If You Are Multi-Passionate, Watch This to Fix Your Productivity Problems

December 28, 2018 ​- 41 Comments

Some people always come up with new ideas, always see new business opportunities and love to start projects that solve some problem or change the world in a better way.

This is often referred to as being "multi-passionate" or being a "multipotentialite".

If you're one of these people, you have strengths to be reckoned with... but you also have a big, problematic weakness: you're great at starting things, but you suck at follow-through.​​​​


The Missing Ingredient

Sorry for not putting it more lightly, but I've yet to meet a multipotentialite for whom the above statement isn't true. Plus, I speak from experience, because I'm exactly one of those people who have too many interests and too many ideas.

We are bad at follow-through. We are strong starters and weak finishers. Non-finishers, in most cases.

This is a problem I had to solve for myself, once I realized a simple, painful truth:

“A great project that was started but never shipped is no better than a project that was never started to begin with.”

Click to Tweet

Personally, I hate this. I'm motivated by creating good things and affecting a positive change in people's lives. In other words, I'm motivated by delivering value.

The more time I spend bouncing from one exciting project to the next, the less real value I'm actually delivering to the world.

But there's good news, too.

The Fix

This problem can be fixed. At least, you can powerfully reframe how you think about your projects, ideas and priorities. And you can apply what I call "deliberate procrastination" to set yourself up for greater success (in fewer different areas) for the next 12 months.

Watch the video to get all the details.

What's Your Take?

Are you a multi-passionate person? Have you suffered from this problem of bouncing from one thing to the next all the time?

If so, I challenge you to grab a pen and paper and spend 5 minutes doing the exercise I describe in the video. Then, leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

Shane's Signature

About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

​Related Articles

  • Great video Shane.

    Just before I watched it I had just created a list of 6 (doable) things to accomplish in 2019 on the whiteboard behind my desk. I am now just about to allocate hours and days each week for each project.

    I am kicking TV into touch for the most part (apart from the occasional family film) and the biggie is that I am unsubscribing from a ton of lists and distractions (not yours ; ) that eat into my time.

    Surfing the web has to stop too. I now have everything I need to push my business and personal life forward. Very excited for 2019!!!

    • Good stuff, Nick! Being clear about what needs to go is a big steps to reaching your goals.

  • Oh gosh. I have never considered myself a multi-passionate person, but I’m totally the one who starts stuff and rarely completes it. And since I care about being responsible, and the one who can be trusted, I keep piling stuff that I must do at some point. So I’m always ‘owing’ things. Things that I set to do at some point but didn’t complete.

    I totally believe in what you said and I trust you. But saying no to those things I want to do (hello? a book!) is more than just slightly painful.

    I’m going to review my 2019 planning and see what I can put off for 2020 (ouch). Thanks a lot Shane for this reflection-inducing video.

    • That’s an interesting perspective. You do indeed create something like “task debt” for yourself and that can be a lot of pressure. I know it’s hard to do, but you’ll be grateful you did it, when you finally get more things finished.

  • That was powerful, Shane… and painful :( But it does make perfect sense. It’s going to be tricky deciding what to put off and what to ‘truly’ prioritise, but when I look at what I haven’t achieved in 2018, this has to be the way to tackle 2019! Thank you.

  • Okay, that sounds like an interesting idea, but how do you decide which projects to say no to?

    • Try this: first, remove the one project on the list that you can most easily live without. The one that’s least important to you, right now. Then, “protect” the most important one. The one you least want to live without. Strike it off your original list and write it on a new one.

      You now have a new list, with 2 fewer items. Repeat the same process until you’ve eliminated everything from the first list and you have a second list with half the items.

      Another important thing to think about is the difference of “this is sentimentally important” vs. “this is strategically or existentially important”. Don’t prioritize whimsical passion projects if you can’t pay rent next month, basically.

      If you truly feel like you cannot prioritize because all the items on the list are equally important to you, test that belief by eliminating half the items at random (you can use a random picker or number generator online, to do this. Or flip a coin). If they are all truly equal, it doesn’t matter which ones you eliminate.

  • I often finish projects — but too often it takes months of even years longer than planned. This is in part because I get off track with distractions and diversions. I loose focus and my intentions are diluted by new temptations.
    So Yes, I plead guilty to self interruption.

    Thanks much

    • You know, that’s already better than most of us manage to do. If you can switch gears in your mind, and focus on this realization that you could get things done much more quickly if you’re more focused, that might help next time distractions tempt you.

  • Kim Davis says:

    I can totally relate to your video. It seems really painful to not do something important … like a loss, like taking your dog to the pound. Dreams I have already invested in emotionally

  • Hi Shane, very much looking forward to the course and hope it’s the outside the box thinking I’ve been missing out on.

