Just One Thing

Just One Thing (Audio)

We heard it Sunday, I read it last week, and a recent study has stated what most of us inherently know, but we do not truly comprehend.

It's impossible to be a successful multitasker! Click To Tweet

Impossible! Our brains cannot direct the body to do more than one thing at a time. True, autonomous systems may function, you know, heartbeat, breath, and even all our senses may be working below the surface, but just as soon as something comes into play that requires them to be the focus, then everything else we were focusing on fades into the background.

Back in the 70’s, if my memory can adequately paint the picture, mainframes processed only a single instruction at a time. Eventually, scientist and engineers learned how to partition the computers so that multiple processes could be started, but only one partition got the main focus. As an operator, I could change the priority of each partition helping each process run faster, or slower. When the main partition was at a pause waiting for operator intervention, then the other partition would pick up speed and use all available computing cycles to skip on down the road to completion.

We’ve been guilty of trying to do too many concurrent tasks, and finding that some of the tasks are done way below our ability and quality. It’s like driving and texting. You can either do one of them successfully, but you cannot do them both at the same time and expect good results!

Maybe this is even more crucial today than any other time in our life. Distractions are huge! Carnival barkers calling for our attention to go this way, and then that. Do this, and then that. That doesn’t work so do this. Like junk mail, they fill our attention span and the pretty baubles draw our eyes and change our focus from one barker to the next.

Since junk mail has been around, I’ve challenged myself to toss it into the recycle bin and “pay it no never mind.” There’s something refreshing about not being distracted!

The Do Not Call registry gives me the same control over those pesky robo-calls, but there are loopholes and sure enough, I still get several a day. How do you handle it? Don’t answer unless you know who the caller is. Thank you, Caller ID!

In the same way, I do not answer my front door unless I expect someone to be arriving. Door-to-door sales are almost a thing of the past, but I still reject the idea that just because someone knocks that I have to answer!

So. How do we drill our focus down to the necessary thing(s) in life? Since we are each unique individuals it would be hard to decide for you, but I know for me it’s a daily battle to keep my focus on the main thing. You’ve heard it before, right? Long before a book heralded the thought, I know someone who used to recite this all the time.

Keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing! Click To Tweet

For some of us, you have to employ the KISS principle. And if you don’t know this, then perhaps you should… Keep It Simple Stupid. Not that you are stupid, ignorant or dumb… No. It’s just a saying to get your attention to keep your focus headed the right direction.

So. Is it historical that some struggle with this? Sure. Always has been. Always will be.

  • King David understood this when he said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord…” and he purposed to seek after it all the days of his life? What was it? Simply to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” (Psalms 27:4)
  • The Rich Young Ruler had done all that was required to inherit eternal life, but Jesus said he lacked “one thing”. What was it? “Sell what you have, give to the poor, and you’ll have treasure in heaven and a cross to carry and a path to follow.” (Mark 10:21)
  • Even Paul comprehended it deep in his ministry and church planting. “This one thing I do…” Tell me, Paul. What’s your focus in life? “Forget the past (and he had a horrific past!) and reach for the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

So, what do you do about those “other things” you enjoy? You partition them into a corner or lanes, and let them out when you have some free time. Hobbies. Learning something new. Travel. Experiences. All may be important, but they should never take you away from your focus on your “one thing”.

One last thought. You are here for a purpose. Find it and make it your own. You are unique and your talents are prepared for your focus. Now. Do it.