This is a guest post by Jonathan Haye of Clarity Impulse.
Enthusiasm. A word that makes me cringe.
I’m always dazzled at the number of projects people start but never actually finish. Often, people start under the impulse of excitement and confidence, only to abandon the goals they had set in a couple of months, weeks, or even days.
I remember buying a piano, thinking learning would be fun, and determined to know how to play Erik Satie’s Gnossienne n°1 after a month’s practice. What a waste of time and money. Not that it isn’t feasible, but the drive to do it vanished after a couple of hours.
When everyday’s perspiration starts eating away motivation, there’s only so much you can do to carry on. More often than not, the real question is, for how long are you going to keep this up?
Becoming an expert at something requires a lot more than motivation. To me, it’s more about rigor, dedication, and sheer determination. People don’t become experts because they’re motivated. People become experts because they carry on when motivation fades, when others would have abandoned.
People become experts because they have laser-sharp focus, some kind of inner rage that keeps them tearing through work and learning at meteoric rates. Sure, enthusiasm is definitely a plus, but think about the money and time you’ve wasted when starting projects under impulse. So the question is, how focused are you really?
I’d like to share with you a couple of neat tips I’ve learned over the years to stay focused and consistent when I undertake a new project:
By planning, I don’t mean structuring your tasks and work beforehand. I mean asking yourself the right questions: are you really determined? What are you trying to achieve by undertaking this new project? Do you feel you can keep up your efforts?
You have to be able to honestly evaluate the amount of time and energy you’re willing to give to the project. Factor thrill out of the equation, because more often than not, it’s going to disappear after some time.
These simple questions have saved me a lot of time and money.
2. Being Consistent
When enthusiasm is gone, people tend to procrastinate to avoid doing what they should. When I write a blog post because I have to, I start surfing around and don’t get much writing done. In the end, not only have I not written anything epic (and the readers of this blog deserve nothing less than epic), I’ve also wasted time. Valuable time.
So when you decide it’s time to work, that means it’s time to work. Get it done. Now. It feels incredible when you can just tick something off of your to do list. I know it fuels me to do the other things I have in mind. In the end, it’s the little things, the sweat that makes you proud.
People will recognize you as an expert when they realize the effort it’s taken you to get where you are.
3. Reviewing Your Goals and Work
Part of staying focused is being aware of where you are in relation to your goals. And your goals should be reviewed every time you get closer to them, or if you realize that they are too unrealistic.
How is your work getting you closer to your goals? Are you efficient? What other tactics could you use to improve?
Because essentially, focus is nothing more than this: tailoring your actions to your goals, no matter how hard or irritating it may be. Remember guys, experts are focused.
How about you? What do you do to make sure you complete what you are working on?