How to (re)Focus
- Challenge your current focus.
Success can be an early-warning indicator for failure. Doing the same things out of unexamined habit is dangerous. You’ll get better by replacing the wrong or low-payoff activities with more productive behaviors. That means you need to regularly reevaluate.
- What did I do in the past that I should start doing again? Sometimes we don’t exactly abandon good practices; they just slip away
- What should I stop doing? Just because something used to work doesn’t mean it will always succeed.
- What should I start doing? New skills and behaviors usually require a learning curve, so we tend to put off doing them.
- What should I do differently? Modifying a practice or process to make it better is always a priority.
- Stop multitasking.
We think of multitasking as the ability to successfully perform more than one activity at the same time. In reality, what is commonly referred to as multitasking is the rapid shifting of attention from one task to another. That is what creates the illusion that you are performing them concurrently.
Workplace demands often create the perceived need to continually switch tasks. Unfortunately, that makes people less efficient. When you suspend one task to undertake another, you end up carrying baggage from your previous work into the next undertaking, and the desired results are diminished. In short, it is more productive, more fulfilling, and less time-consuming to concentrate on one task and, if possible, to complete it before undertaking a new one.
- Block uninterrupted time to work on important improvements.
(re)Focus on being better at the beginning of each day. Start by identifying the most significant work, tasks, and projects that you need to accomplish. Schedule a specific time to work on them, rather than attempting them between other tasks.
(re)Focus means you know what is important, and you recognize that you can be easily distracted and diverted if you don’t commit time to concentrating on doing the work.
- Make (re)Focus an ongoing process
We need to constantly check the things we’re focused on to make sure they are the best and highest-priority items on our agenda. As the speed of change increases, so, too, does our need to (re)focus. What made sense last week might not make nearly as much sense this week. Clients, colleagues, our employers— they all change their focus, and that has an impact on us. It isn’t enough to be focused if you aren’t in sync with the changing focus of those who depend on you.