The Power of Focus and Concentration
It all begins with focus and concentration. It all ends with focus and concentration. It is as simple as that. No amount of willpower or outside rewards or motivation will allow you to achieve your goals the way sustained focus and concentration will.
So, what is Focus?
It is knowing what your goals are, what steps you need to take to get there and the unwavering dedication to give your time and energy to the accomplishment of that goal. You have to be very clear on where you are heading. Your goals have to inspire you and your imagination.
Mark Twain once wrote, "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus". You have to see where you are going vividly. You have to focus on it every step along the way. Be unstoppable. As Brian Tracy once said be a "monomaniac on a mission."
But what happens to us? Why do we fall short? What should we do about it?
Here is a list of some of the reasons that we lose focus and some recommendations of what we should do about it.
Is the ability to multitask a friend or a foe in our professional lives? Many of my clients who manage staff or agents have an open door policy for anyone who has a problem or an issue that they need to talk about. Makes sense right? People are counting on you and they depend on you for advice and help and you should be available. Yes, you need to address their problems, issues and concerns and they should be able to get their questions answered. In my coaching practice, I have found that the reality of this choice is devastating to the power of concentration and focus. This business practice provides constant interruptions to the workday and I find many of my clients don't get the important tasks done as a result. They are also setting an example of an unproductive practice. I always advise my clients to schedule certain times during the work day or work week for open office hours. Of course, if an emergency occurs with someone on the staff that needs you immediate attention, you need to react to the situation. However, other than those rare times that a true emergency occurs, I recommend that you stick to this policy.
Big Rocks First
Another reason why we lose focus is that we have a long list of things on our "to do" list and we feel the need to check these items off of our list. We all compile lists of things that we need to do on a daily basis. We diligently assigned a priority to each of the tasks with an A B or C to show what the level of importance these tasks are. The reality is that we tend to do more of those items on the list that are low priority. We tend to do the B and C items first because they are the easiest or the least time consuming to finish and we feel that we are busy and able to get things done. Don't do it! The day will get away from you. Your goals will get postponed to another day and we fall short of the life that we want for ourselves. The real problem with postponing the high priority tasks is what it does to you internally. You internalize the feeling of falling short of your goals and feel like you are failing. This could not be further from the truth. I find that my clients are passionate and sincere about accomplishing their goals. They know where they are heading. They know what the ideal looks like. They know what they should be doing.
If you find yourself at the end of the work day feeling that you were very busy all day long, but didn't accomplish the high priority items, the fix is simple. You need to adjust your habits and your focus to get yourself back on track.
Another reason for losing focus is all of the road blocks that get in your way. You know what I am talking about. You try to implement a plan to accomplish a major business goal and it doesn't flow. You were not able to implement it for very real reasons. For example, you may have been unrealistic to have such a plan in the current marketplace and you find yourself having to revise your business strategies. Or the plan is taking more of your financial resources to implement than you originally anticipated. Or the plan is taking much more time that you originally thought and you are becoming weary of the process. Here is a dose of reality. This is how it goes for everyone that accomplished anything great. I don't consider any of these road blocks failures or reasons to change any of your goals. These are just reasons to adjust your sails to the changing winds. Your goal is the same, what it will look like when accomplished is the same and the way you will feel when you get there will be the same. But you need to take different steps to get there. You need to react and take different steps to implement your plan. This is normal and this is where most people get thrown off course, they lose sight of where they are going and when the going gets tough they change the direction of their goal.
Don't do it.
The reality is that it pays to concentrate. When we focus and we are clear about what the most important things that we need to be doing during the workday, we do not squander our energies. We do not squander our time. We stick with it.
Here are some recommendations:
- Stick with one task and stay with it
- Be clear about where you are going. When goals are not clear effectiveness and efficiency suffer.
- Accomplish high priority tasks first. If you do this you will find that this is a game changer.
- Keep your eye on the destination.
- Don't be afraid to adjust you the way and manner that you get to the goal
- Focus on one thing at a time. I wish all of you great success in your lives and remember that all we are is a result of what we have focused on.
Good luck on your journey to success.