Focus looks hard at one thing.
Focus is specific not vague and that’s the source of its power.
Focus exposes the details at levels necessary to cognition…makes the object or task known.
In life, many of us are just not detail focused. We often like to think we know what we need to do but then we find ourselves easily distracted, sometimes even productively so. This is not a time management problem per se, but it may very well be an attitude challenge.
Put yourself into the picture
Left to my own inclinations, the tasks that I consistently do complete are habitual, routine. But these tasks also occupy my comfort zone, prove reassuring and support my sense of what’s important and even maintain my basic level of confidence. I accomplish less when I avoid loosely defined tasks that require more confidence or raise doubts about my ability. These feelings create unnecessary fear that focus can disspell. Breaking a less appealing task into small doable steps makes completion easy as long as I specify my role and focus on the actions necessary to the step. The level of specificity required will be clear when the unconscious fears disappear and gives way to progress.
To do lists sound great, but to get them finished, make them specific. If an outside observer can recognize its completion, chances are that the steps you need to take are sufficiently detailed. If not, add more steps. If you make a habit of detailing the steps in your to do lists, you’ll be surprised by how much more you accomplish. Focus on details to get to larger tasks.
Want to help a Job seeker? Help unravel their to do lists with more specific steps than the usual: Find listings, network, write resume.
None of these items detail how its going to happen and the absence of focus limits progress. Offer to help them createe a system for checking listings, or track their contacts or break their resume into a more flexible matrix, that makes it easier for them to generate a resume that matches employers special needs. Help them break down the steps.
When we know what’s expected than it’s easier to make it happen. Lists aren’t a bad way to start the day, but it may be better still to itemize and yes plan it.
Do you take a moment at the start or end of your day to regroup, look at what you have accomplished and then set your intentions clearly? Try it.
Armed with a detailed list, helps you value your time, honor your intentions. With every completed step, you’ll have more energy, get closer to realizing your goals which leads to feeling better about yourself.
This same inertia plays out at the organizational level with equally predictable results. Less detail, less progress, or detail at one level and no connection to the larger goal.
Strategic planning sessions typically get teams to think hard about their mission, and what they expect to accomplish. The Plan identifies focus areas but rarely includes the details sufficient to recognize progress toward completion over time. If the focus is all about the effort and not on the benefits, the results desired become harder to achieve. Great lengths may be spent on estimating the resources and timetables with little effort spent on breaking the tasks into measurable accomplishments that connect to the larger goal.
Strategic planning is an art, but with focus, focus and focus great things happen!