Advertising
Advertising

The Only Thing to Care About If You Want to Succeed

The Only Thing to Care About If You Want to Succeed

I have a friend who was thinking about opening a pizza place. His core passion was making pizza and having others enjoy it, so he figured it could be a good business for him.

As soon as he began the process of opening the restaurant, though, there were lots of other questions he had to consider: the location, taxes, zoning, staffing, and business planning. So he began researching and talking to people, which all took a lot of time. He figured out the right location, the staffing, the tax implications, the business plan, and more.

    He felt he was ready to open. But what suffered when he finally got started was the actual quality of the pizzas.

    Advertising

      How could that be? Wasn’t the pizza-making itself his passion?

      In fact it happens to 90% of us. We get caught up by all the other things around us that it makes us easily forget the core that creates meaning for our works. So how to turn things around?

      Find The Epicenter

      The “epicenter” is the core of anything. In terms of earthquakes, for example, it’s where the process begins. In a business sense, an “epicenter” is your core idea. What’s the passion? Why are you investing in this idea, concept, or new project?

      Advertising

      This idea comes from a book Rework, which was written by Jason Fried, the founder of Basecamp. The book is about looking at business planning and advice in a different way.

      In the example above, my friend’s epicenter was making quality pizza. If he focused on that side of it and potentially outsourced some of the other work he needed to do, he would have stayed passionate and had great overall performance.

        Stay focused on your epicenter

        Why are you doing this thing as opposed to doing some other things? When you find that passion in your epicenter, it allows you to be more productive and do more quality work.

        Advertising

        Determine what’s a priority

        If you begin from your epicenter and view that as your foundation, you can more clearly understand what’s necessary to do in the future and what’s not. You can also better figure out what elements to outsource, or assign to someone else.

        Basecamp became a very powerful productivity tool for a lot of organizations. When Fried was building it, he didn’t rely very much on outside investors — as many do. He also didn’t have a standard business plan — which many people say you must have. Instead, he decided there was a major problem with how teams organized themselves and communicated information back and forth. His team set out to build a product that would help solve that problem. That was his epicenter. Everything else flowed from that. He didn’t instantly get bogged down in details or logistics of other aspects of building a business because his epicenter told him “If you work to solve this problem, the other aspects will get addressed.”

        Focus Your Energy

        There are always going to be other things that need to be addressed. But if your energy is focused on what you absolutely want to do, you will get better at knowing how to deal with everything else.

        Think of any random day at work. A lot of people easily become distracted: emails, meetings, people stopping by, and phone calls etc. This is not focusing on your epicenter. If you arrive at work on any given day and think “What do I need to achieve today?” then your day will be much more productive. You will be focusing towards your epicenter.

        Advertising

        But if you allow yourself to be pulled in any new direction the moment it arises (a new email, a new phone call, a new visitor), you won’t be that productive. You’re not working towards an epicenter. You’re just working towards tasks.

        If you want to be more productive and successful, then, determine your epicenter. Work from there.

        Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

        More by this author

        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

        Habits and Motivation: Master Both for Big Results How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive Stop Waiting For Your Dream Job and Go Ask For It How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

        Trending in Smartcut

        1 50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry 2 How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret 3 10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them 4 What Does Success Look Like? Revealed by 12 Highly Successful People 5 The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on May 22, 2019

        The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

        The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

        If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

        Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

        Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

        What is the Pomodoro Technique?

        The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

        The process is simple:

        For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

        Advertising

        You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

        Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

        After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

        Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

        How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

        Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

        “You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

        If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

        Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

        The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

        You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

        Successful people who love it

        Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

        Before he started using the technique, he said,

        Advertising

        “Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

        Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

        “It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

        Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

        Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

        “Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

        Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

        Advertising

        “Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

        Conclusion

        One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

        The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

        If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

        Reference

        [1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
        [2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

        Read Next