it becomes so stressful. As you say, less time is actually spent doing the tasks if we don’t multi-task! I’m taking your words on board today for sure! #BigPinkLink
    justsayingmum recently posted…Be YouMy Profile

    Posted on 10 July, 2017 at 11:07 am
  2. I am so guilty of trying to multitask – particularly with blog work. I try to restrict it to nap times and evenings but that is also my down time when I want to watch tv. I end up trying to do both simultaneously and failing! I know that, like you, if I just focussed on one thing it would be finished faster and I could move on to the next
    OddHogg recently posted…The Dating GameMy Profile

    Posted on 10 July, 2017 at 11:30 am
  3. Oh my goodness, this is definitely the quote I need at the moment! I am desperately trying to separate out my jobs rather than worrying about them all at the same time and getting nothing done. Thank you so much for your lovely post.

    Posted on 10 July, 2017 at 1:06 pm
  4. I have also been guilty of watching TV while trying to read and comment on blogs. It gets frustrating after a while. I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time as well though so I have been doing some things to help me focus. Oh, and Hawaii five-o, I Love that show! It one of the many shows I record on my DVR. I love Steve McGarrett!

    Posted on 11 July, 2017 at 3:19 am
  5. This is such a nice series, I really like the idea of a weekly family focus. This one is particularly good for me as I am very guilty of trying to do too many tings at once and then not enjoying any of them! Mich x
    Michelle Twin Mum recently posted…My Beautiful Mane – Where I find My ConfidenceMy Profile

    Posted on 11 July, 2017 at 2:22 pm
  6. We’re all guilty of this it seems. I turned my phone notifications off a long time ago. Turns off the noise. Splitting tasks up and doing one at a time definitely helps!! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬
    Karen | TwoTinyHands recently posted…Wales Weekend #FamilyFunLinkyMy Profile

    Posted on 12 July, 2017 at 8:48 am
  7. This is so true, the other night I was watching Nadal play whilst trying to write a blog post and publish another on social media. I ended up dipping in and out of Facebook comments, half writing the post and glancing up at the telly every now and then and muttering a few words to Mr Tammy here and there. I probably did a half arsed job at all of them. In fact I know I did as the post I published was littered with errors but I was too busy spreading myself on everything else to notice it. I should definitely try to live by these words! Thanks for sharing at #famlyfun x
    tammymum recently posted…#FamilyFun…Week 43My Profile

    Posted on 12 July, 2017 at 9:42 am
  8. Totally agree with you here. It’s amazing how when you only focus on that one thing, the time goes so much slower. It’s fantastic! Great advice, thank you.
    Liz Deacle recently posted…Living with Hormones. Surviving with Hormoans.My Profile

    Posted on 12 July, 2017 at 11:37 am
  9. So true!! I have noticed my TV attention span is appalling if I have my phone near me. in fact last night we re-watched Game of Thrones and I had to leave my phone in the hall so I could concentrate. I have had to rewind stuff before when being on my phone/social media/reading blogs. It’s really annoying! Great post hun, I am going to go switch those notifications off today and crack on with one thing at a time! #FamilyFun xx
    Susie at This Is Me Now recently posted…Organix no junk carrot cake recipe – plus chance to win £25 of Organix foodsMy Profile

    Posted on 12 July, 2017 at 12:34 pm
  10. I think these days focusing on one thing at a time can be so hard, but if we did, we’d probably achieve a lot more than with multitasking! Earlier on in the year I noticed how much I divided my attention, when a lot of time it really wasn’t needed, and have worked on it throughout the year so far. When you multitask many things, breaking that habit can be hard, but so worth it.
    Jade @ Captured By Jade recently posted…50 Summer Activities for ChildrenMy Profile

    Posted on 12 July, 2017 at 2:18 pm
  11. Great tips as always and so simple. I’m the queen of multitasking and flitting from one thing to another. As I was working the other day I was trying to do month end reports, order a kitchen splashback and sort out paperwork for my daughter’s panto, pretty much all at the same time. I’m sure if J hasn’t felt the need to do it all there and then I would have been less stressed!! #coolmumclub

    Posted on 13 July, 2017 at 6:46 am
  12. Yes to this! Life has become full of so many distractions and although multi tasking does have its benefits I agree that sometimes you just need to focus on one thing rather than spread yourself thinly. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this lovely xoxo

