I just finished Derek Johanson’s CopyHour course.
I spend most of the past two and half months waking up everyday, going to a coffee shop with my notebook – and handwriting out some of the best performing ads ever. I studied the masters – Gary Bencivenga, Gary Halbert, Jay Abraham. Everyday. For the most part. I got into a nice little rhythm.
Now it’s over. Now what?
It just ended. The ending just happened. The last day. The goal. There was no parade. There was no big party. Just a last ad written.
Now, what do I do? Tomorrow I wake up… and.. what?
I need a new project. Life feels weird without a personal project on the table.
I went from studying Japanese everyday for 3 months to studying copywriting everyday for 2 months. Now what? I need a new plan. And, I have it figured out. I know what I need to do.
Spreading Yourself Too Thin: How I botched April
There’s been times in life when I took on too many things at once. I did that in the MBA sometimes as well. I learned from it. I knew when I was in Singapore – to keep my focus straight. Then, I moved to Japan and kept my focus on Japanese. Too many focuses leads to too many broken promises. Too many things undone. It’s not even time management as much as it is effort management. You just can’t focus on multiple things at a time. Multitasking fails.
Yet, even knowing this I still make the mistake sometimes. That’s what I did in April. I jumped the gun. The blog had just launched, so I was trying to manage that and maintain a proper post schedule. I was taking on more consulting projects. I was doing the copywriting course every morning. And, then I decided I’d start writing a book too. I launched an IndieGogo campaign around the book. And, I even tried to start studying Chinese as well.
Way too much, dude. It wasn’t long before I realized the mistake. How I got carried away I don’t know. I mean, the reason I included the word ‘focus’ in the name of the blog was because I know how important actual ‘focus’ is to achieving anything and getting anything done.
Yet, even still, I completely botched April. My focus was everywhere. 5784747234 bazillion things at once. Too many new ideas floating around and new projects started.
I caught myself and shut it all down. System re-load.
I chose to focus on finishing up CopyHour – and prioritized it. It needed to be done, since some weeks in April I had fallen to only doing it twice a week – when it was supposed to be an everyday thing.
I focused on that – getting in a morning ritual that included waking up and going to nearby cafe in my pajamas, still with bed-head – to have my morning espresso and write out my ads. Only then did I come back, take a shower, get dressed, and head into the office. The people at the cafe probably think I wear the same t-shirt and shorts everyday. Oh well. That’s my sleeping clothes. Calm down.
I postponed everything else. Learning Chinese? – postponed until later, much to the chargin of my Taipei language exchange buddies. The book? – postponed until later. The IndieGogo campaign? I just totally shutdown promotion of it and let it fizzle out unnoticed. Things can be learned from this. I can be better. It’s all about where you put your focus.
It’s All About Focus
I think that longer-term focus needs to thought of in the same light as multitasking. The latest research in multi-tasking shows that beyond two tasks, our effectiveness drops tremendously. I think the same applies to longer-term projects. That means that if your work/job is taking up some of your focus, then you only have room for one other thing – one personal project. Not millions.
This is one reason New Year’s Resolutions commonly fail. People underestimate the amount of focus that taking on a completely new project takes. They also probably overestimate the amount of focus they have to go around. Which, is probably not much if you have a life full of other things. New projects, if you want to actually complete them, have to be prioritized above EVERYTHING ELSE.
If you’re trying to do something completely new, something you are unaccustomed to doing, and you can’t prioritize it above EVERYTHING else. I’d bet money that you don’t follow through – that you don’t finish. This is what usually happens. [But, once you’re accustomed to doing something, it’s Easy Like Accounting.]
It’s all about focus. And a completely new habit takes a tremendous amount of focus. You have to be prepared for that going in.
So, that’s why I prioritized CopyHour. The blog was still new, still taking a lot of focus – it’s not running on autopilot yet. Writing a book would take tremendous amounts of focus. Learning Chinese would take tremendous amounts of focus. It all had to fall back.
Now, What’s Next?
So, now I did it. I finished up CopyHour. Now, I need a new project.
Oh, and my time in Taipei is winding down. I need a new destination.
Nothing too special – just going back to Singapore. And then back to Tokyo. [Wish you could travel like that?]
Oh, and my new project is just to continue to improve my writing. I’m going to take what I learned from copywriting exercises and apply to other types of writing as well. Mainly, blog posts. For now. But, the book will still come later.
In case, you are wondering, here’s the daily schedule for the next month:
- Wake up, write 3 pages of uninhibited thought (The Morning Pages)
- Copy a favorite or well-performing blogpost or article.
- Write a blogpost – 1,000+ words
Steps 1&2 are handwritten. Step 3, typed of course.
Also to note: this does not mean I’ll be posting to the blog 7 days a week now. I’ll maintain my normal post volume of twice a week. It just means I’ll be writing 7 days a week. Mainly to work on getting into the habit of writing and to improve my writing. Most of these posts will probably never see the light of day.
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