Sometimes I pull myself in too many directions. If I’m working on the one thing I tell myself needs to get done today, inevitably I’ll want to do something else. I like to fool myself into thinking that I’m multi-tasking, but that doesn’t really exist.
You literally can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. Focus, by definition, is having a single object very clearly in view. Many things will vie for your attention, but they can’t all have it. Choose one thing at a time, or it will all be blurry.
If you’re going to do something well, give it your full attention. Go all in on one thing instead of being a jack of all trades. Don’t half-ass a bunch of things instead of doing one thing well.
I think of it like filling glasses. Imagine a coffee shop. You’d expect them to sell a small range of coffee and coffee-related beverages, right? Now imagine that you order a cup of coffee, and while the barista is fulfilling your order, he goes off and starts filling another cup with soda. Then he decides that he’d like to make a batch of lemonade and start filling cups with that. Before long there’s a long line of cups, each getting a different kind of beverage. But there’s only one barista, so only one cup is getting filled at a time. Each cup is only getting a few drops at a time because the real goal is to fill that first cup of coffee.
If you’re the customer, you’re pretty pissed by now that you haven’t been given your coffee. It’s a coffee joint, so the expectation is that they’re going to deliver coffee.
As creatives, it can sometimes feel impossible to just hone in on one thing. But if you’ve declared to your audience that you’re going to do something, you had better deliver.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t do all of the things that you love. Make time for things that fulfill you and scratch your creative itch. Just be sure that you’re making forward progress in the thing you want to be known for, and share things that feed that. You don’t have to project all of the things you do; it’s confusing enough for people notice what other people are all about. Make it easy on them by being clear about what you do…then do more of that.
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