Jim's Marketing Blog

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Steve Jobs and the power of focus

Steve jobs, focus, ideas

How many new projects are you working on right now?

I ask you this, because one of the fastest ways to massively improve your effectiveness, is to give your full focus to as few projects as possible.


When you are a small business owner or consultant, you have a limited number of resources. By spreading yourself too thinly, across too many ideas or opportunities, you dilute how effective you can be at any one of those projects.

By deliberately choosing to focus on one good business idea at a time, and saying ‘no’ to the hundreds of other ideas demanding your attention, you get to give your full mental resources to the development of that idea. You also eliminate Mind Fog – that fuzzy thinking, which can come from focusing on too many things at one time.

Steve Jobs on focus

Steve Jobs shared his thoughts on the power of focus, at the Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference in 1997:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
– Steve Jobs

In short: Go for clarity of focus. Don’t spread your resources too thinly.

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  1. Hi Jim,

    One of the best tools I have ever come across to help me get and stay focused is Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix from his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

    He divided time into 4 quadrants and says that if we spend at least 20% of our time doing those things which are not urgent but are important, we will get a significant return on that time invested, up to 80%.

    I have used this tool and habit of thought pretty much since that book was published in the late ’80’s. Structuring our day so that we are doing what matters most, rather than being driven by what feels most urgent, really does transform results.

    For anyone who is not familiar with the Time Management Matrix, I strongly recommend picking up a copy of the book.


  2. The post was great but as a Jobs fan, I especially appreciated that quote. It’s not one I seen before.

    Thanks Jim.

  3. Great quote from Steve. He is one of the most ambitious people i have ever known. keep doing what you’re doing Jim!!

  4. I found this really useful Jim in getting my focus back after a difficult few weeks.

    Thanks XX

  5. Gordon Holloway

    June 9, 2013 at 11:25

    This is why it’s so important to fill our minds with the right stuff.

    Thanks Jim.

Comments are closed.