Focus. Slow down to speed up

I think you’ve noticed that the world is moving with the enormous pace. It’s hard to keep up with the number of news, ideas, buzzwords, etc. And I bet you’d like to achieve more, deliver better results and win all the battles.

The truth is that you can’t be on top in everything. We can’t catch all the initiatives and be perfect in everything we’re starting.

Here is a short Inc’s article about entrepreneur’s dilemma.

But what could we do if we set the ambitious goals and want to do something meaningful and achieve the unachievable. This simple rule works for me:

Less is more. Do whatever you want but not everything at once.

Recently, I decided to slow down. To keep focus on less amount of initiatives and actually finish them. Or at least deliver them to the point I can make a decision to resign or move forward with it.

Below are some of the tips I’d like to share with you. Hope they will help you to improve your focus and make you a little happier. Feel free to challenge them, comment and add your tips in the comments.

  • Work Initiatives. We use V2MOMs at work and it’s a great tool to create sync within the company’s initiatives and goals. The only problem is there is often too many goals. Recently we’ve tried the quarterly theme approach: set the single simple goal for the quarter and make sure everyone is aligned with it. After the first quarter of using the theme I can see that we’ve reached the major goal, decision making process was simplified because there was a major criterion and we’ve definitely had less stress. So my advice:

Set 1 simple major quarterly theme for the company. Set max 3 goals for each department: first one should be directly connected with the main theme.

  • Communication. Slack is awesome and awful tool. It allows us to work faster on simpler tasks, but it slows us down when we need to be focused on something that takes several hours to finish. I’ve cleaned up my slack channels recently and it definitely helped me to be more productive and happier.
  • Books. I have a plan to read 12 books this year. The problem occurred when I started 1 book, then another and 2 more after that without finishing the single one. I’m not against reading multiple books at once but there should be a limit. Just like in Kanban when there is a limit of work in progress to make sure it’s actually moving forward. My limit is max 2 books at once.
  • Sport. Running is a big part of my life. My parents met at orienteeringsport club when they were in high school. Nowadays, I ran half-marathons and marathons. But also I enjoy going to the gym or doing some other physical activities. To keep focus in sport I do following: pick only one must-have marathon or half-marathon I’d like to run this year and set the number of kilometers I’d like to hit (today’s result 605,8/1000km). Then I pick at least 3 days per week for sport and start moving forward to those goals.
  • Personal projects. Full-time job is never enough for me. I like to explore new ideas, try new challenges and push myself forward. The problem occurs when I start picking too much initiatives and projects. Then usually I don’t finish any of them and become miserable. The clue is to stick with one project for a while, deliver some work, evaluate the result and if it doesn’t make sense to continue — resign.

Limit number of personal projects to one. Set the similar approach as in work initiatives. Set the minimum and maximum amount of hours you’d like to spend on this project weekly. Track progress and don’t be afraid to resign.

  • Rest. It’s ok if you want to spend some time on doing nothing. Actually, your brain needs to have some cognitive rest to be productive. That’s why you have to reserve some time on doing nothing.

Thanks for reading! Get some rest. Or don’t. Do whatever makes you happy.