At work, I use a project management tool called Basecamp. The reason I use it is threefold:
- It is simple and has just the right amount of features.
- It is affordable.
- I love the company that develops it.
Why do I love the company? Mostly because of their casual, distraction-free work environment, lean approach to process, and emphasis on the customer. I read their book Rework standing in line for the last Harry Potter movie. (It’s a quick read with lots of great nuggets of wisdom.) I love their take on meetings (don’t have them) and remote work (the topic of their most recent book, Remote).
Recently (on the 10th birthday of their flagship product Basecamp), this company made a couple of huge announcements. First of all, they announced that they are going to be a one product company. They are going to focus solely on Basecamp (whew!). Secondly, they are changing their name from 37signals (which few people recognized) to Basecamp (which over 15 million users know).
Here is a snippet from Basecamp CEO Jason Fried’s announcement letter:
…because we’ve released so many products over the years, we’ve become a bit scattered, a bit diluted. Nobody does their best work when they’re spread too thin. We certainly don’t. We do our best work when we’re all focused on one thing.
This is the key ingredient for success: focusing on one thing.
When I speak about time management and making time for things that really matter, I always come back to this. I encourage my audience to re-learn the word no (which we were so good at as toddlers). I remind them that when you do fewer things, you can do it better. And when you do only one thing at a time, you can do it best of all—with quality.
The next time you are asked to be on a committee for which you don’t have passion or when people try to rope you in to volunteering where your skills are not best utilized, just say no. Acknowledge that you are honored that they asked, and then say no. Gently but firmly.
And focus on that one thing that makes your eyes light up and that you can talk about for hours. Be a one initiative person. Then you might get something done.