Focus is one of the key driving factors in all our lives. Almost single-handedly it determines whether or not we’ll experience a high quality of life and accomplish the things that are meaningful to us – or sink into the depths of mediocrity by not being tenacious enough.
Why is focus so important?
The majority of us realise that focus is important. You’ve probably heard loads of times. Why is it then that so many senior managers and entrepreneurs forget about focus when it comes to day-to-day business?
The quick answer is simply – ‘stuff happens’, which means we end up concentrating on firefighting instead of looking at the bigger picture. The problem then becomes that the resulting lack of focus leads to scattered resources, incomplete actions and time wasted doing the wrong things. All of which leads to the need for more firefighting.
Experience shows that devoting time, energy and money to unclear strategies, off the cuff actions and random marketing media at the same time leads to poor results and poor returns. All of this in turn, leads to frustration, lack of progress and ultimately failure.
Given its importance, here are three brilliant ways to stay focused:
1. Make fewer decisions. The more decisions we make, the more tired our brains become and the less effective we are over the long-term. So first, stop jumping from one thing to another! Mindlessly ‘browsing’ things to occupy your time consumes incredible amounts of concentration; every new direction and every new ‘to-do’ eats up your mental energy and reserves. It costs not only your focus but your willpower too, not to mention your ability to find focal points in the future. If you’re looking for something in particular, search for this ONE thing, find it… and then move on. Try to limit your mind wandering and get back your focus and your sense of direction.
2. Clearly define your objectives. Most people show up, especially to meetings, without any clear intention and, as a result, they end up taking on tasks that aren’t important. Ask yourself, “What do I really want? What should I be doing with my time at this moment to help me reach my ‘specific’ objectives?” Figure out what steps are needed, remain focused, identify the action points required, and then be ruthless in minimising your time spent on anything else.
3. Say NO to anything that does not help your end goals. Make a decision that from now on you won’t opt for the YES, and then struggle with it. Don’t immediately commit to taking on tasks regardless. Check them against your objectives and goals. Ask, “Should I focus on this right now in my life? Yes or no? Is this good for me or bad for me? Is this the right time or wrong time?” Learn to say NO to anything that doesn’t fire you up with commitment and enthusiasm.
Staying focused is one of the most important skills in life. Getting it right will enable you to commit to getting back to a much more straightforward approach to life, by focusing on only one-to-three major things at a time. Then, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, you will move forward by only doing those things that you truly care about and that engage and energise you.
Follow these simple steps and you too will start to experience ‘life-changing’ benefits and a sense of accomplishment that the majority of people miss.