“The same energy that you currently spread amongst the many tasks you are now doing, can be focused to put a real, deep, burning, hole right in the center of the one thing you should be doing.” — Patrick Rhone

I come up with a lot of seemingly great ideas. I follow through on none of them. I’m really good at starting projects, but prolific in my inability to complete them.

Because of this, I have a ton of empty folders that parallel raging-red reminders, far overdue whatever arbitrary deadline I’ve set to keep myself “on task”. I’ve had countless text notes containing a few inspired-but-fragmented sentences and dozens of soon-to-expire domains that have never been forwarded beyond their registrar’s landing page.

I get the sense that this is not an uncommon problem.

With so many ideas in their infancy, so many sparks of “creative genius”, surely I could select and nurture one of these gems to the point that I could ship something? Anything?

No.

Instead, I am overcome by the paralysis of choice. If, in some rare instance, my inspiration surpasses my inertia long enough to start something, this victory is short-lived. I become overwhelmed at the enormity of what needs to be done to complete the project. The finish line seems so distant, that any other idea instantly appears more appealing. Soon, well-intentioned deadlines pass, get deferred by a week or two, and pass again.

I lack focus.

“What matters is achievement. Setting SMART goals and getting them done. And the only way to do that is with brutal honesty and relentless focus.” — Ian Patrick Hines

So I decided to tear it all down. I deleted all of it. All the projects in omnifocus. All of the folders and all of the text files and all of the tags. I cancelled all of the domains.

When the dust cleared, I had a blank page. On that page I wrote “Letter One: Focus”.

Some of my favourite things to read arrive in my inbox once a week. Inspired by incredibly smart and creative people like Paul Jarvis, Austin Kleon, and Jack Cheng, I’ve published this first issue of a new weekly newsletter. The letter will ship on Sundays and each will focus on a single topic and will feature an original piece from me and a few links/quotes on the subject. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, something that is worthy of your attention, please follow along. If it doesn’t, you can unsubscribe at any time. I hope you stay.

“And so I’m going through pain, and letting go of many things I love, to make one awesome thing. To give myself the opportunity for reinvention. To put my entire being into one creation, to aim myself unreservedly and with abandon into one spot in the universe.” — Leo Babauta

I’ve had some other ideas for projects since tearing it all down and deciding to write this letter. They are tucked away for now, though. I need to focus my creative energy in a single place in order to get to the finish line.

Focus | May 11, 2014 by James. Looking for more? Check the archive or follow the feed. Want to say hello? Send me an email. Or a beer.