A few days ago I began writing an article dealing with commitment, marriage, and more.  It’s a subject that’s very important and so I really wanted to do a quality job.

So, I went about it…started as I always do – with an idea, a few sentences to lead me in and an open screen.  As I began writing, I was interrupted by something. Doesn’t matter what it was. But it does matter what I did. I let the interruption in.  Then I was on a roll (downhill) and got further distracted by choosing to re-visit a huge billing error with our doctor’s office, while still working on my article.  This issue had been dragging on for a few weeks with many unfulfilled promises of resolution. Very frustrating. I figured I’d be on hold a lot, as I had been in recent weeks. This wouldn’t deter my writing, I thought, because the hold times were usually pretty long.  And so I went forward with multiple hold times, new numbers to call, rinse, repeat, and so on.  This happened for at least an hour, with no resolution even as of now.

Finally, I finished my article, though I had that nagging suspicion it wasn’t my best.  I handed it to my wife for her edits and, most important, her opinion.  When we had an opportunity to discuss it the next day, she said she was confused at some of the content, plus she had a “look.” That was code for – “yeah…this one’s not your best.”  No worries – I immediately read the code and said, “I’ll scrap it and do it again.”  She was right.

To be really honest, that’s the first time one has gotten to Amy that we went and scrapped entirely. First time.  Usually, there are edits, and occasionally the edits are more than grammar, but it’s always gotten to Amy with good enough content to further develop. Not this time.

What went wrong?  You already know.

It was a job done, but not done well. It became about quantity, and not about quality. Where did the quality suffer and transition into quantity? Easy. I never got in the zone because I was multi-tasking while writing. Not a good thing. Plus, while I was not on hold with the billing department and back to writing, was I really writing? Physically, yes; mentally, no. I was carrying the frustration of a lousy customer service experience into my writing. No focus.  Wasn’t really there. And even if the experience was good, it still would have depleted my creativity and focus because they are two completely different actions – requiring different mental and physical elements. Going back and forth kills effectiveness – kind of like highway versus city mileage. 

Chunking is my way of defining and devoting like-minded activities together and not confusing two or more at the same time. Writing is a “zone” activity for me. In order to get it right, I need to be fully dedicated, totally focused, and in “the zone.” One chunk at a time. If you’re selling – sell; don’t write or enter data in CRM or research online. That should be done before or after selling – calling, knocking, asking, and listening. If you’re meeting with your client, your employee, or a family member, same thing – chunk it. Devote your time and attention fully, and you won’t miss something that being out of focus blinds you to. That blind spot can be very costly.

Chunking comes down to this – it’s the difference between getting the job done versus getting the job done right.