Focus doesn't get the respect it deserves in the business world. We hear a lot about motivation, stress, emotions, leadership, and team culture, but not much attention is paid to the role that focus plays in your ability to be productive. Well, I'm here to change all that.
Let's first start with what focus is. Simply put, focus involves the ability to pay attention to things that will help and avoid distractions that will hurt your work efforts. For example, to finish a report, you need to focus on the relevant information and analyses that will comprise the report. You must also avoid typical distractions such as emails, being hungry or tired, or the people around you.
You Can't Think without Focus
Focus is so important because it is the gateway to all thinking: perception, memory, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Without good focus, all aspects of your ability to think will suffer. Without focus, you won't be as effective in your work because if you're not concentrating on the right things or are distracted, you won't be capable of getting your work done.
You also won't be maximally efficient without good focus because, every time your mind wanders away from your work, you are wasting time. Finally, you won't be as productive as you can because your work output will not be of the highest quality and it will take you longer to do it.
Here's a simple reality: if you can't focus effectively, you can't think effectively. And if you can't think effectively, you definitely can't produce the quality of work necessary to be successful. From this perspective, it's not difficult to see why focus is such an essential tool for business success.
Here's a way you can think of focus in your work, what I call the 'focus progression.' If you focus on your work intently without distraction for the time that is needed, you will do the work that is necessary. If you do the necessary work in a focused way, you will complete the work and a produce a quality product in the shortest amount of time.
How to Focus Better
The key question then is: How can you ensure that you have ideal focus at work that will result in productive and efficient outputs? Here are a few simple steps:
- De-clutter your mind. One thing I'm sure you would agree with is that a cluttered mind can't focus. If your mind is filled with stuff, such as all of the things you need to do today, you won't be able to focus well. So, go through your tasks and prioritize them. If you're like most business people, there are items on your calendar that you can either put off to another day, delegate, or not do at all. Also, clear your mind of anything that doesn't relate to your work such as family stuff (of course, easier said than done). The less clutter you have in your mind, the better you will be able to focus.
If you can take control of your ability to focus and block out distractions, you have given yourself a powerful tool that will enable you to perform at consistently high level and be both effective and efficient in your work efforts. The result: better quality work, more success, and achievement of your professional goals.