The cost of losing focus is massive. It is bigger than the potential upside of any open door.
The problem is I hate saying no to things. I think of everything I’m invited into as an opportunity, something that could one day have a great payoff. I hate closing doors. I’d rather keep them open. I have convinced myself that this strategy is smart. After all, it is good to be diversified, to have a large portfolio of opportunities.
But there is a cost in leaving a door open. Every open door requires that part of my attention gets pulled in that direction, to watch it, to think about it, to oil it when it squeaks, to make sure unwanted critters don’t come in.
It is easy to think it doesn’t cost anything to keep doors open, but the truth is it costs something very serious, it costs focus.
Focus is one of the most valuable things I have. When I have focus I’m productive and effective. When I have focus I sleep well. When I’m focused on projects during the day I can switch my focus to my family at night. These things are invaluable.
The opposite of having focus is being divided in attention. When my attention is divided I’m trying to pay attention to too many things. I am less productive. I wake up in the middle of the night processing something I’ve neglected to pay attention to during the day. I try to solve problems in the evenings when I should be present with my family or friends.
Closing doors is the best way to regain focus.
Jonathan Collins resides in Portland, OR with his wife and two sons. He is a co-founder of Epipheo, Sincerely Truman and The Bible Project. He enjoys turning ideas into realities, writing, speaking and breakfast burritos.