William Liao

October 24, 2021

Allocating commitment

Effectively allocating your commitments, like many things, is a skill.

You can do it poorly and reap suboptimal benefits, or you can do it effectively and reap maximal benefits. 

There are at least a couple schools of thought on how to think about commitment: 

  1. Commitment as a spectrum: you can be 90% committed to this one project, 25% committed to another — maybe 50% to another project still. 
  2. Commitment as a switch: you only commit to things you are willing to go all-in (100%) on, or you don’t engage at all. 

Framed another way, this can be seen as a classic breadth versus depth problem:

The benefit of spreading your time & energy across many things is variety, but progress in anything will be fundamentally limited. 

The benefit of putting your energy into just a few things is the ability to make substantially more progress, but your scope of focus will (by necessity) be much more narrow. 

Neither approach seems fundamentally superior to the other — if anything, both can be appropriate depending on the circumstances. 

In fact, that’s probably a good place to start a line of questioning: 

What are the current circumstances? What are your goals? What are the goals of the people you’re considering working with? 

Once you have sufficient clarity on these questions, you’ll be in a better position to figure out which model of commitment makes best suits you.