I don’t know about you but I really welcome the recent inclusion of focus management in the wider ‘time management’ arena. To be honest, I’ve never really liked calling our courses and learning events on how to help people achieve more in their working day ‘Time Management’. After all as I’ve said to 1000’s of delegates on my courses over the years “Look at the clock up there. Watch the hands going round relentlessly. We can’t really manage time can we? BUT what we can manage is ourselves with respect to the clock. So it’s really all about self management”.
The trouble is, we aim to please our clients and clients for decades have preferred the name ‘Time Management’. So with the validity that’s now being awarded to the concept of focus management, we’ve been able to build this into the title of our programmes too!
So what is focus management all about?
Well, here’s ten of my top tips for keeping that focus throughout the day
A great starting point helps win the race
Be clear on what you have to achieve. Your goals and objectives of your role give you your direction and focus and minimise the risk of being side-tracked. Write these down and keep them close
Have a dumping ground
This is otherwise known as a master list. It contains everything you need to do – I include work and personal tasks. I don’t waste time tarting this list up. It’s messy and it would stress me out if I looked at it every day but it contains all my must do’s at any one point in my life. So nothing gets
lost overall, but it does not steal my focus. Do not use this as a daily to do list. You would not be focussing. You would be freaking out! Read on to see what you should do…
Invest two minutes a day for a daily to-do list
Schedule in where you should be focussing and achieving for about 60% of the day, Leave the rest for unexpected issues, but keep yourself grounded with this list and measure incoming tasks against what you have already committed to do. This helps keep your focus in check. Have a great prioritisation system and apply that relentlessly to your list too.
Apply a great prioritisation system to your daily to-do list
Priorities and focus go hand in glove. You can’t have one without the other
Rejuvenate your flagging spirit
It may sound counter-intuitive, but place some non-work related items on a mini vision board on your workspace. One of the tricks of keeping focus is to rejuvenate your flagging spirits at key times in the day when your biorhythms may be letting you down or you are encountering challenges. A vision board will at a glance remind you of why you really do what you do and spur you on!
Stay true to your vision
I was recently in South Africa and while in Cape Town took a boat trip to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for some of the 27 years he was a prisoner. He stayed true to his cause and relentlessly pursued his vision. It reminded me of the need to have an inspiring vision and persistently maintain your focus on achieving goals, one stage at a time.
If your workplace permits it take headphones to work. I love the trendy wifi ones which don’t mess your hair up and being a Baby boomer, when I am struggling to maintain focus, I pop the headphones in and enjoy a reinvigorating few minutes of 70s/80s music. It works wonders to get me motivated, energised and back on track with my work.
Don’t polish peanuts
Focus management does not mean polishing peanuts. I have to admit I do struggle with this one because I am a perfectionist by nature. But perfectionism and focus are not the same things. Sometimes it is better to take aim, fire, review the results and make any necessary adjustments after.
Don’t wallow in the wrong
By this I mean recognise that most of the time, more things go right than wrong. It’s just that many people wallow in the wrong, and chew over the cud, rather than focusing on all the things that have gone well too. An unrealistic view of the things that have not worked out so well steals our time, wastes our energies, lowers our motivations and skews our focus.
Avoid cherry picking at all costs
Focus management relies on tackling those more challenging jobs and resisting easier, low-hanging fruit. Build in rewards – what we sometimes call ‘doggy-chocs’ to treat yourself when you can prove you have stayed on track.
Oh, and here’s a bonus tip:
Learn to say no in a way that keeps people on side but you on track. After all, you don’t want to go home and realise that you’ve been doing other people’s work rather than your own do you?
If you recognise that more focus would help you and/or your business then get in touch with us and we’ll take through how we can put a great learning event together for you.
Call 0845 165 6269