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How to Focus While Jumping from Project to Project

keep focusEntrepreneurs are notorious for having short attention spans. One day, you might find a business idea intriguing and captivating. You might work on it for a couple weeks or a couple months, but then something else comes along. This other opportunity looks incredibly tantalizing, so you jump on that project as well. Pretty soon you’re juggling half a dozen different balls, wondering which one’s going to drop first.

There’s nothing wrong with jumping from project to project. In fact, having multiple projects at once is a fantastic way to find good opportunities. MySpace was originally just one of a dozen projects the founders were working on. It happened to take off, so they dropped everything else and worked on MySpace.

Facebook was the same. Mark Zuckerberg started Synapse Media Player, CourseMatch and Facemash, among many other projects, before starting and sticking with “The Facebook.”

The #1 Rule of Jumping from Project to Project

The only problem with jumping from project to project is that you don’t actually get things done. If you have the habit of always chasing the newest shiniest idea, you’ll never actually get products and services out into the world. If you don’t get things out into the world, you never get real world feedback on what works and what doesn’t work.

The golden rule of jumping from project to project is simple: always produce. Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator and investor in Reddit, Air BnB and Dropbox, explained this concept perfectly in his article on How to Do What You Love.

It’s okay to jump from project to project, as long as you get something out into the world for each of your projects. Don’t chase the next new thing just because it’s more exciting. Instead, commit to producing something for every project you take on.

Get it Launched, Even if it’s Not Grade A

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get attached to creating perfect products. That’s especially true if your name’s on it. It’s as if you’re putting your reputation out to the world, through your product.

That kind of entrepreneurial perfectionism can kill projects faster than any competitor can. If you take too long to get something launched, you’re just leaving room for someone else to fill the gap in the market first. If Bill Gates had waited until Windows was perfect to launch, the whole world would be on Apple computers today.

You can have one project going at a time or twenty. It doesn’t matter. As long as you have a solid foundation for each project you’re involved in, as long as you produce  for each project, then by all means jump from project to project. Wait until something “hits big” and really resonates with your market. Then pour your attention and energy into that one thing. In order to hit that cord that really resonates with your audience however, you have to get something out into the world.

HOW MANY PROJECTS ARE YOU TRYING TO WORK ON AND HOW DO YOU THINK THIS WILL HELP YOU? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND SHARE THIS ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND GOOGLE+

 

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

23 comments

  1. I was struggling with this quite a bit a few months back and still kinda fall back to it every once in a while. I have to constantly remind myself to stay focused.

    • Thanks Joshu, I have massive ADHD, in fact I joke that it is HD-ADHD. I usually have 10-20 projects going at once. This is why I wanted to share this as it will help every entrepreneur out there. – Sean Donahoe

  2. I find this comfortling. Everyone says work on one project at a time. But at the same time they say have mulitple streams of income. I am a writer and when I am working on articles I usually have several going at one time. Thanks for telling us we are not crazy and can make it work.

    • Focusing on one project can help many people. However, if you are a creative person or have many things that need to be done, like many entrepreneurs, we all have to juggle projects. Just know that each step is progress… But we also have to not avoid the tasks we don’t want to do by jumping to another project to avoid it. So, know what needs to be done, do it and move on to what needs to be done next. – Sean

  3. I’ve always struggled with this for a number of years. Having multiple ideas for products services, without ever actually getting anything done. Finally, I was able to complete one dea and that helped me move on quickly to the next idea. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Work on project, make money online business is difficult to much information online to many courses the promises but not one give you.. what do you need a guide to follow step by step, is very difficult to focus on something, what noting is work any more, be a couch maybe is what do you do and you like, but I don’t know what o said about this topic… thanks for the article, sorry for my writing 🙂

    • No problem LJ and you are right… Info overload is very common. So, try this. As I just mentioned to Barry, unsubscribe from all emails that are not providing value and focus on proven marketing methods (Many of them described in IMSC here and in our training programs, etc) Focus on just one or two projects. Push them and adapt them until you see success. Don’t let ANYTHING distract you from that. Learn by doing and even if you fail, you have learned… So you adapt, and keep pushing… 🙂

      Make sure you join our FREE Kickstart program as we share a very powerful business model anyone can use over a 6-Module program. Very powerful stuff that may help you get on course 🙂 – Sean

  5. I’m struggling with this right now. I spend the majority of my time going through emails!

    • Here is one thing I do. I get 1000s of emails a day… I setup many folders to prioritize them and I unsubscribe from EVERY list that does not provide value. I recommend this to every entrepreneur. Too many distractions will sap your time worse than any other thing in your business day. I also put limits on my instant messaging, text messaging and anything else that is going to knock me off course. I also don’t take unscheduled calls… It is amazing how much extra time you will have in a day. – Sean

  6. The fear of failing with a project is often greater than the desire to get it completed. Adding to that, software and marketing products come out so thick and fast, that each new one seems to be a shorter, more effective method to achieve better success with your project, than previous one’s. So, you move your focus again, not getting the first project completed. It’s a revolving trap that is eventually very overwhelming and time consuming. I do believe however, it is better to have a number of projects on the go giving you a chance to try different methods and vehicles to reach your ultimate goal of having the best monetary success. I have just started to produce Mindmaps of all my projects and it really helps to visually maintain a better overall picture of what is going on but also, enables you then to break all the various elements down into bite sized pieces and be more manageable. You can then just decide to tackle one project at at time without taking your eye off the big picture and your overall goal is always in view.

