Since the 1960’s in Australia we have enjoyed a level of prosperity that means most people in our society have all the basic material things they need. The greater challenge has become knowing what to focus on from all the options around us. FOMO (fear of missing out) means we hate saying ‘No’ to anything just in case.
Focus is not so much about saying ‘No’, rather it is saying an absolute and resolute ‘Yes’ to pursuing a goal, a plan, a vision, a dream. It is the ability to zero in on what is important to you to the exclusion of everything else in a way that almost makes everything else cease to exist at least in that moment of time.
5 Keys to Help You Focus
- Know what you want! I recently heard Sir Richard Branson interviewed. The thing that stood out to me as a key to his success was that from age 15 he knew exactly what he wanted to do and found a way to do it. His story is a brilliant example of clear focus and creative action leading to extraordinary success. Take the time to write down what you want into a clear vision.
- Make a business plan. It is said, ‘a vision without a plan is just a dream’. I.e. unlikely to happen. We are much more likely to commit to the level of action required to bring a vision to pass when we have a clear written plan. Any business plan needs to be well thought out but the final document needs to be simple and clear. You need a one page document which help you focus every day. This then needs to be transferred into action steps in your schedule each 90 days.
- Focus on the important things! Mike Tyson is reported to have said, ‘Plans are great until you get punched in the face’. A good plan will help you prepare for potential challenges. After something happens you need to deal with any contingencies and then refocus on your plan. A good way to approach every day is to ask yourself, ‘What are the 3 things I must do today that will take my business forwards?’.
- Focus leads to action! Learn to be wise, to discern the heart of the matter, not just all the peripheral issues. There is no shortage of information these days but there is often a shortage of wisdom about what is important. This is where I find it so valuable to work with a business mentor to help me keep perspective in the fast changing marketplace. A mentor also helps keep me accountable when I get tired and lazy and start to avoid taking action that will take you forward.
- Regularly set deadlines! It is amazing how focus is easier and how much we get done before we go on holidays or have an immovable deadline. Work easily expands to fill the time available and focus can become clouded. A ‘fog buster’ exercise is to have an hour of power – list 6 things you need to focus on and spend 10 minutes on each for the next hour. You will be amazed how much you get done, and the clarity and motivation that will kick in.
If you are going to achieve anything great in this highly competitive world you must learn to focus.
So, how focused are you?