Focusing Effectively with Bill Gates

Focusing Effectively with Bill Gates

Focusing is not just deciding what to do, but just as importantly what not to do.

Specifically focusing on what to stop doing, and what not to start.

With so many problems to solve, so many parts to improve, and so many opportunities to capitalize on, deciding what and who to focus your limited attention on can be a really tough decision.

There are three enabling conditions that allow us to make this tough decisions simpler and easier.

1. Have a SINGLE GOAL

The 1st enabling condition to make this tough decision simpler and easier, is to have a SINGLE GOAL. You can use it to decide, of all the many things and people that demand or could benefit from your attention and available budget, what and who, will really help you make meaningful progress towards your goal.

2. Be Brutally Honest

Be brutally honest with yourself in judging which of the MANY things you are or can do that won’t help, or will help only a little. You have to stop these or not start them.

3. Use High-leverage Problems

How do you find the FEW things that can help a LOT? The more AMBITIOUS your single goal, the easier it is to find the FEW high-leverage problems that solving, or changing, will make meaningful progress towards your goal.

As Bill Gates says, decide on your SINGLE AMBITIOUS GOAL, and FOCUS only on those FEW high-leverage changes that can enable you to achieve it asap.

How do we pick one goal?

Selecting a single goal, when there are multiple goals we would love to achieve is also hard. The best advice I got on this was from my mentor, Dr. Eli Goldratt. He suggested that I select the one goal, that if I achieve it, will also help me achieve the other goals I care about.

For example, we all have want to be happy, healthy and “wealthy” (having enough money to not have to worry about it). So which should I focus on?
In my case, as is probably the case for many entrepreneurs and other purpose-driven people, by doing what I really love doing, it contributes to me being healthy and happy. For me, focusing mainly on being healthy or being happy, will not have the same positive impact on the other two.

What did you think of this article? Share your thoughts with me on social media. If you want to read more like this check out last weeks post about Overcoming the Fear that Rules them All.

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