Fast Company

Is Focus Overrated?

Full disclosure. I probably have undiagnosed ADD. I bet many more of us than we realize will develop ADD if we haven't already, with the relentless stimuli and pounding pressures of our tech-driven times.

Back to focus. Why are we so often advised to take a linear approach to things? While this may work for some, it’s not necessarily the right method for everyone. What’s wrong with spending less time in agonizing over what “they” say we are supposed to do and how “they” say we are supposed to do things? I was so excited when I learned about Marcus Buckingham and his mission to help us do more fulfilling work in ways that align with each one's unique abilities. He suggests that we should embrace what we enjoy doing or are naturally gifted at, while eliminating the rest whenever possible. Why insist on going against the grain and suffering through years of limited achievement because “they” said that we must spend more time learning to overcome challenges and compete in prescribed ways. Please honor Mr. Buckingham by reading his insights at our beloved FastCompany.com.

Case in point. I’m currently reading five books at once. The reason…don’t even ask! However, with very little time to read, and yet still having to do so, I figured that if I committed to reading a minimum of 10 pages in each book every day (very early morning or before I drop off to sleep at some crazy hour), I can keep things moving. You can imagine that making peace with that, so to speak, was a small breakthrough for me. If I choose to read these books this way, why not?

This same approach could apply to someone with a number of diverse business initiatives or a plan to launch blog/internet sites. My advice? Go ahead, just do it. If that’s who you are, that’s who you are. Before long, you’ll figure out a system or some schedule that helps you keep up and maintain whatever it is you’ve developed. You may find that you have to hire out a number of tasks via virtual assistants or employees. You may also find that you’ll quickly learn which of the sites or whatever initiative you have more of an interest in, passion about, or time for. You’ll also discover which is the most viable to develop further, including heading in a direction you wouldn’t have dreamed of from the start once you’ve received valuable feedback. You may then decide to sell or simply shut down and eliminate the others.

Why not do it? Sometimes what evolves out of our bold, seemingly-crazy steps is just perfect. But you may never know if you stick with the “conventional wisdom” of doing one thing at a time. For some of us design-minded, integrated-thinking, empathetic/symphonic souls (a la Daniel H. Pink’s A Whole New Mind), forcing us into a box of “shoulds” is like forcing a square peg into a round hole. I lose my mind when I have to do only one thing, and I often wonder how many of us similar souls are out there?

I welcome your thoughts, and would love dialogue on this, as it applies to work, life, and general wellbeing. This of course, includes reasons I should get myself into therapy poste haste…

Anaezi Modu
Founder, ReBrand
http://www.rebrand.com
Recognizing the world's most effective brand transformations. Now accepting entries for the 2009 ReBrand 100 Global Awards Deadline: postmark September 24, 2008 and late entry by October 8

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1 Comments

  • paige arnof-fenn

    I am convinced that every successful entrepreneur would be on Ritalin today if they were in grade school again. The same things that allow us to juggle lots of priorities competing for our attention and limited resources are the basic survival skills in the new economy. The days of linear activities are over, we live in a highly networked world now so you have to be able to process data & information coming at you from all directions. There are times to focus selectively & times to multitask. Find a system that works for you and enjoy the ride!