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The Power of Focus for Business Success

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How many books, posts, blogs, you name it, have you heard talking about the need for focus in business? Quite a few, I’m willing to bet!

So when (in a galaxy long ago, and far away) I was flying in the Navy, I learned that I had to maintain a very careful balance between focusing on the task at hand, and being aware of everything that was going on around me. Too much focus on one, to the negligence of the other, usually did not have the desired outcome!

Today I’m going to talk about focus as I’ve seen it apply with my coaching clients.  At the simplest level, focus determines what my clients see and more importantly, what they don’t see. What we focus upon determines what we get done and what we are able to ignore often determines how quickly, or how well, or both, we get those things done. That is the good part of the focus. The not-so-good part is when our focus causes just the opposite. We do the wrong things, or we don’t get them done well, or quickly, because we’ve focused on the wrong things.

A business person who lacks appropriate focus is someone who likely has a deficiency in one or several business areas. Today I want to walk you through the whys and hows of focus in the context of running a business.

I love these two definitions of focus:

  • the center of interest or activity
  • the state or quality of having or producing a clear definition of success

The first speaks of where our attention should be at a given time and the second positions the word as a goal. The cool thing is that one definition leads to the other. Focus on core business tasks from a clear planning process will lead to desired business results. On that note…

Big Goals, Small Tasks

I bet you’ve heard this one at least once in your life – “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” A big goal can be intimidating if you look at it and go after it all at once. The trick here is to break your big business goals into smaller pieces. From there you will put all your focus on one task at a time, and the Next Actions in the moment. After a certain amount of time, you’d find that all your completed small tasks resulted in the reaching of a big goal.

ANYTHING that we accomplish that consists of more than one Next Action follows this process. The key to making it work with consistency is recognizing that it works better when we are intentional and conscious of what we are doing, as opposed to just moving from task to task in reaction to our business environment. And that’s not as easy.

Now, not all tasks will feel small because some tasks are simply hard undertakings. Avoid discouragement when the going gets tough (Google what Michael Jordan said about his success as a basketball player for a perspective). It presents an opportunity for you to break the hard task into smaller subtasks, and then focus on the subtasks one by one. And like the example above, the completion of the smaller subtasks will result in the completion of a hard task. Focus is a lot about planning and perspective.

The Power of Lists

A plan isn’t complete if it doesn’t contain a written list of goals, tasks, and Next Actions. Making that list is the first step in getting it out of your head and into the real world. Focus on making your lists realistic as possible to avoid task fatigue and to give yourself a pause when you work through it. Focus on completing two or three core tasks a day. Doing so will give you a sense of accomplishment without all the stress of trying to get it all done in a day.

The Myth of Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking is an evil conspiracy born of having multiple windows (tabs) open on our computer screens! Sure, sometimes you have to do it, but it shouldn’t be done as a practice. Some entrepreneurs brag about how much they can juggle at one time, but they fail to think about if they’re doing any of the tasks well. Your list is populated one item at a time, so you should execute it in the same manner. Delegating tasks to other team members is another wise business activity that can keep you from attempting multi-tasking (the best way to eat an elephant is to invite some people to have an elephant-eating party!)

Focus Methods

Let’s dig into a few focus methods. There are many methods out there that can have a positive impact on your business and the following have been shown to work:

The Pomodoro Technique – This technique helps eliminate burnout by suggesting that you take a short break after 25 minutes of focused work. (I must admit that I did not use this focus method while writing this post, but I will be hitting the gym on finishing!)

Brain.fm – For those who like listening to music while working, this is for you. This service/app analyzes your mood and personality and plays instrumental music based on your goal (focus, relax, sleep).

In-office napping – Arianna Huffington is a big fan of sleeping at work. Her philosophy is that you will do your best work after you’re rested (this works best when you actually do it actively, as opposed to waking up with a cramp in your neck in front of your computer screen.)

Limit your tabs – Keep your web browser tabs down to a core few if you work on a computer. Having too many tabs open can present opportunities for distraction and it can slow down your computer.

A business coach can be your focus coach. Focus and accountability go hand in hand. Call on me to help you with your issues with focus in business. Also, many entrepreneurs don’t know what core tasks to focus on! A lot of time is wasted here.

Final tip: Focus on contacting me today!  Call 770-649-6730.

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About

I am an experienced, award-winning coach, focused on successful change in small and medium-sized businesses. Over the last 16 years, I've helped hundreds of individuals in over 100 businesses in 45 different categories to grow their bottom lines, build more effective teams, and return personal time to the leaders of the business. I use my business and coaching experience combined with the practice of industrial-organization psychology to help business leaders, owners, and their teams to develop habits that enable and produce the business performance they seek. For more details, visit https://russhall.actioncoach.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/russellhall-professionalcoach/ or call me at 770.649.6730