focus. it’s what keeps cameras pumping out clear images, it keeps the eye on the prize, and it gets shit done. but it doesn’t get nearly enough credit as it deserves. why? because it’s hard to do and we all like to think that we’re good at focusing. focus is challenging because it requires planning, the intentional ignoring of other things, and it requires you to make hard, precise decisions.
the best kind of focus requires planning. creating a plan of action to get things done is so much more important than people think because the plan itself creates focus inherently. think about it – what happens when you wing a chaotic weekday? do you feel frazzled and unorganized? do you go around telling people “you’re just so busy”? I definitely do this when I haven’t planned ahead and at the end of the day, I’m left with a feeling of defeat and stress no matter how much I did. now think about the times you’ve had a concrete plan in place. even if things were crazy and fast moving, if you had a plan and stuck to it, you likely felt more in control, yes? if you take the time to plan out what your focus(es) is going to be for the following day, week, month, or year, you’re already three steps ahead of everyone else. knowing what you’ll focus on and keeping that top of mind does wonders for the actual execution in getting things done.
no matter what you do or who you are, we all get distracted. learning to manage those distractions and ignore them is key to keeping your focus in line. but how do you possibly ignore things that seem so important? first, make sure that you’re listing out your focuses and keeping an eye on them. once you know what’s important to you and what you need to get done (whether its at work, home, or out and about), it’s easier to ignore distractions. remember, the more distractions you have, the less time you have to get the important stuff done.
distractions are deadly when it comes to keeping your focus, but what happens if the distraction is unavoidable? first, consider the need and the requester. if the distraction is urgent, requires your personal input, or will effect the well being of others, do it. if your kids need you, go to them! if you need to attend to something that can’t wait (i.e. that stressed out boss), make sure to solve the issue and then get right back to your focuses. if you need to, find a better place to get things done like your car, a closed conference room, or a busy café where no one knows you.
decision making is unlikely to be voted the most popular responsibility in most offices around the world. still, it needs to be done and it’s role in your focus is more important than you think. for example, say you have a big project that needs to get done. do you chunk out the tasks or try to attack it all in one go? do you finish the entire project and then update your team, or update them with progress reports as you go? making these decisions will have a key impact on your ability to focus on getting things done and in my experience, focus is often most effective when the decision making focuses small tasks.
focus is an important tool in anyone’s life and is routinely underrated. use focus to your advantage and see awesome results. forget about focus in favor of reacting to the chaos and expect a rise in your cortisol levels 🙂 what’s your favorite way to keep your focus in check?