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On Focus

I have a terrible weakness: I am all over the &%$#¤%& place.

I do not know when it started. I do not know if it is due to the fact that my degree was in telecommunications and I feel I have been catching up ever since. I do not know if it is my passion and excitement for the trade that drives me and makes me feel uncontrollably drawn to any new shiny thing that appears on the scene. I do not have the slightest idea.

The fact is that, before I even notice, I find myself reading 37 books at the same time, or working on 6 side projects, or trying to learn Swedish, Italian and to play the violin at the same time. This, of course, tends to end up with pretty catastrophical results (no, really?), with a 1% percent success, tons of unfinished projects and sometimes a deep sense of underachievement - actually that last one it’s not really true, I’m a wonder at looking at the bright side of things, that 1%… hell yeah!.

Anyhow, know your own weaknesses they say, and so I have learned. Through the last year I have been working on improving my focus, on reducing input flow lest it drowns me:

  • Pruning my RSS feeds: Keeping up to date with what is going on in the community is great. But when keeping up seems more work than pleasure, when you wake up in the morning with 1000+ articles that you feel you have to read, when you have no time to produce because you spend all the time consuming the voice of the Internet, then it is definitely not worthy. Fare the well infinite RSS feeds.
  • Reducing books to a maximum of 3: I am aaaalmost there, my goal is to read a technical book, a best practices book and a wild card ^_^.
  • Learning to say NO to myself and others. Still working on this as well, last “Yes” attack materialized in a beautiful violin which I do not know when I will have the time for (after learning Swedish I have told Malin and myself).
  • Making small projects of every endeavour with specific goals: For instance, I want to learn 200 Swedish words a week, instead of I want to improve my Swedish. This increases my focus, lets me visualize what I want to achieve and since it is measurable and something I can complete, it gives me that nice feeling one gets when finishing something successfully.

And my latest addition starting this month:

Focusing on a single side project per month

Enter the Barbaric Monthly with the following rules:

  1. Focus on one main technology
  2. Produce/refine something by the end of the month
  3. Write interesting blog posts about it ^_^

August theme is ASP.NET MVC 4. But remember… focus Jaime… temptation lies just around the corner xD.


Jaime González García

Written by Jaime González García , Dad, Husband, Front-end software engineer, UX designer, amateur pixel artist, tinkerer and master of the arcane arts. You should follow him on Twitter where he shares useful stuff! (and is funny too).Jaime González García