    I’ve always been a jack of all trades, master of none type. I used to think that was a good thing when I was bouncing from job to job and it has served me well to quickly learn A LOT of things in my ‘online entrepreneurship’ endeavors the past 4 years but it has also been the reason I haven’t had that ‘big’ breakthrough yet.

    I like too many things and my brain is constantly thinking of ways to leverage those ‘things’ that I end up paralyzed in a sense. Then my self-confidence continues taking a hit because I never follow through and give myself a chance at success – classic self-sabotaging behavior.

    Last year I stumbled upon the Renaissance Soul (multipotentialite) community and read a couple books on the subject hoping I had found something to give that push but the excitement was short lived.

    Anyway, I get exactly what you’re saying – along with your previous posts in regards to mental/emotional issues when trying to start/grow a business – and even though I know your course isn’t the end all – be all answer, I have faith you’ll provide some valuable nuggets of information to give some much needed guidance!


    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Andrew. I can relate. I also know the feeling of discovering a new book or other new thing and having that feeling of “this will finally solve all my problems”. In the end, it’s never that simple.

      But what we can do is get better at deliberately taking small steps towards our goals. We can build a different way of thinking and a different way of acting. It’s not a single breakthrough and it’s not always exciting, but it moves us towards our goals.

  • Esther Anderson says:

    I have a mix of too many good traits. I am smart, passionate, full of good ideas, have the skillset to launch great projects, am the one everyone turns to for advice or discussion for anything internet or digital related. Put all that together means I have many, many projects, all great in their own right and not one I would say is a success. Foundations are done and they got to like 70% finished and then ‘squirrel!’
    Only 2 projects I completed and then I did them as a 7 day startup with a deadline. But they too are in limbo but great projects just not marketed properly.
    My goal was to use the holiday time (no staff too bother me) to play catch up. I have procrastinated and wasted the last 10 days. Now with only a week to go, the list is twice as long and the time frame is so short.
    So now I have opened a page and will list everything on my to do list. Not to tick off but to really prioritise and see what is achievable in 2019, and my number 1 goal? Is to complete your course 100%. That is a start.

    • Yes! I love seeing that you can realistically assess what has been happening and that you are taking action. This is a great start!

  • Hi Shane, everything you said in this video is right and i´ll follow this rules from now because i got near the same priority problems. Most important thing is to make money with my business, same time finish study Mental-Trainer, also finish study Astrology, finish my book (i began 2 years ago) and some hobbies too. Now i decide to put my focus on the exam for Mental-Trainer because this is also my favorite, my first choice!
    Thank you for this Video. (Manfred, customer of Thrive themes)

    • Thanks for your reply! I’m happy to see that the video resonated with you. And congratulations on taking action!

  • Sunny Kay says:

    Shane… I want to buy your new productivity course and there is no Paypal option to pay. I am from Canada. Thanks

    • For technical reasons, I didn’t include PayPal as a payment option. Can you pay by credit card instead? Is that an option for you?

  • On Point again. And in good time too. Will try out the solution for 2019. Thanks Shane

  • Brilliant. BTW: “Multi-passionate”. I LOVE THAT! So much kinder than ‘flakey freak’. Gonna use that from now on

    I’m actually a year ahead of you on this advice. I signed on for an intensive, expensive (for me) digimarketing course exactly a year ago, and committed to working it. That was very hard for me. It meant saying NO a lot… a painful lot, actually. But it worked. I met that commitment, learned a ton, and am chaffing to get going on organized implementation.

    But I know that the success I had this past year is not yet habitual. I’m older (fuggit it – I’m old), so that habit will be hard to instill. But I’m willing to try, and prepared to succeed.

    One question: will the course you are offering be in the same format as these vids have been? Please say no… they are way distracting ;)

    • Congratulations on seeing something through for a whole year! That’s a rare achievement, especially for someone multi-passionate. And it’s great that you had success with this but are also aware enough to realize you can’t rest on your laurels.

      The course will be presented mostly in video format, but the videos are done differently than these blog videos. The course is mainly video lessons and work assignments and exercises.

  • I can totally relate to thar Shane. I have a “butterfly brain” sooo many exciting ideas but not possible to do at once. I made a “brain dump” trello board which works well. All the ideas go there till I do something with them or toss them.

    I still have problems with which task is priority. I’ve launched 2 courses which my list loved but I didn’t fillow through on marketing. When I look at the options for marketing it’s hard to decide which to do first. Same with new skills, I’ve lost count of how many great courses I started butdidn’t finish! Looking forward to a more productive 2019. I’ve already signed up for your course.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jenny!

      Interestingly, I recorded a video about creating a brain dump board in Trello, recently. :)

      It definitely helps, but the priority problem remains. I hope I can help you with that, in 2019.

  • Shane, I am already in your course…..I don’t know yet how good it would be, but productivity is at the top of my mind. Your solution seems to have a good probability of being correct given the analysis I had made about myself. I am so full of tasks myself, I am going to rely on implementing your solution instead of reinventing the wheel myself…let’s me give it a shot……..

