Focus on 1 To 2 Things At A Time To Stay Sane And Happy

The Rule Of 1 To 2 – Focus To Stay Sane And Be Happy

Noam LightstoneLife Lessons And Experiments Leave a Comment

“No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.” – Harry Emerson Fosdick

A short and to the point discussion today.


There are many amazing things out there in life. Do you ever find yourself saying that there is never enough time to do them all? Is the stress of not getting things accomplished causing anxiety and/or panic attacks?


What I have found is that focusing on 1 to 2 things at a time in any category of life leads to:

  1. Decreased anxiety
  2. More happiness

Focusing means you spread yourself less thin. You have less anxiety and worry about not being able to do certain items, and in turn, you are happier because you can do a better job.


For example:

  • You should only work on developing one to two habits at a time, so that they are ingrained within you and then move on. The alternative is trying to get a billion habits going, none of them becoming natural to you, and you getting pissed off for always missing them (such as going to the gym).
  • Dating one to two people at a time can lead to much deeper relationships, and a situation where you can actually give them the time you want. The exceptions of course are purely casual or physical relationships where a great deal of time is not necessary.
  • More than two hobbies at a time will lead to frustration, since you can’t advance far on either.
  • One or two business ideas at a time – otherwise they won’t receive the attention they need to grow.
  • Read one or two books at a time, learn or enjoy what they have to offer, and move on to the myriad of other options from there.


This rule of 1 to 2 requires great discipline and self-control: To not let your mind roam every where, to not listen to those voices that say, “You are running out of time! You need to do more!

If you give each thing a fair shot, you will be happier knowing you gave as much as you could, as opposed to half-assing ten things.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, and sometimes it is impossible to follow this credo. But in general, I feel like living by the rule of “less is more” creates a healthier space.


In a world that seems to always be moving faster, where we are constantly being pushed to output more and more… have we gotten caught up in the rush and started to not give each interest our all?

Ask yourself – how much do you really need to be doing at one time. And if I did less, would I feel less anxious, happier, and actually get more done?


Image Credit: Cover picture courtesy of Michael Dales under the Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.