Solution Saturday: I can’t focus
Lack of focus means you’re out of control.
Distraction drains energy and dilutes potential.
- Struggle to trust others.
- Don’t have hobbies.
- Say yes too much.
- Eat poorly.
- Forget what they’re all about.
A leader with focus does what matters.
Start your day slowly:
Frantic at the beginning is distracted through the day.
- Begin with gratitude when you wake up. Say, “I’m thankful for _______,” at least three times before your feet hit the floor.
- Give yourself permission to avoid technology for the first 30 minutes of the day. Control it. Don’t let it control you.
- While in the shower, choose the top two or three things you must do today.
- Write one thing in an aspiration journal. “Today I aspire to be ________.” Focus on being that throughout your day.
Create focus-points that depend on you, not others.
Just for today I will:
- End meetings early.
- Ask questions that address awkward or difficult topics.
- Trust others. “I’m trusting you to _______.”
- Make more requests.
- Ask the second question.
- Say, “I see you have a problem. Come back this afternoon with two or three options.”
- Smile when I walk into an office.
- Express gratitude at the end of interactions.
- Talk about organizational purpose at the beginning of meetings.
- Say, “No,” three times. (If you say yes too much, you might need to lower the bar and say, “No,” once.)
10 tips for finding focus:
- Schedule interruption-time during your day.
- Make an appointment with focus-time.
- Go off-site for an hour of focus-time. Try a coffee shop.
- Eliminate the person who takes more than they give.
- Keep a notepad by your bed.
- Do important stuff first.
- Write a “to don’t” list.
- Complete the thing you’ve been putting off.
- Turn off electronic notifications.
Which of these suggestions make the most sense to you?
How might leaders maintain focus in a distracting world?
**Thanks to Facebook friends and fans for all your stimulating suggestions on this topic!
What does “schedule interruption time during your day” mean?
Thanks Kim. I find leaders get distracted by all the interruptions they encounter. Rather than being frustrated, schedule it. This could be done by scheduling “walk around time,” or “answer email time” or “return phone call time.”
Gold, Mr. Rockwell. Pure gold.
Thanks you John.
All suggestions are good ones but here’s the one that makes the most sense to me: “Make an appointment with focus-time.” for sure, the next suggestion to go off-site is great but you can do it in your office as well – just do it!!! I used to make it a habit to get into school an hour or so before others began arriving, just my coffee and me. I got a great deal accomplished in that time – including considering new topics and brainstorming new options.
But ‘appointment with focus time’ also has great potential for other small meeting with colleagues!!! Make sure all are aware of the topic and have justifiable input / concerns / questions thought out. Make sure the meeting is sufficiently long enough to get to follow-up actions for all to move the topic forward. BUT don’t make the meeting too long so that is drags on, becoming too much sharing opinions and too much listening.
That’s my beliefs regarding focus-time! Great post as usual.
Thanks John. You comment includes the idea of starting early. Glad you added that. The first couple hours of the day are focus time for me.
However, in some cases, I just give in to my urge to read emails and then get right back to it. I have the attention span of a squirrel on steroids.
I’m sure I have adult onset ADD so I participate in your research on Facebook. Losing focus is one thing – being without focus is something else entirely. Great post! thanks for listing these ideas to try when I’ve lost focus.
Hi Jane. Great distinction between losing vs not having focus in the first place.
This is great Dan!- so glad to be back, receiving your daily treasures! This one hits home-I’m the other squirrel on steroids you might have noticed out there – running up and down a nearby tree!-
Your call for mindfullness about the importance of slowing down and your tips for doing so are brilliant!- I’m off to slowly savor the smell of some roses! Best, Lori
Good stuff. I noticed you threw in one “heavy hitter” among the tips for finding focus when you pitched “eliminate the person that takes more than they give.” When it’s necessary to do so, it can be difficult to eliminate but overall rewarding for a team and its leader – and it’s something that good leaders need to be ready and willing to do if no other options exist. Thanks for the tips!
Thanks Lori. oh… There’s a nut…gotta go!
Gimme that nut- I saw it first!!
Thanks SGT. People who aren’t pulling their weight are great distractions for leaders and teams.
Scheduled and well organized appointments are indeed important.
I think Dan makes a compelling case for also building in space and time for unscheduled/ unstructured ‘interruptions’ or encounters
I often find that creative opportunities are uncovered and emerge in the spaces between structured/scheduled plans and meetings
Scheduling in time in ones schedule for such randomn/impromptu interruptions and encounters, alongside the more formal, structured interactions may yield unexpected fruits- insights and opportunities that ultimately reinforce and enhance overall effectiveness and success
Thanks Lori. I’m taking a few slow breaths right now.
Control needs a strategy it doesn’t just happen… great tips!
Thanks Mike. Absolutely!
Thanks Dan. You started this with the most important item for any tip list for anyone anywhere – Start your day with gratitude. Well done!
From someone who needs to be a better communicator, questions are the best place to start, right? So can you give me an example of “Ask questions that address awkward or difficult topics.” I guess my first instinct is to sweep awkward or difficult issues under the carpet but bringing them out is better?
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