    • Thank you for joining! I’m looking forward to teaching what I know and I’m sure it will help you. We can do this!

  • Thank you, Shane. I have a question because it seems that you may be working this course yourself as/after you develop it. Would you be willing to document your own progress using the course guidelines you are teaching? I think it would be very beneficial to see a timeline/outline/bullet points of what’s working, what’s not for you and how you deal with what’s difficult for you. What do you think?

    • Thank you for your comment, Daniel!

      This is something we can definitely cover in the office hours or one of webinars. My progress and approach to building this course will be fairly well documented, so it’s something we can take apart if people are interested.

  • Being a ‘Multipotentialite’ sure has gotten me into many problems.

    Since 2014, due to my over eagerness to produce extra, I have developed too many ideas and never followed through. Purchasing courses after courses, software after software.

    To date I have racked up approximately $30k in debt.

    I am not proud of this achievement of course. But I do acknowledge its a problem. Currently, I do have a day job, so I am paying it off monthly.

    The irony is that I was trying too many things at the same time, in order to find which would be a good path for me to generate side income. Bigger irony is, I lost more than I made, because I didn’t put in 100% focus.

    So when I saw this post, it immediately resonates with me.

    I need to get focused, stop procrastinating and ditch the shiny object/ FOLO syndrome. I’d like to keep things as simple as possible.

    I need to say ‘NO’ to lots of things.

    • I’m glad that this post acts as a wake-up call for you. I think many people fall into this shiny object trap that you describe. And many get into debt, buying high-priced courses and such.

      If you can learn to say no, learn to focus and, in a sense, learn to slow down, you can start making more progress.

  • My problems are both ‘too many ideas’ and ‘not following through’ on them… I think it actually comes down to “buckling down to do the work!” ;-)

    The idea part is so exciting, but when I get to “doing the work” — even just writing an article — I fall into many of the traps you have already discussed (perfection, trying to cover “everything,” decision-paralysis, etc.)

    Part of the problem is negative self-talk, which I’m really trying to “fix,” and part of the problem is not being able to decide which “thing” to work on first! ;-) LoL!

    From your video, and from the course description, it sounds like this course will be such an immense help.

    I was excited to read in one of your replies below that you’ll have excercises & assignments. I need practical “practice” & from both of your sites I know you are a doer, so I’m sure this course help me change my perspective and process!

    I’m a solo worker, so I’m hoping your process will be flexible enough to accomodate solo workers… So many of the “apps” you discuss are specifically for collaboration / teams, and don’t seem to address the solo worker!

    Can’t wait for Jan 4th! :-)

    Thanks for doing this, Shane! :-)

    • Thank you for your comment, Karen! This was in part what inspired me to do the video about being stubborn in a smart way. :)

      • Thanks, Shane! And I jumped onto that video too, as soon as I saw it! It was great…biggest bonus for me was that you brought up perspectives I hadn’t even thought of! :-)

  • Brother,

    Thank you for this video! You’re totally right!
    + A year flies by
    + Just as money is a “doubles game”, making room for priority should be a “half game”

    Also your statement about not finishing = as if it had never started, is very strong.

    One fear/thought which keeps me from waiting till next year is something like: “What if I die today/tomorrow?!” -> Making me want to take instant action to start right away… but I guess this is some kind of risk management I have to start applying right?

    Curious for your thoughts on this.

    I also watched your video on Trello and researched the whole internet on it, compared all and made a synthesis on it… if you’re interested in it I would love to give back as thanks for your value.

    When will you be in the Netherlands?

    Happy 2019 and much health, love & luck for you and your family!


    • Hello Juan,

      Thank you for your comment!

      Regarding your “what if I die tomorrow” fear, that’s an interesting problem. My perspective on this is that it’s about becoming process oriented. Ultimately, I try to break down my goals into processes and systems. And for the most part, I want to make sure that those processes and systems consist of things I want to be doing. This way, I’m not just suffering through today, in the hopes of reaching a better tomorrow. Instead, day by day, I’m doing things that I want to be doing AND that move me towards my goals. So, if I die tomorrow, it’s a pity because I had a bunch of stuff to do still, but it’s okay. I had a good run and I spent my time doing important things that I believe in.

      I’m interested in hearing the conclusion you came to from your Trello related research, yes. :)

      I’ll visit the Netherlands sometime in the summer. I don’t know when, yet.

  • Thanks Shane. I’ve just watched this about half an hour after I wanted to get to bed. The irony.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    ​Develop the Ultimate Entrepreneurial Superpower: Productivity!

    ​Countless "wantrepreneurs" fail to achieve their business goals - not because of a lack of knowledge, but because of a lack of productive, effective implementation. Don't be one of them.