One Thing at a Time Strategy and its Powerful Benefits

One Thing at a Time

My latest two weeks were extremely hectic. We are launching a new cool feature for our great and famous clients, so we had to work hard to make application perform as intended and making things happen. We had to dedicate our late evenings and one entire weekend that totaled up with 12 working days in a row. And thats exactly when I made a decision to focus on One Thing at a Time ONLY and confirm once again how beneficial it actually is.

Honestly, I have zero complains about hectic schedule I had to go through as I love my job and there was no need to keep me extra motivated to focus and keep going. All I was trying to do is to focus and get in tiny details how the things are expected to work.

In my job, as Quality Assurance Analyst, is important to get the main picture first and clearly understand a step by step process from the beginning till the very end. I call it “skeleton”. In other words – main logic and functionality. Then, we start testing all other expected features, functionalities, behaviors and verify how the application responds to tons of scenarios, setup modifications, in different browsers and so on. This process is quite interesting and absorbing.  I personally feel, as if diving into the waters and seeing things (new scenarios) in a special way. That’s exactly the state I was in for the last two weeks. Amazing state and feelings! Discovery Mode! “Let me break it” state! 

As a result, of my testing adventure, by the end of second week, my house started looking more like a cave, my paperwork was piling up in all weird places in the house. It is a Tax season, so you probably know what kind of papers and in what quantities I am talking about. But decision was made: this time, I focus on One Thing at a Time only!

I canceled all what I was only able to cancel. Looks like my daughter started loving her daddy a bit more than me by the end of the second week. As well, started playing the “office game” and telling that “she is super busy and has to finish an important project”. By the way, I am totally glad, that they had this moment of bonding with her daddy as it is super important for their strong relationship formation. 

Sure thing, we had no packed lunches (only Elizabeth had an honor to have those). I was picking what to wear early morning (not a day before, as usual) and our laundry was frighteningly accumulating in our laundry room… After working on a weekend, Monday morning, I realized that by my feelings, I am not sure what day of the week is it today. Calendar insisted it was Monday, but I didn’t feel even close to that. That was such a weird feeling, I don’t remember if I experienced anything like this ever before. 

One Thing at a Time focused Team

As was expected, together with a team, we progressed well over the weekend and following week ended up with a couple of successful demos to or clients and generously positive feedback. This feedback extremely fueled me and gave me super power for the next weekend, during which I solved all my “piles up” and even did some extras in plus. In two days my house became even better organized as before (btw, we finally removed Christmas Tree), we prepared Valentine’s gifts for Elizabeth’s classmates, Teachers and Caregivers. We had super quality family time playing, chatting, crafting and laughing…a LOT! Yes, everybody got great lunches during the weekend as well as packed for our Monday. We read books, watched TV, and went to bed absolutely satisfied with our weekend outputs. 

Why I am sharing all that? Because of this:

It is ok to “push” yourself for one BIG thing and put everything else on pause or minimize your involvement in certain things for a while. There is that outstandingly powerful feedback after things are getting done or there is a significant progress made.  And this feedback, usually fuels you up to the max level possible!

My agenda was blank for two weeks, because I focused on that one thing without trying to have 12 sleepless nights to succeed in every single task that required my attention. And, you know what? My world, either our family’s world didn’t collapse. Not even cracked!

Hectic projects like this one do not happen often in my life, it is important to take this into consideration. But, when it happens, I realized that it is beneficial to keep stress level under control by having a quality rest and doing one thing at a time! That will bring it all to a one great result instead of several unfinished beginnings. And it will provide a great after feeling to fuel your inner batteries to a full power level! 

And what do you prefer: Multitasking or One Thing at a Time Strategy? 

In case your life constantly looks like my hectic 12 days I strongly believe that a 5 Extremely Effective Anti Burnout Techniques I wish I knew Earlier Article might turn tables around and help you rearrange things in a positive and at the end even more productive way. 



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  1. 1

    I start out as a one time at a thing, then everything spirals into a multitasking mountain. I’m the mom with a baby in one arm, vacuuming, doing dishes, and folding clothes somehow, simultaneously.

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      Thank you Julie. I am so, so glad about this project that in the beginning looked to huge, to often changing and extremely time compressed. But, yes, with team effort it was just done!

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    Great idea for families to help out each other with their projects. Even though there is just my husband and me, we help out with each other’s projects we have going. Especially when its crunch time, like tax season, and it has to get done.

    • 10

      That is awesome, Tammy. Healthy and supportive family relationships are so important and beneficial. They, for sure, allow both partners to grow, develop and feel loved and cared.

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    I am all for one thing at a time but I don’t do hectic. My health is my priority and I have a system in place to ensure that everything gets done while respecting my primary needs: get quality sleep, exercise and eat the right food 3 times a day. It is all about balance for me!

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    I definitely attack with the single task strategy; however, I do struggle with what my life looks like outside of the single task. How you were able to do maintain that focus for so long is huge. What would you do for much larger projects like say…a dissertation or book? #marathonVsSprint

    • 17

      Hi Damond. We totally can’t always be in a one thing at a time ming set. But if there is a badly jammed time frame. It your task requires of 2 weeks having everything else paused in order to succeed, then it is the best option to have it actually done.
      When you have a task like exam, dissertation or book to write, you usually start with the manageable time frame. And that gives you a possibility to divide your tasks gradually in order to be done on time.

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    Your job sounds very interesting. I can totally relate when you reach your goal or target, and you get the amazing feeling of success.

    • 23

      I totally love my Job, Chris. It gives me so often a feeling of accomplishment and success. It is never boring, but interesting due to new projects, daily quests to solve and great working environment.

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    Multi-tasking is what I strive for, but I have to tell you that it doesn’t always work. I’ve often wondered if I have A.D.D. because I will often start one thing and find myself doing another before it’s even completed. I think a one at a time strategy is the way to go really…at least for my tired brain. Valuable information. Thanks for sharing.

    • 25

      Hi Kristi. I was striving for multitasking before. It was trendy, somehow. I still practice it with small tasks that do not require a complete “dive in”. But, at the same time, I noticed that all high achievers constantly repeat how important is to focus at one task, finish it and then move to the next one.
      Multitasking problem is so visible with 5yo kids, for example, who start drawing, then see stickers and move to those, then they notice a toy and start playing….and at the end there is nothing brought to the logical result.
      What I am trying to teach my little one these days: if you started building Lego, lets build it! If we are now drawing a picture, lets finish it first. And I honestly see that this makes her more persevering and capable to finish the tasks by her own.

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      Hi Corine, same here. To-do lists are my favorite and I use them just for my personal and professional daily, monthly and yearly plans.The indeed help a lot to focus and get things done.

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      Hi Dee.This is great when you feel that multitasking is totally yours thing. I didn’t completely gave up on it. I found, for myself, that one thing at a time works the best for huge and time jammed project. I use multitasking for tasks and small to medium projects to be solved. And thats where prioritization comes in action.

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