Do fewer things better

We live in a society that encourages doing LOTS of things and sharing them on Social as a measure of success. This puts so much pressure on us. Instead of enjoying the process, we focus on doing LOTS of things; the more, the better.

I must admit that I love to multitask and work on many projects and ideas in parallel – is it wrong? No. Is it inefficient? Yes! In this post, I’m sharing with you how I developed this feeling and what I’m currently trying to do to fix it.

Focus on the long term game

Focus on the long term game

I do experience FOMO (fear of missing out) if I say NO to new opportunities, since you never know what will happen in the future if I had said yes. However, this is a double-edged sword because it encourages me to prioritize the short term game instead of the long term game.

Over the years, my responsibilities at work, as well as personal projects, have grown. Here are some examples of my regular day-to-day occupations: doing 8 hours or more at work, recording and editing YouTube videos for my channel, launching personal projects (like Streamradiox or Developers in Depth), writing articles, etc.

As you can tell, I don’t stop, and while that keeps me alive and excited, I have the feeling that 30% or more of the things that I do won’t help me directly in the long term game.

Do fewer things

Matrix of priorities

At the end of last year, I took five days off to go a trip with myself, and came up with a prioritized list of what I wanted to be and what my priorities were. As I result, this year I’m focusing most of my time on building personal projects like StreamRadiox or Developers In Depth.

So my suggestion is for you to list the top 3 or 4 things you want to do, and other things that you like. Then rank them based on how important they are for you.

  1. Health.
  2. Independence.
  3. Teaching people coding.
  4. Moving to the US or somewhere in Europe (which I discussed in “Thinking moving to Berlin”)

Say no more often

Steve jobs saying no to 1000 things

“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."

Since the beginning of this year, I started to say no to more opportunities not directly aligned to my long term game (which are to build companies or teach people about Software Engineering). I must admit that I still need to improve on this, but hey, I said no to a couple of great opportunities!

To be comfortable saying no, I find it useful first to define who you are and what you want. It’s then straightforward to assess any new opportunity based on those “values” and the long-term game. For example, this year I got more opportunities to do public speaking, but I said no to most of those opportunities, since my focus is now on building projects.

I’m going through a personal process to keep defining and rearranging my priorities. I’ll keep you updated if I can keep myself on track :)

Let me know on Twitter how you are coping with multitasking.

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I'm Jorge Ferreiro and I've launched more than four side products and worked in tech companies like Amazon and Eventbrite.
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