Question from a reader -
I wanted to hear your advice on a problem that I've been experiencing when it comes to work. I noticed that because I'm involved in 4-5 large-scale projects that are each independently time consuming and require high-energy input, I feel like my attention is diluted and I'm only a B-player on each of these projects. If I were to drop all but 1, I know I can be an AA+ player on it, but all of these things matter to me and I want to be an AA+ player on all of them.
I noticed in your blogs & videos you mention that you are very involved in a multiplicity of projects -- I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to go from having attention dilution on multiple projects to being able to execute on them all incredibly well.
No problem if you are busy, but I'd really appreciate your feedback.
Well, there's upside and there's downside to having too many things going on.
1. "If you want something done, give it to a busy person."
By having too much going on, you're forced to cut to the chase, move faster, make decisions quickly, not dwell/stew on things.
If you're booked end-to-end, you don't get stuck in a no-movement rut. It's too easy to start the day by surfing the net if you have "only two hours of stuff to do" and still have... two hours of stuff to do when 10PM rolls around.
I'm always amazed at how the lessons from one project cross-transfer... marketing, ops, whatever. One technological gain in one sphere might transfer over to 2 or 3 other projects. You can bring lots of wins that way.
I'm not a details person. I hastily wrote a contract that hosed me a while back. I paid a couple contractors where I didn't get all deliverables beforehand, and never got them. I just rented a bedroom to a couple of artists and there weren't cleans sheets and we had to buy new ones. Things like that. It's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it generates low level neurosis constantly.
2. The feeling of, "If I had less to do, I could get more done on the one thing!"
But I think it's just that -- a feeling. I think you about max out on really good ideas on a given project, and need more calendar time to pass to come up with great stuff. Generally speaking, for creative work, I doubt you could actually produce much more, so this is really a feeling more than anything.
3. Emulation/setting-a-bad-pace for partners.
This one's the worst. I've got too many things on the go. So sometimes, people who admire me or work with me try to emulate that, without the underlying foundation, and then things get screwed up for them. I've got intense underlying training on the numbers/fundamentals, so even if I'm not seemingly paying attention to it, I can ballpark pretty well.
4. Not enough downtime.
Legitimately a bad thing.
What To Do About It...
1. "Get things off your head" with suitable outcomes. Just do anything so you can forget about it.
2. Invest in getting rid of recurring tasks. Get a maid, use technology, etc.
3. Do occasionally cut a project.
4. Sacrifice some profits to gain time back. (Many ways to do this.)
5. Remind yourself that you chose this path, and you can always unchoose it. The "stuck" feeling is the worst, but you're never really stuck. Yes, there's consequences if you cut something, but knowing you could cuts the trapped feeling. Remember -- it's a choice you made.
That said, I am winding down a few campaigns right now, consolidating, etc. Also, while this might not be for everyone, the occasional brothel visit, fistfight, trip to the firearms range, and other adrenalin-generating activity is quite helpful at sustaining the pace.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Good points being brought up.
Your 3rd downside point was about unprepared people emulating you without grasping the fundamentals. In your opinion, what are these fundamentals?
I would love to assess how close I am to having them and executing well across the board.
"Also, while this might not be for everyone, the occasional brothel visit, fistfight, trip to the firearms range, and other adrenalin-generating activity is quite helpful at sustaining the pace."
And that's why Seb Marsh is my favorite blogger :D
Zachary Burt dropped me a line a few days ago and asked if I'd look at his posting for a cofounder. I said sure, and we worked on it a little bit.
This is normally the kind of thing I'd keep to private correspondence, but Zack told me to put to put it up if I'd like to. Maybe it's useful to learn from -
Here's the original, unedited version -
Headline: Badass technical business-savvy dude looking for fellow programmer and business partner to hack with all day.
The grapes i'm eating are dirty. I've tried washing them, but the dirt is stuck to the skin. Luckily they're organic, so I'm just asuming that massive character is being built. You know, because I still need more character after SEVEN DAYS OF STAYING AWAKE.
I'm feeling pretty great today. The reason? Projects. Let's start with the only project I've done so far:
PROJECT ULTIMATE ALARM CLOCK