Focus: How to Handle Day-to-Day Distractions

Every day, we consume 34 gigabytes of information and over 100,000 words cross our eyes according to a New York Times article. It cites a report called “How Much Information?” by the University of California in San Diego that explores all forms of American communication and consumption. How can we possibly process all of that? How many bytes of information flowed through your phone today? Check your data. Focus is an elusive skill to me; getting things done can be like pulling teeth some days, but I stick with it because of the importance I put on focusing on accomplishing my plan for the day. Focus is actually a skill that can be learned and applied throughout the entire process of pursuing success, but here’s how it applies to navigating your day-to-day success.

My Friend Jill

My friend Jill experienced the need for focus just last month. She is the owner of a small financial practice with 12 employees. On Wednesday morning, Jill started her day as she normally does by opening emails and prioritizing them. One email was in response to a conversation that started seven weeks ago. Another was about a client struggling to file taxes the day before they were due! Jill had three appointments in a row starting in thirty minutes, but her first client already showed up. One of her employees said his computer crashed, and her number one helper just called out sick. Was reading this paragraph distracting? That’s how Jill felt!

Don't Be a Swamp

Before she could even begin her daily checklist, Jill was swamped. Distractions and other people’s priorities can quickly overwhelm us if we don’t know how to apply focus. Lacking focus can leave you unsure where to begin, what to do next, and it can even cause you to lose sight of your initial vision. It’s easy to be confused when you’re bogged down. Lacking focus is like being a swamp. They’re dark and muddier than a molasses old-fashioned, and that’s why we often spin our wheels or get stuck when we’re swamped with distractions. Without focus, I’d want to stay in bed every morning! When your alarm goes off, start your day with an attitude of gratitude and use focus!

Be a River!

With focus, you will know what is and is not important. The more you practice it, the easier it will be to focus on the most important things Always remember that there is a difference between urgency and importance; focus on what is important as much as possible. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself getting things done and getting what you want! To do this, you’ll need to transform from a swamp into a river. Think about that analogy for a minute. Picture the Colorado River, cutting its way across the country and carving out the Grand Canyon over years. Do you wish you had that kind of focus? You can, and with doing so, you’ll be more effective and productive!

Practice this Today:

The key to practicing focus is starting small. Apply it to your daily activities first, and once you’ve found yourself prioritizing, organizing, and delegating accordingly, you’ll be ready to use focus for more steps toward getting what you want. Here’s a practical exercise you can do right now:

Try it out every day this week and let me know how it goes. Read my post “Practice (Plus Coaching) Makes Perfect” if you’re looking to learn the importance of this process. Click here to email me, and let’s talk about how to apply focus to more than just your day-to-day. The growth of your business depends on driving forward like a river!

I look forward to hearing from you,

-Morris Sims