I’ll admit I’m fascinated by anything that makes us more productive. But that doesn’t mean I’ve always had this whole “time management” thing under control. I have occasionally been guilty of filling my calendar with far too many commitments. Can you relate?
Two levels of focus
This year, I’m committed to being less busy and more focused. But to make this happen, I need to think about focus on both a micro and macro level. As I’ve learned the hard way, we need to address both if we want to corral the “busy” epidemic.
Micro Focusing: On a micro level, focusing means to concentrate fully on the present task. We work faster and the quality of our work is better when we do one thing at a time.
This is a fairly well known concept. However, over half of the time, people are still not focused on their current task, according to one study. This finding hit home for me. I often find myself thinking, “When I’m done this task, I need to do this, that and the other.” I’m constantly thinking two steps ahead, to the detriment of my productivity (and likely my blood pressure as well). While I may not be physically multi-tasking, I seem to be mentally multi-tasking.
This year, I am only allowing myself to consider the present task. And for anyone worried they will forget about the other tasks, I recommend making a list. After all, your memory is not your to do list.
Macro Focusing: On a macro level, focusing means dedicating your time to a small number of high-impact activities. If you think you’re focused, but still find you’re too busy, you likely need to get better at macro focusing.
Many people say yes to too many good things. But an abundance of good things get in the way of a select number of awesome things. As executive coach Marisa Murray says, everything we tackle should be on our “immensely proud” list. All the so-so “maybes” distract us from doing our most important work.
A good way to gauge how good you are at macro focus is to consider how much time you spend on top priorities. You can apply the following exercise to both your work and personal life.
|Top Goals||How much time do I spend on this goal?|
|Just right||Some||Too little|
|1. Lead great client training programs||✔
|2. Further refine content and materials||✔
|3. Make training more accessible online||✔
This exercise clearing shows where I need to focus more time. This awareness will help me get better at protecting my time. And it will remind me to say no to tempting distractions.
Are you trying to be more focused in 2017? If so, what is your strategy? What are you struggling with? Please add your comments below so we can all learn from one another. I truly believe, if we can find our focus, we will all live more fulfilling lives.