Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Saying No

"People think focus means saying 'yes' to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying 'no' to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things we have done." -  Steve Jobs

As a new father for the third time, I'm struggling with this concept all over again. As always, there's thousands of things that I'd like to do, but only limited time in which to do them. This means that I have to be ever more strict about the things that I do allow to take up my attention. Gone are the times when I allowed myself to absently draw or paint. No longer are the lazy afternoons on the sofa where I leaf through the newspaper and/or magazines. This doesn't mean that I'm going to cut out all creative playtime - open time you give to yourself to pursue your interests (Julia Cameron calls this time "filling the well") - but it does mean I'm trying to be more vigilant about how I spend my time. I'm trying to notice when i'm absent-mindedly browsing the internet or reading news I don't really care about. Rather, i'm trying to focus my free time on one or two things that I want to do well. At the moment, that's running (specifically, training for the Burlington Marathon), taking care of my kids, and finishing up a lot of the outstanding home improvement projects I have on my "honey do" list. When the marathon is run and the major projects are completed, i'm going to move on to other goals, but never more than two or three at a time so that those activities benefited from a sharp focus rather than a dilettante-like grazing interest.

What do you think? Anything in particular you're focusing on right now?

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