For the majority of us, the power to focus on one task at a time and see it through to completion is not an innate gift. Focus is a learned response, so if we want to achieve the professional, personal and social goals we imagine, we have to first learn how to focus on what we want.
We now live in a frenetic, activity-filled, multi-tasking, instant gratification society, so it is easy to get lost in the distractions that bombard us from every angle.
How many times have you found yourself on the phone talking to a client, while reading your emails, hitting the “Reply” button and then typing out a response? Where is your focus while you are completing a number of individual tasks at the same time?
Focus requires that we learn to differentiate between the “urgent” and the “important” tasks. Urgent tasks are distractions that cause us, albeit subconsciously, to put off or delay the important projects. And it’s the important tasks that lead us to our objectives and goals.
Responding to urgent emails, answering the phone, or checking your pager can all be categorized as urgent tasks. We are conditioned to believe that these urgent tasks require our instant attention because they keep us busy and make us feel important and needed.
We think, “This will only take a minute,” when, in fact, urgent tasks can often take a lengthy amount of “minutes” to complete.
What will you do differently today, tomorrow, this week, to make sure your focus is on the activities that put you in the highest probability position to achieve your goals – personal and professional?