The other day my dad asked me why do I want to split my time learning a number of different things rather than just focus on one, maybe two. This got me thinking about why and how I would. But the answer to why is because I have multiple interests, and if not now, then when?
My dad’s point of view is valid, however. It’s true that to master anything, one must spend a large amount of time focussed on learning that one thing. A good book on this subject is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
Can anyone get good at multiple things at the same time? There are a couple of parts to this, which I believe you can follow if you have a lot on your plate like I do.
The most important piece of this is the schedule.
There are a few key things a weekly schedule helps you accomplish. It allows you to prioritize what you need to work on while allowing you the freedom to schedule across a whole week. It also shows you what your commitments are so you don’t double-book, which in turn gives you the power to say no to things.
I make my schedule by putting down my obligations first, like work and family, then things that are not necessarily obligations, but non-negotiable— fitness, personal time— followed by projects like learning Italian and guitar, writing, etc.
My wife and I painted an entire wall in the office with dry-erase paint so we have a flood-to-ceiling white board.
The schedule also shows me how much free time I have so I can do whatever I want. I spend most of it working, but it’s nice to see how much I actually have.
See, everything we have to do in life doesn’t take every minute of the day every day. For instance, work is typically 9am-6pm for most people. If fitness is important, schedule time before or after, or on lunch and then eat at your desk. I used to do this when I was the Director of New Media at an ad agency.
When we’re in school, we have a schedule of classes, then a schedule for activities after school, like teams or jobs or homework, plus social life, and we seemed to get almost everything done. These days, instead of school, we have work, or or if we’re entrepreneurs and artists, our careers. Then there’s time for everything else.
And the weekly schedule can change depending on what is going to take priority that week. And that’s okay because the way to master something is by taking massive consistent action over time. That means I don;t even have to schedule things every week if there are bigger priorities. But even doing something like doing an Italian lesson ever other week is better than never. Sure it will take longer to master, but if you’re okay with that, than great.
For me, I don’t need to master the guitar. I just want to play well enough so I can enjoy it. I’m not going on the road any time soon. And as long as I can hold a conversation in Italian, I’ll be happy.
Remember, my main priority is PimpMyPooch.com, and making that a success.
So can I master multiple things this year, or at least get to the point where I won’t embarrass myself? The answer, I believe, is yes. But we’ll see in 320 days, won’t we?