7 Habits that Defeat Distraction and Find Focus
Frantic leaders lack focus.
Nothing meaningful gets done without focus.
- Allow trivialities to become urgencies. Persistent drama suggests lack of focus.
- Start too much and finish too little.
- Neglect mission and vision.
- Lead without priorities.
- Don’t understand customers.
7 habits that defeat distraction and clarify focus:
- Begin each day with a short list of things that must be done before the day ends. What must be done today?
- Evaluate importance. Do more of what matters most. You aren’t important because you’re doing what’s insignificant. On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is this discuss or project. Ask, who cares and does it matter?
- Say no to good ideas that distract from great ideas. Eliminate at least 70% of the ideas you generate in brainstorming sessions. Unfocused leaders have too many ideas.
- Drive toward execution. End conversations by asking what’s next? Listen for observable behaviors, deadlines, and results.
- Dig into unmentionables. What’s hidden or ignored? Are teams afraid to say what they really think? Is someone violating organizational values and getting away with it?
- Filter thinking. Take a few minutes everyday to filter-out the ugly and jot down the beautiful, admirable, authentic, and compelling.
- Clarify thinking with conversations. Bring outsiders in. Call customers. Go to frontline employees. The same people – sitting around the same table – deliver the same results.
Success comes to those who habitually clarifying focus.
Leadership dictionary “F’s”
- Fun – Leaders who say we work hard and play hard have separated fun from work.
Thanks to Facebook Fans for their suggestions.
How can leaders defeat distraction and find focus?
What other words that begin with “F” can you add to the list?
**Tomorrow is the “G” installment in the Dictionary for Leaders.
Dan, They are all good words, I have found being flexible helps tremendously with customers.
Listen to what they want., provide feedback when needed to prevent failure. Treat them like they’re family and feel the Friendships that can develop.
Thanks Tim. Fantastic use of “F.” 🙂 It all starts with being flexible. Feedback without flexibility is just a directive.
I appreciate this, finding and maintaining focus is a real challenge.. in an always connected to the internet age — we are also always a click or two away from infinite distractions, saying nothing of the “Outlook tone” that shouts “open me now” even if it’s a non-urgent spam note. Recalling that we are paid to move things forward to important as is “connecting the dots” of our own activity… if you can’t connect it, perhaps it should go to the trash. NOT scheduling out every moment also yeilds the flexibility to respond to the legitimate urgent, rather than allowing it to create (only) tension.
Thanks Ken. That little statement at the end is powerful. Don’t schedule yourself full. OR, schedule some flexibility time into the schedule.
Do more of what matters most is the key to find focus. Distraction are part and parcel of leadership journey.They provide meaning to effort and achievement. They impel to focus. I think distraction make our journey meaningful. Leaders can defeat distraction by looking at big picture. Small goals on the way tempt us. They try to deviate us from bigger goal. Many people try to grab all the gains and hence lose bigger focus. Leaders let go small gains since they believe in bigger goals.
I would reiterate fear and follow from suggested list. Leaders do not harbor fear. Some element of fear is always beneficial. They follow their dreams. They make committed effort.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. Yes. Distraction is always part of leadership. It’s what we do with it that matters. It’s silly to think of eliminating distractions. We can only deal with them.
Your insight that distractions are a backdrop to meaningful activity helps me.
Thank you so much for this post. I am seriously struggling to get things done and have been working on some big projects which hit a snag and then I move onto something else and then don’t get back to it or struggle to resolve the snag. I am a mum living with a serious chronic illness and am a writer. I am trying to juggle my family, the house, working on my writing and feel myself torn in so many directions when I am living potentially on borrowed time. I find your suggestions very helpful and will stick them on my fridge. xx Rowena
Thanks roweeee. I’m glad you shared your story. Working at home has it’s own set of potential distractions. You have my best for the journey.
The One Big Yes requires lots of little No’s!
Thanks Joe. Absolutely. One reason we can’t say yes is because we haven’t said NO. cheers
These are terrific practical reminders that I can apply every day. Focus is great, but we still need to be attentive to the distractions in order to be able to recognize problems or issues. Thanks, Dan.
Thanks Steven. Love the idea that we have to pay attention to distractions but still not be distracted by them. cool
I love the 7 Habits – have already shared them with a coaching client – it is about commitment – commit to the habit. Find out what is holding you back from sticking with it … likely something bigger … focus is a huge challenge – I struggle with this too … know what to do just have to commit – Thanks Coach Dan 🙂
Thanks ckmic. I appreciate you sharing this post. I can see the value of looking for reasons that explain why we don’t stick with it. Sometimes it’s not as simple as saying, “Just get busy.”
Thanx A Million… Your Alwayz Insightful… The “F” Words I Thought Of Were… Free/Freedom… Being Able To Free Yourself & Others… From Constricting Learned Socially Acceptable Behaviors… Hmm… Some Are Not Good To Have Learned… Socially Acceptable Bullying… Has Alwayz Been In This World… Let Us… “Free Ourselves From Being Dumb … Also My Friend… Don’t Forget… “Freak”… lol… What Would We Ever Do … w/Out Your… Clear… &… Focused WordPress Blogs…
Thanks trbl13. Love the term freedom. Successful leaders set people free. They don’t bring people into restraint. They break limitations. Powerful.
I hadn’t even thought of freak.. haha
7 Good Chances to get closer to a target.
“F” FEELINGS – to get a strong motivated focus.
And to have a good feeling for – good vibrations – a dream. That helps me, if I feel good with.
And one more time “F” for FANTASY, because to create a new or better fokus .-)
Maybe sometimes it helps also, to have a great imagination inside – to find the right power.
And fantasy can help us to realize, on what we want to focus.
Carry inside yourself a picture, to focus on success.
“F” for FUN – the Fun-Factor! Combine with feelings and fantasy and humor and power!
Thanks Coach Dan 🙂
Thanks Beate. What I like about your “F” words is they are on they feel like they are on the fringe of leadership language. Well, I suppose that “fun” is more accepted. But Feelings and Fantasy are a different story. It even feels better to use the term “emotion” to “feelings.”
For the FREAK in you – very fruity .-)
It´s interesting your hint – and let me think twice … “leader language”?
Because I´m used to think of course – different – maybe because
I am a creative professional designer – and I´m used to think like this one .-)
For me it´s a new challenge to focus on leader management!
It is my own focus to want to look beyond the box.
Very freaky and nice stimulating grand journey!
I always think it’s important to seperate the what I ‘have’ to do and what I ‘should’ do. Learning to say no has helped me a lot in my management role. No to that extra meeting, no to running that extra report and giving good reasons and explaining why I should focus on the ‘should do’ and not the ‘have to’. Managing up has been key for me.
Thanks Steven. I think, sometimes, our desire to do good and serve others motivates us to say yes when we should say no. Best for the journey.
I would only add “Feel”.
“F” for Fantasy-Power …
helps me to dream much more “colorful” – getting closer to the goal. 😉
Fantasy is for me like an special arrow of the soul – it turns me on – and
the speed is much more faster – in my spirit fruity
– with this powerful energy of fantasy!
Joy is. Beate