This post is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, known for FASO Artist Websites, the leading provider of professional artist websites, the $25,000+ BoldBrush Painting Competition and the free daily art marketing newsletter, FineArtViews. As a self-proclaimed “art fanatic”, Clint delights that BoldBrush’s downtown San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office. You can connect with Clint on Twitter, Facebook or his personal blog at clintavo.com
Almost everyone I’ve ever met would be well-served by spending more time thinking about what to focus on. It is much more important to work on the right thing than it is to work many hours. Most people waste most of their time on stuff that doesn’t matter. Once you have figured out what to do, be unstoppable about getting your small handful of priorities accomplished quickly. I have yet to meet a slow-moving person who is very successful. – Sam Altman, How to Be Successful
I read this a while back and I can’t shake the feeling that this is an extremely important idea to internalize and practice.
We live in a multi-tasking “more is better” culture. But, increasingly, I believe that is a dangerous lie. In reality, less is better. Less enables slack. Less enables you to think through and focus on the right things, rather than simply trying to do more things. Less enables perspective. As I look back on my biggest accomplishments, they’ve all come from being able to tune out the world, get into a zone, and deeply focus on one important thing…for hours, days, or even weeks at a time.
Do you know how industrial managers improve the production output of a factory? They reduce or limit the amount of work in process. That seems counter-intuitive but it’s true. (Read The Goal if you’re interested in this subject).
This is an important idea for artists. The most important thing for artists is to focus on your artwork: On producing it, on improving it, on mastering your craft. It’s critical for serious artists to design their life in a way that maximizes your studio time.
The revelation I’ve had about this topic, though is that this idea, that Focus is a Force Multiplier, applies not just to individuals, but also to teams. As we strive to improve our work here at BoldBrush, this idea of being extremely aware of “spending more time thinking about what to focus on” is an important one.
Sam says, “Most people waste most of their time on stuff that doesn’t matter.” Imagine what happens when a team does that. If a team of six people spends most of their time on things that don’t matter, that’s incredibly harmful to the long term prospects of an organization. It would be possible to run a company sideways or backwards for months, just by focusing on the wrong things. Looking back, I can see times we’ve done that in the past.
But, if you reverse that idea, and imagine a team of six people that spends most of their time on things that do matter, on the the things that are, in fact, the most important priorities, then, that team will truly be unstoppable and will run circles around competitors and larger companies.
And that, to me, is a key principle in building a world-class team.
BoldBrush/FASO Founder & Art Fanatic
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