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Should you take on the challenge of two big projects at once?

Posted by: Chris Sidney

I think taking advice is important, and of course, learning is incredibly important. However, there are also certain situations where you need to listen to your body and your feelings and find your own way in life.

When trying to achieve something massive in life there will always be a mix of learning and finding your own way. In this post I want to talk about the idea of taking on two massive projects at once. Maybe you’ve done it yourself before, or are doing it now. Whatever the situation I hope it can encourage others, maybe yourself, to consider taking on something new and big in life if you have the appetite for it.

There are lots of quotes and memes about focusing on one thing at a time. The belief is that multi-tasking leads to a detriment of productivity and gives an illusion of competence. I totally understand that thinking but am not sure I totally agree it’s correct for all situations.

I have accidentally ended up with two major projects in my life. The first is my finances and getting this blog up and running. The second is my working out efforts. So far so good on both counts, I feel very encouraged about both things.

On the surface it probably seems fairly easy to do these two things at once, but as this generic stock image of a woman pointing at a watch demonstrates, there are only so many hours in the day!
Not much time

For me I’m working hard on my finances and that includes this website. Thats my main project in life right now. Which is taking up a bit more time than I expected. Secondly I am working hard on building muscle and gaining weight. As a guy who is naturally very skinny with a fast metabolism I’ve always wanted to go on a journey of getting bigger.

That may seem easy, but constantly recording what I eat too and getting a high-calorie count from healthy food every day is in itself a big challenge. With that said let’s look at what the challenges of two projects at once are, and I don’t mean specifically just to my situation.

What are the challenges of doing two big projects at once?

You only have a certain amount of concentration. When taking on any big project it requires you to think and be focused. There is only so long you can do that for. Having two things going at once does make that a challenge.

It can take longer to achieve what you want to. In theory, you should reach one goal quicker, compared to if you have two on the go at once.

If one project starts failing it could potentially reduce your overall enthusiasm. This could lead to a decline in the other project as well.

You may have less time in the short-term to enjoy time with friends and family.

What are the big benefits of two projects?

For me, I don’t want to do one or the other. I want to get my personal finances flying and get myself looking great. The idea that I can bust through both those things over time is incredibly inspiring.

There is always something to be done. It means you are never bored and always have something to be cracking on with.

When one aspect starts going well, that positive energy can flow into your other efforts as well.

Reaching for the stars and having lofty ambitions will force you to give it absolutely everything you’ve got.

Is taking on another project doable for you?

Now that I’ve ran through positives and negatives I hope you have a good idea of what you think is best. One at a time, or going all out?

It makes a big difference for me that I split up with my girlfriend two months ago. That extra time and having one less person to worry about in my life does make a difference. Personal circumstances will certainly dictate whether you are in a position to try making major life changes right now.

If you aren’t in the middle of any major thing, then why not start one right now? Perhaps there are multiple things in life you aren’t happy with, then start two things! I see no reason why not, and if adjustments need to be made then they will be. Adaptability is a strong characteristic to have and maybe the most valuable weapon in the locker of multi-achieving.

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2 comments to read!

  • I think your projects are mutually beneficial. Exercise increases energy and focus and is therefore likely to improve the focus you have in your blog. I think if you take on two large projects that are similar then you start to stretch yourself thin. As an extreme example, I have a friend who takes pride in telling people that he runs seven businesses, yet he seems to complain a lot that he is short of cash and is often ill. From someone that’s run two businesses in tandem, you can’t run seven business effectively (not without good people running them for you). It’s no surprise his seven businesses don’t do very well. If he focused on one I think he’d do amazingly well.

    I had two businesses. One was my main business and main income requiring most of my time, the other an e-commerce site I had finely automated BUT it still had a ceiling based on the effort I could put in. At Christmas, when things got busy, I found myself burning out, albeit financially “worth it”. I realised however that I could surpass the cumulative income of both businesses by focusing on one. More recently I’ve tried spinning up other ideas alongside my blog (which I run alongside the day job) and it just doesn’t work.

    If you have a chance, I recommend a book called The One Thing. It’s quite poignant. I believe if you want to do well at something you should focus on the one thing, importantly that needs to be the right thing. Steve Jobs was know for moving back to Apple and getting the whole company to focus on the iPhone where it had previously been working on hundreds if not thousands of new products ideas. I’ve seen it in big companies I’ve worked for also, where they spread their staff and skills across many ideas in an attempt to “spread” their risk and end up achieving very little for the millions they invest. If they just lazer focused in on just a few ideas they could have achieved so much more return, in my opinion.

    I think your exercise regime is awesome though. I must admit, I need to get into one of those myself, if only to help with energy levels and focus. I used to run a lot. I could run for 90 minutes and whilst that would take a big chunk of time out of my evening I could achieve more in the 60 minutes after that than I would have in two hours without.

  • Chris says:

    Thanks for the insightful comment Lloyd. I think you’re spot on about if projects are similar then it becomes much more tough. I’ve added the book “The One Thing” to my reading list, the last 4 books I’ve had I’ve failed to finish because I lose interest so I’m looking for something that I can enjoy cover to cover and find useful, that might be a great shout!

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