Human mind is an amazing thing.
You can think up so much in so little a time that thinking itself can become your favourite hobby. If at all you come out of that and focus on doing your tasks – you do the best thing possible for any action-oriented person.
You try to do everything in one go.
Take my example. I have a day job where I (try to) be a IT manager/developer. I have three blogs that I actively update – which makes me a weirdo on weekends. I try hard to think about how we live, what we do, and where we are going (without lot of success). And, I am far too interested in anything technology and programming. I have parallel projects going on in multiple technology platforms.
That doesn’t help.
It does not make me an expert anywhere. I just pass by without making an impression anywhere, and not satisfying my learning goals in any area.
Though I like to talk philosophy, science, and technology – I am horribly under prepared to think any further than singularity.
Even on the serious side of things – it becomes incredibly hard to focus on “that one thing” to get your life going to the next level. You are of course trying to improve it on multiple levels – but that means divided attention that doesn’t cut it.
Prioritizing within your priorities
Warren Buffett has a nice solution to this problem.
- Write down your top 25 things that you want in life
- Pick your top 5 things that you want from the 25 things you have written down
- Do your plan on how to address your top 5 wants
- Throw the rest of the 20 wants in a cupboard and lock it till you succeed in your top 5
Ain’t that simple?
Once you have fewer things to focus on, you become more attentive to what is going on with the problem, and start thinking about solutions. You don’t jump around the numerous priorities trying to avoid directly dealing with problems.
The normal human mind thrives on “the more the better”. 25 is better than 5 since you can put fewer eggs in one basket. You also not tend to get bored since you always have that shiny little thing to try out in the rest 24 priorities. Therein lies the problem.
Rather than an intense concentration on a problem, and thinking about the right solution to the problem – you get absorbed in finding satisfactory answers for problems to move on with life. Or worse, you may skirt around it hoping it will go away so that you can prioritize something else.
By narrowing down the things you work on, you eliminate what doesn’t need to be thought, or done at this time. The clear focus, and the “thirst to succeed” will what will drive you towards addressing the top 5 want.
And, once you are done there – you can always move on to the next big thing in your list.