I’m always curious about new challenges. I constantly want to learn new things. Have new ideas. Develop myself. Sounds good, right? And of course, I’m happy with it. The failing point? A big part of the excitement I enjoy in doing something, is tied to the challenge itself. Over time, when it inevitably becomes less challenging, the excitement fades. Along with the fulfillment.
Keep adding new things, doesn’t work. You can only do as much in a day/week/year. Travel the world, work at different companies to do 80 experiments, meet (local) people, write the blog, do Crossfit, read books, learn graphical design. A few examples of my current activities and interests. If I add more, and also want relaxing time, there are to few hours in the day.
If you want progress, you can’t avoid making choices. They say you need focus. But what is focus? What does it mean?
Unite the forces
I believe the units time, attention and energy are connected. They empower or weaken each other. Investing time into something without your attention, is the biggest waste of all. For example: Attending a meeting, while continuously checking Facebook on your smartphone? A shame, because you don’t add value to the meeting. Aimlessly scrolling through your feeds, will not benefit anyone. And it drains your energy!
This last part is interesting, because you have a limited pool of each three. Imagine every bar represents 100 points. Points you can spend every day — if you rest/sleep well (but that’s a topic for a different time). When one of the bars reaches zero, the other two bars just became useless as well.
Why? Think about it like this: time without energy has no value. And spending energy without attention, is a waste of time.
Focus is the art of simultaneously aiming your time, attention and energy on what you’re doing in that very moment.
Diversity is key
You can’t do everything. Not at the same time. And focus helps. This asks for making choices. You’ve probably heard it’s better to finish one thing, than to start two and not finish anything. Don’t get me wrong, I agree. I didn’t quit football for no reason.
The thing is, I do a terrible job at only doing one thing. In no time the challenge is gone. The excitement fades and I’m bored to tears. If I continue it costs me a lot of energy to make it work. And as I said, without energy, time and attention are not worth anything.
What works for me, is to focus my time, attention and energy on a few deliberately chosen activities/projects. This diversity in action preserves the challenge, and therefore is the key to progress.
How does this work for you?
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