a_bird_onhand“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” I know that’s how the traditional saying goes, but I think it’s safe to say a bird in the hand is BETTER than two in the bush.

Do you ever have one of those workdays where you’re trying to juggle several different things, but you don’t actually finish any of them? I sure have and it’s a really frustrating feeling. Of course emergencies arise that require immediate attention, but most distractions can and should be reserved while you focus on getting one task DONE.

I think the bird-in-the-hand saying is not just about tasks, but opportunities. For most of us opportunities arise far more often than we can act on them. These new opportunities are the birds in the bush. You may be closing in on finishing one task, when you hear these birds rustling in the bush with a ringing phone or “you’ve got mail.” It’s very easy to get distracted especially when you’re not enjoying your task at hand, but it’s important to secure its completion.

I grew up on a farm and we had bantam hens. Catching a live hen was not something you could multitask. You needed BOTH hands to grab her and secure her in the roost. It was tempting to think I could grab two hens if they were close together, but that never actually worked. The same is true with difficult office tasks. They require a singular focus or they end up flying away in a cloud of feathers (sort of).

So if you’re in the middle of finishing up a tough task and you hear the telephone bird and the email bird in the bush at the same time, don’t be tempted. Finish the task at hand, cross it off your list, and give yourself a pat on the back. That accomplishment is not worth the same as the potential of the phone cal and email. It’s BETTER, because you’ve advanced a step forward, not sideways. In most cases, the birds in the bush will wait.

TODAY’S KEY TO UNLOCKING SCHEDULE CLUTTER: A bird in the hand BETTER than two in the bush.