Are You a One Cup Person or Do You Have a Few?
December 30, 2014
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Don’t worry. Keep reading, it’ll all make sense.

Someone once asked me, “Vaughn, how do you focus on so many goals at the same time and yet you still seem to complete each one?” Something to that effect. I really had to think about this. After all, this is something that comes naturally to me and a few others I know.

Let’s take a look at what most people do and are told to do. Most of us are told early on to “focus on one thing” and when you finish that, you can start something else. This works for most. Less stress, full focus, and usually solid results. These are people who focus on “one cup”.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have people who can handle multiple projects at once…people who have “multiple cups”. They usually, like myself, have been doing this for most of their lives. However, I had a very hard time explaining how I was able to manage AND complete my projects other than using words like “diligence” or “consistency”. This trait is not to be confused with individuals who start many projects or endeavors and never finish them.

You are probably asking yourself, “What does this have to do with cups though? I’ve also been asked how I respond to people who think focusing on multiple things is associated with lack of focus. My response? It’s like filling up a cup(s) of water.

  • For the single project people: you are filling up one cup of water at a time. When you’ve finished, you grab another cup and repeat the process.
  • For the multi-project people: you have many cups and you’re filling each one a little at a time. Similar to how a bartender lines up shot glasses end-to-end and pours the tequila in a sweeping motion between the first and last glasses. Eventually they all fill to the top, it just takes longer than an individual glass. This is the concept.

This analogy has stuck with me ever since. It makes sense to me and others who are like this. However, it wasn’t until I read an article on Forbes by Ryan Blair and it hit me; one word that brought on the “eureka moment” — compartmentalization. The idea that one can compartmentalize or isolate specific tasks/projects in separate mental containers. So as not to interfere with a task at hand, but making it readily available for access at a moment’s notice. The article’s author is far more eloquent than I am so I encourage you to read it. It spoke volumes to me and it’s something that I realized but I didn’t know what it was that I was actually doing.

So far it’s worked for me and according to the article, it’s key to being a successful entrepreneur. Whichever method you are comfortable with, take that and run with it. Successful people come from different walks of life and only you know what works for you!

See you in the New Year!

About author

Vaughn Dabney

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