    • Keeping your eye on the long-term goals is ALWAYS very important. One thing we do here at IMSC and in our other businesses is know that all the projects are working towards one destination and are all part of a much larger plan. When you have that final goal in mind and know that everything you do is moving you closer then it forces you to focus on what is important and prioritize accordingly – Sean

  7. Brilliant stuff Sean. Exactly what I need. I reckon I have your HD-ADHD too. So it’s ok to jump from project to project as long as there is trackibg and each project is producing results?

    • Absolutely, as long as you are producing results and not procrastinating (Something I used to be very guilty of) then you are rocking forward…

  8. Thank you Sean for this sound advice for people like myself. There is a lot I purchased but had not really worked a single project to be successful online. Still in the process of learning how to implement what is taught in all the tutorials of products I bought. This article will help me focus and try to finish a project. Thanks again for sharing.

    Bless

  9. Here’s my big little secret. Whenever you have multiple projects on the go at the same time, make sure that you use a task tracking software like Astrid or something similar in order to manage your “thoughts”.

    Whenever I have an idea I’ll plug it into my task tracker and tag it as the domain and then when I get around to it, I get around to it. Same goes for “Must Do” things or website polish. Heck, I even schedule a recurring task to check each website every week and record any trends.

    It’s literally the anti-ADHD solution because you don’t need to worry about doing anything in any particular order and you can prioritize things depending on what your priorities happen to be for that day, but you’ll at least see yourself making some progress.

    • That is a great suggestion. One I was going to talk about in another post. I use a few tools such as Producteev, EverNote, Active Colab (Project management and outsourcer management too) and a HUGE stack of notepads. Setting schedules for “recurring” tasks and using a live calendar for reminders (ICal, Google Calendars) helps a lot as I have them synced to my IPad, Cell Phones, etc. It takes time to get used to this kind of thing and I was resistant at first but now they keep me so organized and productive it’s invaluable. Thanks for the fantastic feedback. – Sean

  10. I’ve finally gotten all of my projects together on a list along with which tasks I need to complete to keep each of them moving forward. That’s a big step for me, one I should have done long ago.

    I’m working on 4 projects at the moment with my main focus on one. Once I get that set up it will require very little attention and I can shift to the next one as my main project.

    I also keep a list of new projects I want to tackle once all of these are on semi-autopilot.

    OK, off I go, thanks Sean!

  11. Hello Sean,

    You’re absolutely right; when a project reaches a stage that can be sold then start to sell it. That pays for further development and provides a version 2 that can be sold again to the same market. Potential buyers don’t know the product will develop further and even if they do expect that to happen the product will still be bought because it satisfies an immediate need.

    Some years ago I was involved in marketing a scientific product that was at the very start of development. Early sales enabled us to have a big development budget and within a few years we had secured over 80% of the worlds sales for that type of product. Without the early sales we could not have achieved that.

    Toby.

  12. Hi Sean.

    I have found that the projects I work on that does not cost me any money is usually the ones I stop working on. When I do things such as plugin development and I outsource the coding it is actually the people I gave the task to that is forcing me to focus on the deadlines. I think every project have certain stages which interest different people. You will most likely tend to focus well while you are trying to figure it out and make it work, but as soon as you believe you have achieved, or understand it, it might be that you loose pace.

    I find that I struggle in the middle of a project. I get going and then get it up and running. Then I loose interest. If someone else can then continue with my instructions, I will pick up interest again to the end. When you do everything yourself it is almost like designing your own website. By the time you are done you do not like it anymore from getting so used to it, and want to do it differently. I think a bit of outsourcing at the right moment will get a person more commited and help through the slumps to get something out there.

  13. Awesome post Sean. I am guilty of having multiple projects happening at the same time as well. Some projects give me yields, while some are projects I took up to ‘learn’ and experiment. So as you will then understand and resonate with, it got me into overwhelm mode sometimes.

    I still run into this problem from time to time, but reminds myself that I do not have so much time to juggle everything and really need to prioritize the ones that can produce more for me at this moment.

    Great post again!

    – Lester

  14. I like all the comments. I have similar problems. Starting projects or having ideas and not putting them into use. As the saying goes, procrastination is the thief of time. I will deffinately
    follow your ideas and put them them into action. Thank you for sharing.

    May GOD bless you all.

  15. Morning Sean,

    You hit me right where I live. However my jumping is more fueled by which idea can get me to income faster. I will generally invest two to three months in a project, full time, and if it doesn’t start producing income I start looking for something else. I have been at this IM thing full-time for three years with only a part time job to fill in some holes. I need relatively quick confirmation that some measure of financial viability is possible to keep me motivated.

    When I first started the Kick Start Program, I was also working a CPA program using Facebook and Google Search ads to generate traffic. I rendered good information, but left my coffers empty. The project basically self terminated due to lack of funds. I can see where it will be another stream of income in the future, but for now I need funds to get that to the next level.

    To make a long story short, my jumping right now is due to financial concerns and refusal to give up more than chasing the shiny new project or concept. I actually look forward to getting to the stage you describe because it takes money to do it and that will mean that I am finally succeeding in this business at some level.

    Good post and article reference though. Keep up the good work. Thanks for being there!

    • Finding that tipping point for a “RESULT” that you can ramp up is always the key. That key comes from following a proven system. No-one should ever jump into full-time internet marketing without having a proven gameplan. I see a lot of people fall into this trap of the promises of “EASY RICHES” only to get disheartened when $100 bills don’t fly out of the DVD drive as these other guys promise in their over-hyped videos. Making money online requires a learning curve, dedication and persistence and once it clicks, it becomes a flywheel and everything keeps moving forwards.

      The best way is to start “Part-Time” but dedicate yourself to moving forwards. Treat it like a business or a second job where you are the boss. Success will come with dedication, persistence, a good plan of action and actually taking focused action…

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