Crossing the Finish Line

I realized after talking with Greg Morris for his podcast And You Are? that I am someone that is really good at getting an idea ready to launch, but pitiful at longevity. I can create a decent website, a logo, and come up with branding ideas for a new project. That said, the moment I make this project public for all to see and get this proverbial plane off the ground I’m lost.

It is why I’ve changed the look of my website so much or moved my domain over. Everything is because I have this plane up in the air, but now I have no clue what to do next. So instead of pushing myself to learn more and keep moving forward I decide to crash the plane into the ground and start over. I repeatedly lift off again and again because I know I am good at that, it’s the unknown that scares me into taking the plane any further.

The same goes for other things in my life, like video games. I have created 6 different players on NBA2K19 all of which I have played at most 4 hours on in total. I create a character, get it set up and play a few games with them but I eventually just want to go back and make new players and try new ways to improve the creation of them. My intention quickly deviates from playing with the character I just created to creating the “best” character I can.

It’s maddening to a lot of people who see that I haven’t found one thing to focus on. I have lots of little things I work on simultaneously. It reminds me of something I saw recently from the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. What I saw was a diagram like this one, except instead of it being Focus it was energy. For me, focus makes more sense.

To sum this up, on the left side of this diagram of my focus with a lot of different things I am working on simultaneously. The arrows indicate how far I get into each one of them. I only have so much focus to give and if I spend all of it on lots of different things I won’t get very far in them. On the right side is a different story. I focused on one thing and got much further than I did compared to the image on the left. When I saw this diagram for the first time it was one of those things that just clicked in my brain and never let go.

I have always been someone that does the left side of this image. I get an idea, then another idea, and then another. I decide that none of these great ideas are worth keeping in my pocket for later and I just start doing them all at once. Eventually, after some time has passed, I have gotten little done on all of these different projects. Whereas if I had decided to do one at a time I would have completed them all faster and I would have given each project the focus it deserves to be better.

My Solution

I am trying to be more mindful of this diagram and making it something that I consciously make a habit. Here are a few things I am doing to make that happen:

  • I pick one thing to work on at a time as opposed to many. No new projects are started until I finish the one in progress
  • I am keeping all of my ideas on a separate area in Drafts for later
  • I am setting deadlines for myself to help keep pressure on the things I am working on, which in turn helps me finish things faster so I can work on something new before I get burned out
  • I have made this diagram my new home screen

As someone that is a habitual offender of starting something but never finishing them I am excited to cross the metaphorical finish line more often. I am sure I will have more to say after a little while with this, but for now I am excited to make my work more intentional and less chaotic.

Jeff Perry @JeffPerry