By Paramjit L. Mahli
I’ve been thinking of writing a blog post on the power of focus for quite some time. Truth be known I have a pet peeve, when I am on the telephone I know when people are multi-tasking. It gets my goat…because they are not present for the conversation which means they are not listening. We are losing the ability to focus for periods of time. I know I have difficulty focusing on anything for more than 20 minutes. We are going to be if not already a society riddled with ADD. While doing additional research, I came a across an article on Mashable which absolutely confirmed my gut on our lack of focus and our array of distractions.
Some findings from Mashable:
Most of us who work in front of computers are distracted every 10 minutes. That is correct you read right, every ten minutes.
67% will check their emails on a date!
The biggie: multi-tasking causes a 40% drop in productivity, resulting in a loss of 2.1 hours daily 546 annually. (I did some quick math dividing this by 8 hours. That’s 68 days of business development lost!)
So now I come to the original post, in order to accomplish any objectives you set, you have to focus. Not rocket science, but common sense.
Specifically, you have to be able to focus on the things that are essential to your business. Simply put that means getting the right things done. Think for a moment about the business owner who is seduced by the bright shiny objectives, they are in a consistent state of un-focus. Typically, this person is scouring the landscape and seeing what their peers/competition are doing. They often copy same business development tactics without the same results. When they don’t get the same results this is where they become disheartened.
On the other hand, the focused business owner concentrates on the essential and is consistently asking: “what’s the next baby step I can take to make my vision of success for my business a reality?” Just how focused are you?
Take a second and think about the following questions:
- Are you easily bored when you’re not in front of your computer?
- Do you find it difficult to focus on a single task for more than an hour? Time yourself, I dare you.
- Can you sit and read a book or a long magazine article without reaching for the computer or mobile phone?
- Do you run out of patience with long, in-depth, nuanced discussions of certain topics? Can you have a conversation on the phone for 20 minutes without multi-tasking?
If you said yes to any of these questions, you might be vulnerable to threats to your attention and focus. It means you have distractions surrounding you that make you busy – not a productive use of time.
Because the fact of the matter is distractions can make you feel like you’re accomplishing things, when in reality you are not. See the earlier post on Getting Things Done or Spinning Your Wheels. What these distractions tend to do is sap your energy and your concentration while you get nothing done.
Mastering the ability to focus is critical to success; otherwise, you will become a slave to distraction. Focus is at the heart of your ability to develop a sound strategy for your business or practice. Clients tell me all the time they have big cases on the horizon and they don’t have any time to focus on business development activities. My answer is always the same. It’s about consistent actions, translation…baby steps. Find that extra 30 minutes when you can follow up.
When you stay focused, it allows you to create leverage within your business. All smart business development has to be leveraged. Losing focus leads to procrastination and delays. When your attention is distracted too much, you begin to miss deadlines because you’re not following through and getting things done. You spend too much time juggling activities of little importance to your ultimate success, and this creates its own problems. It negatively impacts your ability to get customers, and furthermore, diminishes your ability to keep them.
Be 100% honest with yourself, and then resolve to get help so that your business continues moving forward