    Posted on 13 July, 2017 at 11:43 am
  13. I do this all the time! I’m sure that if I did one thing at a time I would get more done!
    Ali Duke recently posted…Booey’s Birthday Wish ListMy Profile

    Posted on 13 July, 2017 at 1:57 pm
  14. I try not to multi-task as things definitely end up taking longer to do! I do listen to music while I’m blogging, though. It helps keep me focused as well as happy because I’m hearing my fave tunes 🙂

    Louise x
    Louise recently posted…5 Dos and Don’ts on What to Wear to a Summer WeddingMy Profile

    Posted on 13 July, 2017 at 9:20 pm
  15. I need to remind myself of this more often – I’m sat now trying to do about twenty different things at once and low and behold it’s taken me nearly double the amount of time, that had I just approached each task on their own… P.s. Hawai 5-0 is my guilty pleasure too!

    Posted on 14 July, 2017 at 12:04 am
  16. I absolutely need to take these words to my heart. I am so guilty over overloading the multi-tasking to the point that I’m usually to be found eating through about 15 half done things because I keep finding something else to do that is either more important or “will only take 2 ticks so I’ll just do it now and then it’s done”. Gah! Excellent quotes and brilliant advice. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x
    Rhyming with Wine recently posted…Doing Holidays With The Small Humans…My Profile

    Posted on 14 July, 2017 at 8:00 pm
  17. This!!! Oh my gosh this. I am terrible for ‘multi tasking’ which in reality is actually skimming from one thing to another, finishing none of them and just feeling stressed! Thanks for giving me food for thought this #bigpinklink

    Posted on 15 July, 2017 at 11:57 am
  18. I am so guilty of this, it is so hard when you’re doing one thing to not think about all the other things you have to do but I suppose it would be easier to just divide up the tasks! #KCACOLS

    Posted on 16 July, 2017 at 2:03 pm
  19. The Quote about the Generation doing many things an once but not enjoying is so true! I do 4 things at the same time and wonder where my day goes. Time to slow down to 1 thing at a time. #globalblogging

    Posted on 17 July, 2017 at 8:05 am
  20. This is so true – you do spend more time when you aren’t focused on a single task! #GlobalBlogging
    Heather Keet recently posted…5 ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo…My Profile

    Posted on 17 July, 2017 at 8:25 am
  21. Couldn’t agree with you more. I am a believer of one task at a time and its not about saving Time but saving sanity. To enjoy each thing more, to be mindful every moment. Loved the post Alana
    upasna recently posted…What Minimalism is NOT…My Profile

    Posted on 18 July, 2017 at 7:03 am
  22. This is so true!! I am always trying to juggle ten things at once and as a result end up getting nothing done! I really need to take your advice! #fortheloveofblog

    Posted on 18 July, 2017 at 1:50 pm
  23. Love this! And totally agree, I think we’re all guilty of trying to multi-task and cram in trying to do everything. Then as one of your quotes says, we end up enjoying none of them. Very inspirational, I’m going to make an effort to focus on doing one thing at a time from now on! #KCACOLS x
    Cheryl @ Tea or Wine recently posted…12 Cheap Activities for The Summer HolidaysMy Profile

    Posted on 21 July, 2017 at 10:56 am
  24. I am so bad with this, trying to do too many things at once, and then feeling like nothing is ever properly done or finished! I really need to prioritise my to-do list and then work on one thing at a time! x #KCACOLS
    Madeline (this Glorious Life) recently posted…Things to do now to get ready for back to school in SeptemberMy Profile

    Posted on 22 July, 2017 at 12:04 pm
  25. What a great series, and these words are coming at a the most perfect time for me as I have ten thousand things to do at work today and was feeling overwhelmed. But you’re right I need to do one thing at a time, I think moving from one project to the next is inefficient. Thanks so much for sharing with #GlobalBlogging!
    The Mum Project recently posted…Why Moving is a Bitch and 6 Things I Will Miss about LondonMy Profile

    Posted on 24 July, 2017 at 8:29 am
  26. This is one of my favourite series’s and this edition is so relevant for me. I’m horrible at organising myself and constantly take on too many tasks. I could learn a lot from your approach! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time!
    Becky Clark recently posted…New Blogger on the Block: Featuring Out of Tea BagsMy Profile

    Posted on 24 July, 2017 at 5:14 pm