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A Divided Mind -- (how do you allocate your attention?)

MTBnamja

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Jul 4, 2019
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How many of you guys actively work on more than one project at a time? How do you decide what portion of your attention should be given to each one?

This is something I've been struggling with and having a tough time making a decision on, which is why I'm looking for some input from those of you who built a built a business and then spent time developing a second on the side.

I am in a bit of a unique living situation that has given me a lot of free time. I'm living abroad while my wife teaches English, and I work remotely ~15 hours per week at a pretty good hourly rate. As I said, this gives me a lot of extra time and I don't want to waste this opportunity because I know it's temporary. I left my corporate world 9-5 last year and want to be free from that cubicle life when I return home.

Over the past 6 months I've started a freelance mechanical design business. I have a couple clients, but I coasted for a few month and am now really diving in and making a solid effort to grow my client base. I'm going to be abroad for at least another year, and as I see it, I have three paths forward as far as my business goes.
  • Focus only on the freelance business and put all of my spare time and effort into growing that. (this may be overkill since I have a lot of time to put into it). I know I want to keep freelancing, because this is the most direct path to escaping the office life (even though I'm still trading time for money).
  • Move forward with the freelance business and develop a second strictly online business with greater potential to scale and automate.
  • Continue with the freelance business and design one or two physical products on the side and plan out the business to start when I return home. I'm an engineer and have some inventions, which is why this is appealing to me. It seems that a business with a physical product is more suited to me, but I'm not sure if I want to spend the next year investing my time in something that I am just waiting to do in the future.

I know that I'll learn a lot no matter what, but I also know the value of time and don't want to waste it. Do you recommend dividing up my time into 2 projects, seeing as a have a lot of spare time at the moment?
 

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Vadim26

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Before reading the thread I've asked myself "oh is that the guy who quit engineering job, and started freelancing..?"

I remember reading one of your old threads, friend.
I studied engineering too, and launching a physical product soon.


Ask yourself this:

"In a year, what would you regret not doing the most?"

Option #1, #2, #3

Do exactly that.

In my opinion freelancing will always be there (and your skills), but business and the ideas you have might not be (if you know what I mean).

Cheers.
 
Last edited:

RazorCut

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How many of you guys actively work on more than one project at a time? How do you decide what portion of your attention should be given to each one?
I currently run a construction business which I am winding down in favour of another online business plus I advise several business owners on current and new projects so I am used to being constantly pulled in multiple directions.

I would suggest that you need to start by asking the important questions. Put your needs, wants and desires down in order of importance. Put them in a spreadsheet, a word document, whatever. Discuss them with your wife, take your time. Build a concrete list that is meaningful to you both. A road map for your future.

Next run your work, business ideas and opportunities against that list and see which ones are in harmony with them. Which ones take you closer to your objectives and which ones take you further away. Don't overlook the probabilities for success. If your best fit business idea has little chance of succeeding then it is most likely to railroad you off track and cost you time and money.

Once you have done that it will then become obvious where your focus and attention should be given. There will most likely be compromises in the early stages, for example spending half your week working on bringing in an income. But life is about compromise. As long as you are moving forward towards your objectives logically and with purpose, within your defined plan you will get there. Obviously there will be times when life throws a spanner in the works (I've had several months of them myself recently), but the plan is still there. Navigate around the obstacles course correct and set your compass back in line with your goals.

Don't forget when prioritising to bear in mind Pareto's law, what should you spend your valuable time doing that will make the most impact for the least effort.

For day to day clarity I would suggest you look at @LightHouse Get Shit Done system which you can find here:

 
OP
OP
MTBnamja

MTBnamja

New Contributor
Jul 4, 2019
15
14
14
Before reading the thread I've asked myself "oh is that the guy who quit engineering job, and started freelancing..?"

I remember reading one of your old threads, friend.
I studied engineering too, and launching a physical product soon.


Ask yourself this:

"In a year, what would you regret not doing the most?"

