I believe focus matters more than intelligence. Would you agree?
I know so many incredibly smart people who come up with amazing ideas, but they never seem to start that business or launch that product as they find it hard to focus.
Focus is a skill, meaning it can be developed.
I have tried and tested multiple strategies to increase my focus and have found the best way to learn is from my mistakes.
So here are my top five things not to do when it comes to creating more focus in your life.
They say if you want something done, ask a busy person. I agree with this statement; however, I also know that a lot of people focus on the wrong activities day today.
How many people do you speak to who say “oh I am sooo busy” and then when you ask “what have you been up to” they can’t tell you exactly what they have been doing. This was me, and I used busy as a badge of honour.
When I got to the end of the day and thought back to what I had achieved, the honest answer was not a lot. I would find that I spent most of my days responding back and forth to emails instead of picking up the phone or I would get easily distracted by a co-worker or notification popping up on my phone.
I did not prioritise and tried to multitask, which is the worst thing you can do for productivity. These days I pick one task at a time. I put my phone away, close all tasks, put on my noise-cancelling headphones and become laser-focused on the task at hand.
You wouldn’t believe how much more productive I am in my day having this new way of working. I get far more done, feel less stress and overwhelmed and at the end of the day feel a sense of pride as I look back at all the tasks I have achieved that day.
Another reason that could be killing your focus is,
2. Trying to make it perfect.
When I think of perfectionism, I think of Apple. Imagine if Steve Jobs had waited until he had the perfect iPhone with all the incredible features, we have available to us today; it would never have launched!
Aiming for perfection is the quickest way to kill focus, progress and creativity.
For a start, perfection does not exist. Your idea of perfect is not the same as someone else’s and guess what, we are always moving the bar or striving for bigger and better; therefore, it is completely unattainable in the first place!
Instead of focusing on perfection, try instead focusing on progress. As long as every day, I feel as though I have taken a step towards achieving the goal that makes me feel great. Small steps daily are what leads to the best results.
Another thing that could be killing your focus is that you are…
3. Setting UNREALISTIC goals
I love setting goals. I break them down into short term which is usually every 90 days and long term which is usually every 12 months.
Also, I spend time twice a year thinking about where I want to be in 5- 10 years. I would not call these goals more visualisation and dream space. You could say, this is my purpose, why and mission statement.
For example, I went on holiday eight years ago to the Gold Coast and fell in love. I said to myself
“I don’t know when, and I am not sure how, but I will live here one day.”
Eight years on, I now live in the Gold Coast 10 minutes from that very beach where I had said those very words to myself all that time ago.
This is the power of goals, visualisation, and getting clear on what it is you want.
When it comes to goals, I think it is crucial first to spend time thinking about the why behind the goal.
Using my story as an example again, my why was “I want to wake up daily and have long walks on the beach, I want to be around nature, and I want warm weather all year round.”
That was my why. Anytime I felt myself lacking in motivation or focus, I would close my eyes and visualise the beach and the lifestyle I wanted to create. That got me back in gear pretty quickly.
When it comes to goals, it’s breaking then down chunk by chuck and working backwards. Make sure they are realistic when you do break them down as this is the quickest way to lose momentum and with that focus and drive. Break goals down into what that looks like on a daily schedule.
The next steps are crucial for focus which is point 4 and where I, like many, went wrong.
4. Not having a plan
Once I have my goals all mapped out and broken down its time to put a plan in place.
Not having a daily plan will instantly kill your focus. I used to have the best intentions to start work every day with all the drive and determination, but without a plan, you could be putting a lot of time and energy into the wrong activities.
I write down my top 3 priorities daily that will have the biggest impact on my life.
For example; come up with ten new marketing ideas, a business development call, a strategic meeting.
I then write down all the other tasks I need to get done that day that require my attention.
For example; book flight to Melbourne, catch up on bookkeeping, send follow up email.
There is always the day to day tasks that require my attention, but I know it will not have as much of an impact on my future. However, they need to be done, so I ensure they are on my daily to-do lists.
Breaking my day up this way keeps me laser-focused and ensures that I am still getting the daily tasks done, while also spending time on activities that I know will have a profound impact on my future in both life and business.
Lastly, one of the biggest culprits to killing your focus is that you are…
5. Not saying NO.
Working in an open-plan office comes with many perks but also many distractions. It takes discipline and all of the above points to remain focused.
Learning to say no can feel tough and challenging, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
By letting your co-workers or employees know that you are not going to be available for a few hours each day sets healthy boundaries and builds respect.
Take regular breaks throughout the day to stretch, fill up your water bottle and do what you need to do to reset. This is the time to have a quick chat in the staff kitchen or grab that coffee with your team. Having periods of focus and then regular breaks are the best way to stay focused. If you work in an open-plan office that is noisy, invest in some noise-cancelling headphones, so you are not distracted by the chat going on around you and remember its ok to say no.
I hope this article helps you eliminate all the things you do, perhaps unconsciously that could be killing your focus.
Having a focus gives you energy and motivation. It is the quickest way to achieve your goals and life mission.
Here’s to being focused.
Thank you for reading, please share this article to help someone get more focused.