What Can be Serialized

I have written before an article on the importance of focusing on one task at a time as the best way to produce quality work. I mentioned that one of my favourite books The One Thing takes this mono-focus strategy to the highest level possible. I argued that the tasks and big projects need to be serialized or sequenced one after another. They do get finished with persistent effort and good habits, as the common saying goes: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I have also written on taking life 1 day at a time, which is a generalization of the same concept.

Now the purpose of today’s post is to not fooled by this concept of sequencing by taking it to another extreme. There are things in life that cannot be simply put one after another, the most prominent examples of which are health and family during a rising career. Many young people think that they would focus on their careers for those 2 years only for example which would take them to a target position. Then, they would be able to give time to their health and family in a very balanced manner while enjoying the fruits of a prestigious position and a high salary. For most, this turns out to be a trap.

These important things cannot be sequenced no matter what. One has to juggle them together to keep them in the game. As I have argued before, health must be the number one priority followed by family and career. Some people put career ahead of the family with the logic that one needs to provide a respectful life for the family. While this argument is not wrong, it has to be delicately balanced and has its do’s and don’ts.

Coming back to the sequencing part, one can definitely serialize the tasks or projects within these domains. For example, there is no harm in doing only legs exercises in a particular week and defer the arms or cardio for some other time. Similarly, if you cannot afford (even in terms of time and energy) to send your kid to multiple activities, it is okay to keep them focused on one activity only. They can learn karate at one time and can shift to football or music at some other time. In fact, too many activities for the kids do more harm than good anyway.

I hope that with the right priorities in a parallel manner, you can employ the concept of sequencing in an intelligent manner to spend a balanced life.

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