I’ve always been told that time is the most valuable resource but I’ve learned the true invaluable resource is FOCUS.
Just as an example-I’ve attempted to write this article at least seven times today but have stopped to take a call, answer an “urgent” email or handle some other form of focus-sucking action item. Many of us are constantly bombarded with interruptions that drain our focus and we relinquish our ability to be truly effective in our job.
Dr. Jim Taylor, Sports Psychologist and contributor for the HuffPost, suggests focus is is the gateway to business success:
Focus is so important because it is the gateway to all thinking: perception, memory, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Without good focus, all aspects of your ability to think will suffer. Without focus, you won’t be as effective in your work because if you’re not concentrating on the right things or are distracted, you won’t be capable of getting your work done.
When working through the Sprint Recruiting methodology, the one benefit I kept noticing was the added focus the team and I had on key roles. Rather than simply chasing fires, we began evolving to become more deliberate and tactical in our recruiting efforts. Our time to fill decreased as we began focusing on a limited number of key roles to “move the needle”.
I began taking this notion of focus into my personal life as well. I have been using the time blocking method discussed in numerous books to chart my week. I’ve reintroduced ToDoist in my routine to help dump those pesky items that come to mind so I can keep my focus and still remain productive. At the end of the week, I’ve begun leveraging a weekly review to help me do a brain dump of everything that went well that week so I can find ways to scale these practices going forward. I also spend some time identifying what didn’t work so I can create a plan to avoid these pitfalls the following week.
With only a minor tweak or two, I have been able to cut down on the noise of life and focus. Not only have I seen an increase in productivity but I have also experienced a decline in mental exhaustion at the end of the day.
So if you feel a little overwhelmed with life, try working on your focus. Start small and maybe work in bursts during the day, only an hour or two to ease into the practice. You may become addicted to the progress you make!