I want to have an important conversation with you about ‘focus.’ It was just the other day when I had a coaching client say to me, “Colin, I have so much going on at work. I’ve got distractions, I’ve got emails, I’ve got people asking me for my time… How do I get focused in the midst of all of this?”
I’ve heard a lot of great advice about productivity over the years, like “get focused” but how do you actually do it? Many people say you should get focused, but I haven’t heard someone tell me HOW! So I’ve done that for you… I think there are three key elements to ‘focus.’
Let me introduce you to what I call the Structure of Focus.
1. A clear task — It’s a specific outcome or task that you’re trying to achieve. Sometimes people say, “I want to get a project done” but that’s not really a clear task. A specific task might be making three phone calls or sending out a specific email. You need a specific task that the brain can focus on.
2. A distraction-free environment — For you, it might be a cafe; you’ve got some buzz in the background or it might be a meeting room where you’re not going to get distracted.
3. A set time frame — Rather than saying “I’m going to work for six hours or seven hours today” — I would suggest: for ninety or fifty minutes, you work on a specific thing. Set an actual countdown timer on your iPhone (not a stop watch as it has no alarm).
I’ve built a Venn model for this. Let me explain it:
When you’ve got a clear task and a distraction-free environment, what you get is clarity, so you’re able to concentrate. When you’ve got a distraction-free environment and you’ve also got a set time frame, what that creates is flow; in other words, you’ve got the right amount of time to get absorbed in your task. When you’ve got a set time frame and you’ve also got a clear task, that creates hustle; in other words, you’re not procrastinating — you’re getting things done.
When you have a sense of clarity, flow and hustle, you will have real focus.
That’s today’s tip.
Question: What is your biggest distraction? Please share this in the comments below.
Look forward to speaking to you soon. Look after yourself.