Extreme Focus

The art of extreme focus is the art of accomplishing impossible things by learning to put all your attention on one thing at a time.

Accomplishing the extraordinary involves:

  1. Deciding where and how you can create real value, and putting other things ASIDE.
  2. By not having a backup plan, you can put all your energy into your primary plan.
  3. Figuring out the most effective ways to execute it.
  4. Implementing actual strategies to get people to leave you alone (and not mind doing so).
  5. Always have clear view of the one most important thing you can do for the day, for the week, for the month, and for the year to push your vision forward.

Example: PayPal

In early days of PayPal, Peter Thiel required that everyone be tasked with exactly one priority. He would refuse to discuss virtually anything else with you except what was currently assigned as your #1 initiative.

Even the annual review forms in 2001 required each employee to identify their single most valuable contribution to the company. His peers resisted some of this approach during the PayPal years, but now a proponent of it. First, I created a grid of SVG circles and colored them using a scale from color brewer.