A few years ago, at a time when I felt overwhelmed with the task of finding balance between my workload and all that I wanted to accomplish and experience, a friend offered me some poignant advice. She said, "You can do everything you want to do, just not all at the same time." Especially because I live in a city that never sleeps, where everyone seems to be working both constantly as well as on multiple projects or jobs at one time, this came as very welcomed and comforting advice that I have returned to again and again.
It is all too easy to feel scattered and begin one project only to desert it when remembering another. This might be a big culprit for why many of us don't get to all the the things on our list. If we focus our efforts on one subject at a time, we have much more of a chance to complete not just the one goal but all of our goals rather than if we scatter our efforts among multiple jobs, only to complete them half way.
There is the ancient wisdom, "When you are walking, walk. When you are sitting, sit". Perhaps this same wisdom can encourage us to truly commit to what we have decided to do. Doubt can be such a distraction as can the feeling of needing to be one hundred places at the same time. True focus has the ability to cut through doubt and distraction in a way that enables us to efficiently tackle our to do list and goals.
Yoga practice teaches us to gather our attention. We learn to strengthen our ability to focus by drawing the mind to the breath and the body. Once we tether the mind to the breath, distractions have less of an ability to take hold of us. The chatter in the mind begins to dissipate and we are able to concentrate.
So, if you start to feel overwhelmed about how to complete multiple tasks or which project to focus on and when, here are a few things that can help :
1. Practice yoga and/or meditation- even a few minutes per day can make a big difference in strengthening your ability to focus.
2. Focus on one task at a time. Pick one project or task and complete it before moving onto the next. If it's helpful, break down each task into bite size, manageable pieces and take it piece by piece.
3. Set a time limit for each task. Designating 15 minutes to purely focus on one goal can yield more productivity than you might think, and over time it is an effective way to chip away at your bigger goals, especially those tasks that seem daunting or out of reach. Set a timer on your phone to keep you honest and so you don't need to keep checking the clock.
4. Know that you can do everything you want to do.. just not all at the same time.