Focus on What Matters Most

Avoid Making Beautiful Garbage

Learning to focus creates more efficiency and ultimately more time and freedom. This is great news, however it is becoming more and more challenging to choose what to focus on with the onslaught of opportunities coming our way. What we focus on is just as important as being able to focus. 

Recently I had a conversation with a client who is a designer for a financial services company about a concept he calls designing “beautiful garbage.”  He was explaining a common pitfall of designers who fall in love with their designs and forget to check in with clients about their needs and desires.  Beautiful garbage is the product of focusing too narrowly on what you are creating so that you lose scope of what is meaningful to the customer, client or user. 

After this conversation, I began pondering where in my life I might be designing beautiful garbage and I found a few pieces of trash.  I think we can all fall prey to working on something that we have invested ourselves in for far too long without checking in with our customers, clients and family about what they may need and want.  

We can avoid this trap by focusing on what matters most.  If we plan our time to focus on what is important to our customers and clients, family and friends, we will be designing more useful things and less garbage. This extra mindful step can save precious time and ultimately allow for noodling on creative project just for ourselves.

*Photo is a sculpture made from recycled debris on a building in Porto, Portugal.  

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