Do Few Things Well

On March 21, 2015

Whether we write, design, or draw, we want to create things that'll make everyone turn their heads and praise our work.

But while we want to be the best at what we do, we often act exactly opposite to what it takes to become the best at anything.

One of the mistakes we make when we start out in our career is to try to learn everything all at once. We want to be a good writer, a good programmer, a good designer, a good marketer, all at once.

While there is nothing wrong to learn new skills from time to time, but we limit the best use of our talents when we spread our day doing multiple things.

Let me share my own example.

Earlier, when I decided to make iphone apps, I spent most of my time every day to learn all the things related to creating a successful app or game. I tried to learn everything - writing good code, learning design, learning marketing, learning animation, learning to draw. Add to that, I also wrote articles on two blogs, and spent time learning about blogging and writing. Can you guess what happened because of all that?

Every day, I felt so overwhelmed with all the things I had to learn and do that I failed to produce any thing of value on most days. And while I was trying to learn everything, I failed to gain mastery in any thing. That's a mistake which cost me my time, which I could have spent in mastering at least one skill.

I don't want you to make the same mistake.

Now, I have limited myself to do few things only. Because while I know if I try to do five different things each day, I may, at best, be good at them all, but if I can focus myself to do only one thing with full dedication then I can not only be good, but maybe become the best someday. That's the hope I give myself and that's what I try to do every day.

Now, I only focus on getting better at one thing that's the most important to me - my writing. And while I do spend another major part of each day in reading and meditating, but when it comes to creating something, my main focus is to do that only with my writing. That means no programming, no designing, no drawing, no marketing, but only writing and creating value with it.

And only when I have finished my work for each day, do I shift my attention to learn other things. Though I fail to stick to this routine sometimes, I still make sure I write something every day, even if I don't publish it.

This not only helps me direct my focus on the most valuable thing to me, it also helps me to produce my best work, and learn and grow at a higher rate every day.

And as I have few things to do, I also have few things to worry about.

I have simplified my work, which automatically simplifies my life, too.

I can only say the same thing to you, and that's to do a few things to the best of your ability. Instead of doing a dozen different things each day, limit yourself to master in one, or two things at the most.

You gain mastery only when you focus all your energies on a single thing - the thing which is most important to you.

It's easy to move from one thing to another throughout the day. It's hard to keep your focus only on few things. But the speed at which you learn and master a skill is higher when you spend the biggest part of your day practicing only that one skill.

Make it a habit to work only on few things each day. And if you still want to learn different things, you can always do them when you have finished your most important work for the day, or when you need a break from your regular work.

Fix in your mind what you want to gain mastery in, and then work on it every day without fail.

Our brains have limited capacity. Our body can only do so much work in a day before it gets tired. It's your job to make sure that you focus all your energies to master a few things only, so that you can create the best work you possibly can.

Thank you for reading this article.

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