How To Focus On What’s Important

Success – however you define it – comes from the achievement of significant goals. Focus is crucial for success because it helps us prioritize effectively, work efficiently, make better decisions, maintain consistency, achieve mastery, and ultimately accomplish our goals. By harnessing the power of focus, we can unlock our full potential and maximize our chances of success in all aspects of life.

Title Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Sarah and Her Need to Focus

Meet Sarah, a project manager who has been assigned to oversee the development of a critical software application for her company. The deadline is approaching, and the project has a lot riding on its successful completion. Sarah understands the significance of the task and demonstrates great dedication and focus. At least, she does at first.

However, as the project progresses, Sarah’s focus begins to waver. She starts getting involved in other tasks that are not directly related to the project. For instance, she spends considerable time attending non-essential meetings, responding to unnecessary e-mails, and engaging in unrelated discussions with colleagues.

The project work gradually becomes more stressful and Sarah finds herself easily distracted by social media platforms as a way to relieve the stress. She starts checking her phone more frequently, responding to messages, and browsing through various feeds during work hours. These distractions cause her to lose track of time and divert her attention away from the project, making the stress grow. It seems she has forgotten the need to focus on what’s important.

As Sarah’s focus diminishes, her productivity and efficiency decline. She starts missing important project milestones, failing to provide necessary guidance to the development team, and making errors in her decision-making. The quality of the work suffers, and the project starts falling behind schedule.

Colleagues and team members notice Sarah’s lack of focus and become concerned. They try to offer support and remind her of the project’s importance, but Sarah struggles to regain her initial level of dedication and concentration.

Ultimately, the consequences of Sarah’s lost focus become apparent. Because she forgot to focus on what’s important, her project misses its deadline, resulting in financial losses for the company, and Sarah’s reputation as a project manager takes a hit.

When You Lose Focus

In our fast-paced and demanding lives, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves losing focus on important tasks. Whether it’s the overwhelming number of responsibilities or the allure of distractions, maintaining concentration can be a challenge. But to create an Excelerated Life™, you and I must consistently focus on what’s important. Let’s explore why focus is crucial and delve into practical steps to regain and maintain it.

Why You Need Focus

“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one” ~ Russian Proverb

As we’ve discussed before, you already have more to do than you can get done. There are always more chores, more tasks, and more opportunities . . . more than we can ever do.

With more tasks than time, it becomes essential to focus on what’s important. Obviously, we must know in advance what our priorities are, what’s important for us. As the Russian proverb wisely states, chasing two rabbits simultaneously will leave us empty-handed. Focus allows us to channel our energy into one pursuit, increasing our chances of success.

Otherwise, we’ll be like a kid in a candy store (or me in the bakery), running from one delicious product to another and finding it nearly impossible to select the one we’ll like best. You must see the opportunities but then select and focus on the one most important to you.

Small Steps To Help Regain and Maintain Focus

To help you reclaim and retain your focus on what’s important, consider implementing these steps:

  1. Do less. Simplify your to-do list by eliminating non-essential tasks. Prioritize activities that align with your BIG (Bold-Important-Gratifying) goals, shedding the unnecessary weight that hampers your focus.
  2. Finish what you begin. Cultivate a habit of completing tasks before moving on to the next. This practice instills discipline and prevents distractions from derailing your progress.
  3. Shield yourself from interruptions and distractions. Minimize external disruptions by creating a focused work environment. Silence your phone, disable e-mail notifications, and establish boundaries to safeguard your concentration.
  4. Have a plan. Outline clear objectives and develop a roadmap to achieve them. Break down complex tasks into smaller, manageable steps to enhance clarity and maintain a sense of progress.
  5. GYLIO – get your life in order. Prioritize personal organization by dealing with tolerations, simplifying routines, and automating necessary tasks. A decluttered environment allows for better mental focus and minimizes distractions.
focus on what's important

Meeting Your Deadline – A Focusing Example

Imagine you have a quarterly report due in two weeks but, like Sarah, you have suffered from an inability to control your focus. In the past, you have procrastinated and given too much time and attention to tasks of low importance. You attended meetings that were not directly related to your job, and like many of us, you got lost in e-mail trivia and social media silliness. This time, however, your boss has hinted strongly (i.e., told you straight out) that another late or inadequate report will impact your annual review. Fortunately, you recently read a blog (this one in fact) with suggestions for improving your focus.

