The Solution to Spreading Yourself Too Thin

Reading time: 2.5 min

When presented with various opportunities, I find it hard to say no to them. After all, this is a way to maximize my luck and uncover further opportunities in the future.

Yet, there are times when I've clearly taken too many concurrent commitments, to the point where it's hard to balance my time and workload or to not compromise on the outcomes of some commitments.

I detailed the method I now use to evaluate whether I have the capacity (in time, energy, and willingness) to take on new opportunities here in this other post.

But how should one go about prioritizing their time and energy on existing commitments?

The Focus or Avoid Board

My current solution is my โ€œFocus or Avoidโ€ board for projects and goals.

  1. I first list out all of my goals or overarching commitments. 
  2. Then, I pick out not more than 5 high-importance goals/commitments to place on a โ€œFocusโ€ board. The remaining go into an โ€œAvoidโ€ board. I limit the maximum capacity of the Focus board to 5 (an arbitrary, low number). 
  3. Any projects that are urgent or contribute to these Focus goals/commitments become active projects. I put all remaining projects on hold.

Going forward, only put time and effort into goals and commitments on your Focus board. The rest are to be strictly avoided.

The Focus or Avoid boards have to be regularly reviewed, obviously, given that our lives are ever-changing. How often this should be reviewed will depend on each person. 

Personally, I quickly glance over the importance and urgency of each goal/commitment each month, and restart this process every three to four months.

Benefits of this system:

  • With this system in place, my priorities day to day and week to week are now crystal clear. My time and effort will purely be directed to these Focus goals.

  • Goals and commitments are only initiated when I have the time, energy, and willingness available to maintain it.

  • Active projects and therefore tasks under them become aligned with important (or urgent) overarching goals and commitments.


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