Focus On a Single Goal

Multitasking is the quickest way to mediocrity

Listening to a recent podcast by The Minimalists called ‘focus’.  Inspired me think about the benefits of being focused, how this can apply to achieving your fitness objectives. One key standout from the podcast was the topic of multi tasking and how this itself can be a distraction.

Multitasking can be a viewed by many as a way of being efficient. Conversely it can also be viewed as not prioritising correctly and instead doing anything and everything that is thrown at you.

The same could be said for having multiple goals, even if they seem like they are linked. Is it truly possible to train hard for an athletic goal such as completing a half marathon and simultaneously be as effective at achieving another goal such as loosing weight?

Sometimes making a decision that supports one goal (completing a half marathon) may take you further from another  (loosing weight). For instance to perform at your best in every training session may require you to significantly increase your kcal intake to ensure appropriate muscle glycogen levels to fuel your body. But to loose weight would require you to be in a consistent kcal deficit, which conflicts with the previous goal. it would be possible to achieve both but is it the right decision to sacrifice the quality of each of the results in order to achieve two goals.

Single Focus approach- Being clear on what goal (rather than goals) you want to achieve and shaping every decision in your day to support this goal is a much more effective method than having multiple goals which may inadvertently conflict with each other.

If you put all your energy into loosing weight first, by reducing your Kcal intake significantly (to create a deficit) and to moderately increase the level of exercise for  more intense shorter durations (e.g. weight train/HIT) then once the weight goal has been achieved it would be easier and less taxing on your body to subject it to long duration, high impact cardio and you might find the half marathon goal far more achievable.

Remember it is far more important to be effective in one goal than be efficient in achieving lots.

Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.

Tim Ferris

some further links on the topic of focus

  1. The multitasking virus and the end of learning
  2. The Minimalists- Focus
  3. Not Busy, Focused
  4. Zen Habits Focus