Every day, people around the world set out with goals in their mind with what they want to accomplish. However, there’s an issue; it isn’t that they have multiple goals but rather that they insist on working on them at the same time. They insist on spinning as many plates as possible at once.

Plate spinning?

I’m sure everyone is aware of the circus act of plate spinning. Essentially, the idea is to try and keep as many plates spinning at once for as long as possible. Eventually, however, the performer will either give up, stop or let the plates come tumbling down and smash to pieces on the floor.

Now, what does this have to do with you, me and everyone else?

We can learn a lot from plate spinning.

Stop spinning plates.

Spinning plates is a great analogy for how people choose to handle their goals. People want to work on all their projects at once, and, anything new they start, is just another plate to spin. They believe this is the best way of getting results.

Do the most work and get the most results.

But, are they doing the most work?

Think about it. Let’s say you have one plate to spin and you can spin it at 100 revolutions per minute (RPM). What happens if I give you two plates?

The plates will spin slower, in a mathematically perfect universe it would be half the speed. You have two plates then they’ll spin at 50 RPM. Now, what about three plates? Three times slower than one plate. Three plates would spin at 33 RPM and four plates? That would be 25 RPM.

I’m sure you’re starting to see the trend.

The more plates we add, the slower they individually spin. Now, if we apply this thinking to our lives, instead of plates we have projects & goals, and instead of revolutions per minute, we have progress.

The more projects and goals we add into our lives the lower the progress towards each goal becomes.

In plate spinning, there is a point, a point where you have added so many plates that you can’t possibly keep them all spinning. What happens when you reach this point? The plates slow down and begin to fall. One by one. And, eventually they’re all in pieces on the floor, and you have nothing.

This point occurs for us too. We keep adding projects and goals until we get to the point where we can no longer work on all of them. After which, they begin to drop off and become forgotten.

Does this happen to your projects and goals?

Instead, spin a plate

What happens if we only spin one plate though? We can keep the speed as fast as possible while maintaining full control over the plate at all times.

While this isn’t ideal for plate spinning, it works wonders for our productivity.

While this isn’t ideal for plate spinning, it works wonders for our productivity.

Instead of working on all our projects, if we work on just one, we will be to produce higher quality work in a faster time. Essentially, our plate won’t slow down.

And, once you finished that project, you can move on to the next one. Each time we’re giving your full attention to that project, maximising its possible success.

What you gain

Other than the boost in productivity I’ve already talked about, there are plenty of other reasons you will want to stop multitasking. Below I’ve listed some of the benefits of working on a single project at once:

  • Reduced amount of mistakes
  • Lower stress levels
  • Improved creativity
  • Being less distracted
  • And more…

In conclusion

We have been miss-sold productivity. We have always been under the assumption that if we want to see results, then we must work on everything at once. However, as I have hopefully shown in this article, working on everything at once causes more damage to us then we are gaining in results.

We have been miss-sold productivity.

Instead, we should be focusing on one project and maximise our productivity, yielding higher results and experiencing more success among other things I have mentioned in this article.

However, building success is more than just focusing on one task. You need to have successful habits, which you can learn how to make in the article below.


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