Are you spreading yourself too thin?

Learning from Warren Buffet and David Allen

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Since committing to spending 30 days writing an article everyday, this is the fourth day in a row I have found it very hard to find something that I really want to write about. Sure, I’ve had a lot going on, but I always do.

I said my focus is on quantity. But if I’m not happy with what I’m writing, is there much to be gained from writing it anyway?

I have a habit of taking on a lot of things. While this can lead to a lot of ‘accomplishments’ and a well-decorated CV, it often prevents me from doing much meaningful work in any one area. Writing is just another of the many commitments I have made. Perhaps if I cut out other things to spend more time focussing on it, it wouldn’t feel as forced and I wouldn’t struggle as much with this daily writing challenge.

I remember hearing a story that Warren Buffet’s airline pilot once shared.

The pilot was asking Buffett about how do decide what to do with his career.

Buffett asked him to write down his top 25 career goals.

He then asked him to circle his top 5 goals.

The pilot assumed that he would focus on the top 5 while maintaining the remaining 20.

But Buffett told him “No. You must avoid that remaining 20 at all costs. You must give them no attention until you have achieved your top 5.”

This story highlights the importance of ruthless elimination. I just applied this to my own life and decided to cut out some very cool projects that I was excited about.

In ‘Getting Things Done’ , David Allen recommends having a ‘Someday/Maybe’ List for things you might like to do but don’t have the time to write now. You may have some really cool and exciting ideas on here which will act as a source of motivation for you to achieve your primary aims.

By combining these two techniques, I feel much more ready to focus on my priorities going forward. If you are finding you aren’t achieving enough depth in the areas you want to, I would recommend doing the same.

Data Scientist + Junior Doctor in London, Cambridge medicine grad, striving to improve healthcare through technology and education.

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