I'm the guy that always grabs the basket at the grocery store instead of a cart. Like me at the store, there is only so much that can fit into our baskets. Then it gets ugly.
I realize with each meeting I take, each program I build, or each consult for a client, that confines are so important. Stop trying to be everything to everybody. You will burn out, get fed up, and ultimately fail at creating something awesome. Carts aren't the answer cause they're bulky, you move faster with a lightly-filled basket.
“What do you want to achieve?”, is a question that is asked daily. If you are one that is able to master the art of listening and present the “Magic” 3 or 5 takeaways - you will inevitably be more successful in your endeavors than those that cannot disseminate information as clearly. Look at the most respected writers on LinkedIn or in blogging - they all have that magic number of takeaways - some list or post that people can wrap their head around in under 10 minutes or so. As we become more bombarded with information, things need to be shortened, clarified, and easily digestible.
Basically, we need to do less.
Confines or constraints drive designs and implementations. Take the iPhone - it’s a working device chock-full of constraint. If you can remember way back to 2007 - there wasn’t even an Appstore - you couldn’t add apps at all. The argument exists even now - many love it, yet some will tout an Android device to have their "freedom". But we can all agree that great design comes from limiting what in fact you are trying to accomplish to just a short list for that time. Early on, Google was much more proud of the “everything to everyone,” OS that Android was. But more and more, we can see with their dealings with the Samsungs or the Amazons, Android is becoming a bit more walled-off to give an experience people can come to appreciate and expect at all times.
Let’s take this mindset back to our worlds - whether you’re involved in nonprofits, in hospitality, in engineering, or process building for any industry - confines and constraints will make your product or program sensible, better equipped, and able to scale (if or when you’re ready). But more importantly, confines help you stop being everything to everyone. They allow focus. I’ve been reading more of Seth Godin, and I love that he writes about “Embracing Boundaries,” and what it meant for developers back on the Comodore 64 - projects are defined by limitations and boundaries. Confines should be looked at as the beginning of strategic plans, of roadmaps. Without some constraint, we lose focus.
Many of our worlds have the wonderful (and necessary) opportunity to slow down ever-so-slightly over the summer. If yours does, my suggestion is to tighten up - figure out a short list of what you rock at, what you want to rock at, and what drains-the-life-out-of-you to manage (and may in fact be the least profitable when you really look). Put some constraint on yourself, say NO every now and then, and develop those “Magic 3,” for yourself. You’ll be a better leader or team member to yourself and your peers. And for god's sake - if you use a basket, make a list.