The best tools are simple, beautiful and functional. A good tool or idea feels great as soon as you start working with it. There’s a rightness to things that work well. Design is a process of figuring out how to make something work and developing a design is about discovering the rightness of an idea or a process.
There is a joy in using the right tool for the job – it is designed for that purpose and is satisfying to use. A good quality tool is another few steps higher on the satisfaction scale – rough builder types will look at a good tool and remark this bloody thing is a “joy to use” unable to contain their enthusiasm for a well made tool. Things that work well are things that focus and do what they are supposed to do.
Your mind is the same as that hammer – if we direct our energy and enthusiasm we can get amazing things done.
Doing one thing is the key to being able to do better. Conversely, most modern productivity tools and the life hacking movement are about increasing bandwidth and throughput, not quality or refining ideas and projects. Doing one thing means making a decision on what’s important to you right now and doing that until you’ve done it properly. It means making decisions. It means doing less, but doing better.
The thing we all need to get is that it’s impossible to do the lot so don’t try. It’ll make you sick, sad and demotivated. Latch onto one thing at a time and make that your thing for right now. Focus on that until it’s done.
Reflecting my scattershot approach during the work day, I also collected hobbies like they are going out of fashion. Now I have a few things which I do that I can spend the time on and get good at and the rest, well, the rest is for someone else. I actually got offered a boat just a couple of weeks ago, and turning it down felt like I was turning down a fantastic opportunity and something of immense value, but what I was actually doing was choosing to invest my energy in the areas of my life that matter to me, not another distraction.
So whether it’s at home, or at work, Lack of focus kills your ability to make the one thing perfect – or at least amazing. Making things amazing should be the benchmark we all agree to. It makes you happier, makes the work more satisfying and delights people when they experience working with you or your product.
So today, do one thing, but do it as well as you humanly can. That’s my plan for the day.