Adii Pienaar is co-founder of WordPress theme shop and ecommerce platform WooThemes.
We live in a time where we are always trying to work more, be more efficient, increase our productivity. We strive to do more, so we get involved in more projects & take on tasks & to do’s that aren’t that important.
Heck, everyone has a side-project these days.
I guess we’ve become so used to diversification. “Don’t put your eggs into one basket,” says your investment manager. So instead of putting more money into AAPL (which has made you good money until now), you find lesser stocks just for the sake of diversification.
This works for financial investments, but not for investments of your time.
In the past 2 years, I’ve made this mistake twice.
First up, I decided that it would be a good idea to diversify my interest (both financial & personal / passion) in WooThemes by creating a new entity, Radiiate (R.I.P.). I wanted it to be an incubator for my other ideas and had a bit of spare cash to invest into that pursuit. I couldn’t keep up though and the mental drain I experienced was just too great. I lost US$250k instead.
Then, in the last couple of years at WooThemes, we’ve become really good at saying “Yes!” to new ideas / feature requests and generally just doing more. We justified it by saying that people wanted these things and we would be able to diversify our interests (I mean – things might just tank one day). This however created such a burden & financial overhead (supporting legacy products that never amounted to much), which has meant that it’s taken quite a few months to cleanse ourselves of that baggage and the bad habits it installed.
The thing is that focus trumps most things in any given situation. We may think we’re good at multi-tasking, but it will never be as efficient / productive / successful as it could be when you focus on doing just one thing. When you’re clear about what you’re working on & what you’re working towards, it becomes exponentially simpler to execute on your vision & plan.
This mindset also has an interesting application within WooThemes: It’s the nature of our business to have multiple products, so we won’t ever just have the one product. But we have however changed our strategy to double-down on the products & revenue channels where we see most traction & growth. So instead of creating more, we’re just doing more with what we already have.
Avoid the “Jack of all trades, Master of none.” mantra, as this not only defocuses & complicates your execution, but it most definitely decreases the quality of your work / products / services.