This year I decided to write on a regular schedule. Committing to it was a strategic decision. The decision part felt good. However, I quickly learned that choosing is easy; doing is hard.

It was 6 am and I was staring at my computer screen, waiting for inspiration. I was there to write a blog, and it just didn’t come. Questions came to mind:

  • Should I come back to this?
  • Did I submit my expense report?
  • Am I really a writer?
  • Is the dryer turned on?

I was paralyzed by the blinking cursor. How was I going to create content if I couldn’t write? (Strategies for “curating” other people’s content swirled up in my mind as an option.)

Morten Hansen, author of Great at Work, sums up his research on personal productivity by observing that:

“Picking a few priorities is only half the equation. The other half is the harsh requirement that you must obsess over your chosen area of focus to excel.”

What Steve Jobs did for Apple embodies this quote. After being ousted as Apple CEO, Jobs returned in 1997. He made the decision to reduce the number of Apple products by 70%. His focus on the success of the remaining 30% is legendary.

Not only did it save the company from insolvency, it created an obsession for execution that is the hallmark of Apple’s success today.

Hansen encourages us to, “Do less, then obsess.” Only extreme dedication creates the extraordinary focus needed for extraordinary results. Tiger Woods’ recent win of the Masters is another example of what years of extraordinary obsession can do.

So, I stayed at my computer. For 20 minutes I did a stare-down with the screen. I finally decided to write something stupid. And I did, and it was. And I wrote another line, and it was less stupid. By 10 am I had three blogs ready to go. But more importantly, I had done what I committed to do.

Make the hard decisions, then stay with them long enough to obsess over making them better.

Privacy Preference Center