Option #1, #2, #3

Do exactly that.

In my opinion freelancing will always be there (and your skills), but business and the ideas you have might not be (if you know what I mean).

Cheers.

Haha, yeah it's me. This has been on my mind a lot the past few weeks, so I need to be decisive and move forward.

I think that's a good way to look at it. That same perspective is what made me decide to leave my job and travel/freelance, and I'm so glad I did. It makes sense to look at this upcoming year the same way.
Thanks for the advice!

Also, do you have a thread on about launching your product?
 
OP
OP
MTBnamja

MTBnamja

New Contributor
Jul 4, 2019
15
14
14
I currently run a construction business which I am winding down in favour of another online business plus I advise several business owners on current and new projects so I am used to being constantly pulled in multiple directions.

I would suggest that you need to start by asking the important questions. Put your needs, wants and desires down in order of importance. Put them in a spreadsheet, a word document, whatever. Discuss them with your wife, take your time. Build a concrete list that is meaningful to you both. A road map for your future.

Next run your work, business ideas and opportunities against that list and see which ones are in harmony with them. Which ones take you closer to your objectives and which ones take you further away. Don't overlook the probabilities for success. If your best fit business idea has little chance of succeeding then it is most likely to railroad you off track and cost you time and money.

Once you have done that it will then become obvious where your focus and attention should be given. There will most likely be compromises in the early stages, for example spending half your week working on bringing in an income. But life is about compromise. As long as you are moving forward towards your objectives logically and with purpose, within your defined plan you will get there. Obviously there will be times when life throws a spanner in the works (I've had several months of them myself recently), but the plan is still there. Navigate around the obstacles course correct and set your compass back in line with your goals.

Don't forget when prioritising to bear in mind Pareto's law, what should you spend your valuable time doing that will make the most impact for the least effort.

For day to day clarity I would suggest you look at @LightHouse Get Shit Done system which you can find here:

Wow, great advice. Thank you.

The pressure to make a decision can get to me, but yeah I agree I need to take my time to lay it all out and see what fits best into the bigger plan. The big plan usually doesn't turn out the way we expect anyway, so I can't worry about it too much. At the same time I definitely don't want to be indecisive either, which is a struggle of mine.

Good point about discussing it with the wife too. I have a tendency to keep my projects to myself until I make some solid progress, but it's more important to be on the same page.

It's also funny you mentioning that thread. I just came across it two days ago and though the system looked great. I'm planning on setting it up and trying it out this coming week. I currently write a task list down for each day in a small notebook (I like being able to hold it and cross out tasks), but it's been getting crowded and messy as I have more and more to do. I think if I can get used to doing it online it will be really beneficial.

Thanks again!
 

MoneyHacker

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I find it really hard to focus on 2 things at the same time. But find it much easier to do 1 thing first, and when the first thing is ok, that's when i can automate it or ask someone to do it for me or make it a habit that i don't need to think a lot about it, just need to follow the premade formula, i will focus on the second thing.

Maybe you need to make a hard decision between 2 businesses. It's the best way start a second business as a side hustle and test the market before going allin with it. But if you think that it's the right time and your second business will definitely go big, then go allin. Maybe this is the decision you need to make. Good luck bro.
 

GoodluckChuck

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If the answer isn't clear then you aren't getting enough actual feedback from your actions to make that decision.

I would say keep working on multiple things until it's clear which one is the winner.

I think it's good to have multiple irons in the fire unless you prove that one is worth sacrificing the others for.

I think it's normal and healthy to ask these questions and reevaluate regularly. You must operate in a results oriented way though because results is all that matters.

Are you reaching your goals Ina certain endeavor? Is the market reacting the way you hoped? Is it as rewarding as you thought it would be? If not, change it up or allocate more effort somewhere else.

If the question becomes really clear then make a decision. If you get to the point where you have 2 options and each one is really good but you can't have both, then choose one. Until then, do more than 1.
 

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