One (for now) 


“Do one thing at a time,” we’re told, and for good reason. When we focus all of our available time and resources on a single task, project, or goal, we’re more likely to start and complete it, and do a better job of it. 

But it’s not always necessary or practical to do that. 

You might have several projects on your “current” list—moving your office, hiring new staff, starting a new marketing campaign, preparing for trial—the list does go on, doesn’t it?—and you can’t do everything “today”.

You need time to find candidates or ideas, make a list or outline, talk to different people, draft documents, or time to finish up other projects before you can start working on the next one.

Which is why you work on a project and switch to another before the first project is done. 

You know what that’s called? Normal. Another day at the office.  

Hold on. You’ve probably heard the expression “task switching,” which is what we do when we multitask, meaning going back and forth from one task to another, and why this isn’t recommended. 

Starting a task and then switching to another task before you finish the first one isn’t optimal because when you stop working on a task before it is complete, your brain tends to keep it in “RAM” and your mental resources are still being used for that task and you can’t use those resources to work on other tasks. 

Better to finish one task before moving on to another. 

But task switching isn’t the same thing as simultaneously working on multiple projects, and you often don’t have a choice.

If you’re planning to move your office, hire and train a new assistant, prepare a case for trial, and start a new marketing initiative, you might not be able to finish one project before you start another. 

Do it if you can. You’ll be glad you did. But if you can’t, if you need to work on multiple projects in parallel, do what you have to do.

Start working on one, take it as far as you can for now, start another project, and keep going back and forth until you finish everything. 

Messy, but often necessary. 

For tasks and for projects, one thing at a time is the default, and when possible, finish one thing before you start another. 

But you know this, right? So why am I mentioning it? Because if you’re like me (and we both know you are), you’re reading this because you took a break from doing something else you need to do, and I’m just reminding you to get back to it. 

You’re welcome.