In college, my screenwriting professor said that down in LA, every other person has a screen play in their back pocket. In these days of the hipster generation, I’d say that every other person has a startup, a side-project, or even a business that they’re working on in their spare time. And in tech communities like Seattle, I’d say that’s every person.
Ideas are everywhere. And the Internet makes it so easy to turn a ‘hobby’ into a business.
Are you a habitual side project starter?
You are full of ideas. You look at the world and problems that need fixing. And you know exactly how to do it.
You think up new projects and jump on them. When you start, it’s like you’ve caught a fever — you brainstorm, purchase the domain name, snag the Twitter handle, and tell everyone you know about what you’re working on. You can’t be stopped.
But then it happens again. You get a new idea and it’s better than the one before. You place your current project on hold or abandon it entirely.
The cycle repeats itself.
Question, are you jumping from project to project, because:
- You haven’t found that ‘one’ project that you really, really, really want to focus on?
- You believe that you can work on every single project at the same time (or switch as you follow your folly)?
- You don’t have the confidence that any of your ideas are ‘good enough’ to succeed?
Stop juggling side projects. Commit.
Projects, like goals, are most successful when you focus on one or two at a time. That way you can make an honest, full-blown effort at seeing one of those ideas through before choosing to go all the way or jump ship.
You need to specialize and focus on one project at a time. It’s why top companies focus their entire business on one thing, either having the best price, the best quality product, or the best service than anyone else in their industry. It’s why Zappos is known for great customer service, Southwest Airlines for price, and Apple for product (though the fan boys do help).
If you juggle too many projects at one time, you’re bound to drop one or keep them in the air at half mast. And multitasking may be bad for your brain.
If you’re constantly starting new projects, stop. Pick one and start working on it. Follow your curiosity and see where it goes. It might be everything you hoped it would be or it might be an utter failure. If it’s the latter, then scrap it and move on to the next one.
You may be surprised by what happens when you focus.
Photo credit: ryantron.