Focus Drives Momentum: Writing 45,000 Words in January

Focus drives momentum

I think I’ll write 45,000 words in January. Focus drives momentum.

I work best when I can be fully focused on one thing, or maybe one small set of things.

Unfortunately, much like my desk, my agenda can become cluttered. Also much like my desk, not everything on the agenda should be there.

Focus on everything is focus on nothing

I launched my business in earnest in July, about six months ago. I started by focusing on one on one coaching, but I also had my podcast. I then ramped up my Michael’s Motivation videos to be daily and shared on multiple platforms. I drove to build my email list. I launched a group coaching program. I created a course. I started a daily motivation podcast. I organized a virtual conference. And so much more.

In my to do list, I color code the various projects. I bought a set of ten colored pens… and I had to double up on some of the colors because there weren’t enough pens for all the projects. This perhaps should have been a sign.

This would be ambitious growth if I had a team, but as just one person, I found it overwhelming and distracting. When you try to do everything, you end up doing nothing.

This is doubly true for me. The way my mind works (likely as part of having ADHD) is that once there is too much in front of me, I overload and shut down.

Early on, my business took off. I was signing up a client a week. By October that had stopped. By December, attrition had taken over.

I overwhelmed myself, lost my confidence, and lost my edge in gaining clients.

My coaching instincts are as strong as ever, and when I work with folks, the feedback I get remains very positive. The time came, however, to coach myself.

Half the projects on my agenda weren’t even making any progress. They were just there, draining mental energy and occasionally time, but not doing anything for me or anyone else. Just sitting there like an old folder on a desk that should have been filed months ago.

I realized that, being so overloaded, it was time for a reset. I needed to simplify down to a short list of priorities that I could focus on to remove the pressure from my executive functioning.

Learning from the past

In December of 2006, I was removed from leadership in the Come Again Players, a Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast that I had co-founded. In retrospect, I had brought it on myself, but that is a lesson I would only learn in hindsight. At the time, it was devastating. It wasn’t just the loss of position, it was the feeling that people I thought were my friends really were not. In retrospect, I brought it on myself and it was one of my most instructive experiences, but at the time it totally knocked me on my butt.

I needed to refocus. In the month of January I set a writing goal and wrote a novel (which I subsequently lost somehow). The process of focusing on one specific target based on activity which I could control was very powerful. I was able to regain momentum and launch into the year.

December 2020 has not been nearly as shattering as 2006 was. Actually, it’s been pretty good, but I still need to regain that momentum. I will draw on the experience of 2007 and the power of that one focused goal to bring myself focus as I come into 2021.

I am setting a goal of 45,000 words between now and January 31st. I will write a few dozen blog articles and work on the book on problem solving which I have half written.

You can expect to see me sharing quite a few blog articles over the next five weeks, and I welcome feedback on them as well suggestions for topics you’d like to see me cover. 45,000 words is a lot of words, and writing prompts are always valuable.

As I am doing this, my apprentice Kendra Schou will be collating and editing the writing into a book to be released in the Spring.

That’s 696 words down. 44,304 to go!

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