You begin by getting your life in order, at least for the near future while you work on your report. You clean off your desk, clear those unnecessary meetings off your calendar, and oil your squeaky chair that caused you to grit your teeth every time you sat down.

Then you make a plan. You gather the data and figures you need for the report and develop a list of the important facts you want to highlight. You create an outline for the report and set a goal of doing one small part of the report each day for the next seven days. Then you work on those daily goals first thing every day and stick with them till you complete that day’s section.

You consciously choose to let go of several less important tasks that can be done after your report is complete so you have fewer tasks to focus on. During this work time, you silence your phone, turn off e-mail notifications, and establish a “Do Not Disturb” policy during your work sessions.

Success! You finish your report three days before it is due. By following your plan diligently, you complete the report ahead of the deadline, allowing time for review and ensuring accuracy. Afterward, your boss commends you on delivering the best quarterly report he’s seen in a long time, acknowledging your improved focus and dedication.

How to Focus on What’s Important for Your BIG Goal

Now over to you. How are you progressing on your BIG (Bold-Important-Gratifying) goal? (You do have a BIG goal, correct? If not, maybe you should look here first!) Do you need to sharpen your focus a bit? Take a notepad or your journal and write down your answers to these questions.

First, GYLIO – get your life in order. You don’t need to do a complete reorganization (although you might if you are way off your game) but handle the immediate things that might be distracting you. Clean off your desk. Deal with any annoyances that are nibbling away at your attention. Use routines and rituals to automate necessary chores and tasks. What is one thing you could do to get your life in order, so you can better focus on your BIG goal?

Then, make a plan. Perhaps you have a plan for your BIG goal. If so, what do you need to do for the next step? If you don’t yet have a plan, start with the WOOP process.

Shield yourself from distractions. Silence your phone, turn off e-mail notifications, and post a “Do Not Disturb” sign during your work sessions. What is most distracting for you? What do you need to do to limit these distractions?

Do less. What are some things you do that have less importance, value, or impact? Can you stop doing them? Do less of them? Delegate to someone?

Finally, finish what you begin. Every day, I write in my journal: “Small steps lead to the goal BUT you must take the steps.” What do you need to put in place so that you can complete a tiny step toward your BIG goal every day?

The Importance of Focus

Excelerated Focus™ works hand-in-hand with the other practices of Excelerated Goal Setting™. It helps us identify and prioritize our most important tasks and goals and allows us to allocate our time, energy, and resources to the activities that have the greatest impact on our success.

When we concentrate our attention on a specific task or goal, we work more efficiently and effectively. By eliminating distractions and maintaining focus, we optimize our productivity. Maintaining focus allows us to stay committed and consistent in our efforts. It helps us resist the temptation of distractions and overcome obstacles or setbacks, fostering resilience and persistence in the pursuit of our goals.

Success – however you define it – comes from the achievement of significant goals. Focus ensures that our actions align with our goals and that we remain dedicated to their attainment. It keeps us on track, allowing us to make progress and reach our desired outcomes.

Focus is crucial for success because it helps us prioritize effectively, work efficiently, make better decisions, maintain consistency, achieve mastery, and ultimately accomplish our goals. By harnessing the power of focus, we can unlock our full potential and maximize our chances of success in all aspects of life. And that’s how you embrace your Excelerated Life™!

How has a lack of focus impacted you and the pursuit of your BIG goal?
What is one step you could take today to sharpen your
Excelerated Focus™?
Share your experience by leaving a comment below.

Excelerated Focus™ — aligning your actions with your true desires — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.

Read more about the Excelerated Life.

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