Intense Focus

In life there is a very small percentage of people that can truly focus on multiple ideas and projects at the same time.

Years ago, I was meeting with a construction contractor who ran a very large commercial construction company and he built many office buildings, apartments, retail centers, restaurants etc. all over the United States. I had been to many construction offices before and they were all a mess with stacks upon stacks of papers and files all over the office, on the floor etc. So, I walk into this guy’s office and there is not one paper clip on his desk. It looks like it has been spit-shined. On his credenza, he had a picture of his family and a calendar and that was it. Everything was buttoned up tight, clear and completely clean and organized.

I ask him how he keeps his offices so straight. He said, “well, I believe in focusing on one thing at a time until I have done all I need to do with it for that day. Then I file that away and take out another project. In doing this, I find I am able to oversee a lot of projects and get more done.”

That is why to this day, everything I am working on has its own file and its own place and my desk (usually) is clean. I realized that day in that contractor’s office that I performed better when I could focus on one thing at a time versus thinking I was able to work on multiple projects at the same time.

Andrew Carnegie (died 1919) was one of the wealthiest men in the history of the US. His net worth in today’s dollars was 372 billion. We think Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos etc. are so very wealthy, and they are, but they are worth about 1/3 of what Andrew Carnegie was worth. He owned the largest steel company (Carnegie Steel) in the world. Every night he would take out a card and list the things he needed to do the next day. He would put a number of importance by each task. When he got to the office the next day, he would start at number one and stay on number one until he had completed that task to the best of his ability and only then, would he move to number two on his list.

See, he realized the importance of organization and the ability to focus on one task at a time. Organization is a funny thing and many times difficult to get started with, but the objective and goal is clarity of thought and mental focus. KT

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