Less can be more when tackling goals

By Kathleen Lee

Senior Policy Adviser, Hawaii Public Policy Advocates Llc; Hawaii Public Policy Advocates Llc Serves As Executive Director For The Society For Human Resource Management — Hawaii Chapter

Steve Jobs reportedly said, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on, but …it means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.” What we can take from his advice is that it’s just as important to choose what you are going to exclude from your to-do list as it is to decide what you are going to do next. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Q. My boss wants me to do all kinds of different things — how do I say no?

A. Rather than saying no, consider looking at the assignments more broadly and asking yourself how you can frame them as one, or several parts, of a larger whole. By giving the group of seemingly unrelated tasks a unified theme, you may be more motivated to execute them well and gain more from the experience in doing so. Doing something truly unrelated to your job may be either an opportunity or a distraction, but if it’s required, consider discussing the situation with your supervisor.

Q. I’m interested in many fields, projects and activities — shouldn’t I pursue them?

A. Pursuing interests that make your heart sing is often worth the investment of your time, even when they might appear to be temporary distractions from a current goal. However, consider whether isolating a handful of passions to work on exclusively for a designated time period will get you closer to your goals.

Q. FOMO (fear of missing out) has become a popular meme, so doesn’t not doing things exacerbate FOMO?

A. Choosing to do fewer things and doing them well may create a temporary fear of missing out, or FOMO, on other things, however, the trade-off is that you may be more successful at reaching specific goals. The point is choosing what you do with intention.