165. Only one thing at a time.

Our discussion last week on The Habit of Total Immersion invoked a few heated calls from people questioning the practicality of total immersion.

The callers all agreed with the example that it is far faster to obtain fluency in Spanish by moving to Mexico and living with a family for six months than it is by attending one class a week but they also pointed out the impracticality of putting our lives, families and careers on hold while pursuing such an endeavor.

And they’re absolutely right. Few, if any, of us can simply uproot and relocate on a whim.

But, does that mean anything less than 24/7 immersion doesn’t count?

No, of course not. The Habit of Total Immersion is really a counter to the idea of multitasking, while also serving as a powerful reminder that our best results come from exclusive focus and not from scattered functioning.

One of the great mistruths of our time is the idea that we are capable of multitasking. Multitasking – performing several functions simultaneously – simply means that we are doing a whole bunch of things really poorly.

We are not designed to multitask and, indeed, lack the necessary equipment to do so effectively.

If you think you are an exception and multitasking is within your capabilities then try having a telephone conversation while watching a TV show and writing a report.

Let me know how that works.

The best and most concentrated use of The Habit of Total Immersion means focusing exclusively on the task at hand to the complete exclusion of all else.

Exclusive focus means if you are working on a report then that is all you are doing. You’re not pausing to answer the phone, send a quick text, read an email or, succumbing to that most productivity-robbing activity of all, granting access to the person knocking on your door uttering the biggest lie in the business world, “do you have a moment?”

Productivity “is defined by dictionary.com as meaning “the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.”

In other words, productivity or progress is about producing results and enhancing both effectiveness and efficiency in as short a time as possible.

The Habit of Total Immersion means immersing yourself fully, totally, completely and unequivocally in what you are doing and maintaining that intensity or focus until either the task is completed or the time allotted is all used up.

For many, this is a difficult task as we have conditioned ourselves to become slaves to what is euphemistically known as “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome.” Also known as BSOS.

The affliction of BSOS prevents us from exclusively focusing on anything for very long as the moment any object captures our attention, e.g. a ringing phone, an incoming text or email or an interrupting human we respond immediately as if we were chained, in slave -like fashion, to the distracting object, and immediately redirect our focus to its needs.

We then assign an importance rating to this interruption and, all too often, the rating we give it is of higher importance than the task we were focusing on moments earlier.

BSOS is the greatest known thief of performance and productivity and is the sworn enemy of The Habit of Total Immersion.

If you really want to see rapid progress in any and all areas of life then make exclusive focus and The Habit of Total Immersion your model for rapid growth.

You will be amazed at what happens when you become a whiz at “uni-tasking.”

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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