Ben Brooks on the importance of focus →

August 15, 2014 |

I used to write a productivity blog, and a photography blog too. Those are still topics I know and love, but they aren’t what has captivated _most_ of my attention. As with everyone I get bored. I get bored with reading the same shit on fifteen different websites each day (and I know I always say this), but then I quickly go back to posting that same shit like everyone else. _Because it is easy_.

I think it’s great that Ben is changing things around, trying to recover his passion and energy. I’ve noticed the recent change in focus and style on The Brooks Review, and it’s been clearly for the better. I’ve been guilty of the same mistakes here in the past, but lately I’ve also been making a conscious effort to devote the majority of my time to the things that are truly important to me.

It’s not easy, because sometimes it means parting with the original vision you had of your work. It may require you to broaden your scope and allow yourself to explore new ideas, or it may mean narrowing it down mercilessly and focusing on a given topic with surgical precision. That can be a difficult process, but it’s also extremely natural. Our interests evolve over time, and our work is inevitably a reflection of ourselves. Still, breaking free of the bad habits takes effort, because every day there are a million new things out there demanding your immediate attention. Things that feel urgent, even though they’re really not. It’s hard to keep reminding yourself that most of that stuff is actually noise and that the signal you’re after is often buried deeper, much deeper. It takes time to uncover it. It takes focus.

It’s difficult, but when you manage to focus on what truly matters, it makes the work so much more rewarding. And I’ve found that loving the work is an absolute necessity if you don’t want to end up getting burned-out. That may sound like a platitude, but it’s completely true.

Like Ben, I’m in the middle of a personal quest for focus. I’m determined to find the signal among all the noise, and stick to it. I think I’m on the right path, but there’s still such a long way to go. I really have no idea where I’ll end up.

Which, in a way, is the best thing.