These two terms have both been hot buzzwords the past few years. Jack Canfield and many others have exhorted us to be focused so that we execute well. Without focus, our efforts are wasted, and in these lean economic times, there's no room for waste. On the other hand, Robert Allen, Robert Kiyosaki, et al., have shown us the importance of creating multiple streams of income, particularly for entrepreneurs. These seem to be conflicting concepts, right? How can you focus if you're chasing multiple opportunities?
The reality is that no matter what you do for a living, you're going to be dealing with multiple projects and competing priorities. It doesn't matter whether you're in sales, working in an office, or an entrepreneur. It's just that as an entrepreneur, each of those projects may be an entire business!
So how does one juggle all of this while still maintaining balance? Here are a few pointers:
Give your ideas a life of their own. If an idea is worth thinking about again, it's worth capturing what you've got so far and giving it a place to live and grow. Every time I have something I think is a really good idea, I buy an $8.95 domain, add it to my hosting account (important to have multiple domains on your hosting account with no additional charge), and throw together a simple web page using a free template for either FrontPage or Dreamweaver, or blogging software, i.e., WordPress. For less than $10, I have a place for my idea to start taking life, and for me to communicate my idea effectively to prospective collaborators and customers. If you're not as web-inclined, just jot down your thoughts about the subject and create a separate file folder for it, either in your computer or a manual file. Any time you have something to add, you've got the right place for it. Sooner or later, the good ideas will truly start having a life of their own, and you can say good-bye to those regrets about forgotten great ideas.
Make a schedule... You'll drive yourself and the people around you crazy if you just flit back and forth from one project to another (which is all too easy a pattern to slip into). As Stephen Covey says, don't prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities. The only way to ensure that you are really focusing on the next most important thing is to put into your schedule - otherwise all those things that are urgent but not important will keep you from doing the things that are important but not urgent, and even sometimes the things that are important and urgent. If you want to focus, you have to give yourself time to focus, free from other distractions, and knowing in your mind that that's how you're supposed to be spending that time.
...and then break it. Circumstances change. Priorities change. And change is cheap if you make it that way. Agility and flexibility are a couple of the great advantages entrepreneurs have over larger organizations. Many opportunities come up that are time-sensitive, and if you're locked into an artificially rigid schedule, you'll miss them. The trick is to know the difference between a time-sensitive opportunity and a mere distraction. Perhaps we need a new serenity prayer for entrepreneurs: "Grant me the serenity to say no to the requests that are mere distractions, the courage to act on the ones that are truly opportunities, and the wisdom to the know the difference."