Besides the fact that they are both billionaires and have built iconic companies, they have more in common than you’d think. The two men, who are friends, were being interviewed for an HBO Documentary on Buffett. When they were asked what the one thing was that has contributed most to their success, they each wrote down their answer where the other could not see. When their answers were revealed, both men had written one word: FOCUS.
Buffet goes on to explain that when it comes to focus, deciding what to focus on is the key. “If your attention is being pulled all over the place, it is important to realize this and focus on the truly important things.” Mr. Buffet suggests that having a “NOT to-do list” is as important as having a “to-do” list. Setting priorities is essential.
Steve Jobs agreed when he spoke at his developers conference. Apple’s thinking is simple: It focuses on one thing and doesn’t get distracted by anything else. He goes on to say he was more proud of what they chose NOT to do than what they decided to do.
Cal Newport, in Deep Work, writes an entire book about the need to focus and get into a mode of “Deep Work” to achieve great things. The subtitle says it all, Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. Focus is really a vital key to our success in business and in our personal lives.
If you follow my blogs, you may be asking why I’m writing about FOCUS again. The answer is simple: we are overwhelmed with distractions in the world today. If we don’t find simple, practical, and easy ways to bring focus into our daily lives it will be nearly impossible to reach our personal objectives. Knowing how to focus and what to focus on are vital to our success.
I’m focused already. How much more focused can I get?
You certainly may be totally focused, and if you are, congratulations! Find out for sure by asking yourself these few questions:
If you answered yes to any two of these four, I believe you are significantly distracted and lack focus.
Here’s what you can do about it: know what you want, why you want it, and how you are going to go about getting what you want. Or in other words, it requires completing the first three steps of “The 8 Steps to Success.”
Here’s an exercise to help you take those first three steps:
What do you want to do, be, and have? What do you like to do? What are you good at doing? What do you have the opportunity to do? What have others said about what you want to do? Use a roadmap of questions like this to come to a conclusion.
Now ask again, and again, and again until you get down to the root of the matter. Knowing WHY gives you fuel to keep going during the challenging times.
NOW we’re getting into focus. You can’t do it all. You need to set priorities and choose two or three strategies (that is, two or three “how’s”).
Once you know these things, you can begin to focus.
For me, the thing that keeps me focused is my weekly planning system, which generates a very specific set of simple, easy, and practical tasks that I have to do each day. Those tasks support my strategies (from step three). I’d never know what those strategies are unless I complete steps one and two.
If I remain true to my daily plan, then I must be focused on the most important things in my life.
And you know what? Since I’ve implemented the eight steps in my life, I have more freedom, more satisfaction, and more fun than I have ever had! Heck, I have a daily plan for my days off just like I do for my days at work!
Best wishes! I hope you can say the same thing about fun and satisfaction after implementing the eight steps in your life.
Thanks for listening,