Focus

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I speak at a lot of internet marketing events about mindset.
One of the main areas that I see people have challenges is focus.

Two people may both perceive themselves to be equally busy but both may have very different results depending on their focus. One may have laser sighted focus on an outcome that will leave them fulfilled, the other may be distracted by the next shiny object that appears or the next seemingly urgent email in their inbox. Both may be busy, both may expend the same energy but they will feel very differently at the end of the day.

I think it is incredibly important to set goals on a regular basis so that you know what you want to focus on. You have a target in mind and can easily measure whether you are on track or not. You can ask the question – “Does this task move me closer to my goal?” If obstacles come in the way then because the outcome is clear you find a solution to get to your goal. Without this clear goal an obstacle will merely encourage you to switch paths to something easier and indulge in dabbling (which seems to be a chronic problem at the moment).

I say to these internet marketers, would you rather have 1 website built 100% or 100 websites built 1%. Both outcomes have used the same effort but one will bring results the other does not. A lot of people are in the 100 things done to 1% category. They quit too early.

So what is the solution? Stephen Covey in his book ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’ talks about focussing your time on activities that are Important to you but Not Urgent. Important means that they meet core emotions that are important to you (your blueprint). Not Urgent means it doesn’t HAVE to be done right now, I am choosing when to do it. These are the foundation blocks of your life. If you complete activities in this area you will feel fulfilled.

Inevitably we have tasks that are both Important and Urgent but too much in this area will leave you stressed and exhausted. Better planning and being proactive can eliminate tasks in this area.

Covey talks about two other sectors that can lead to distraction or lack of focus. Urgent and Not Important – usually these are tasks required by other people and do not meet your needs. Learn to delegate or to simply say “no” to these tasks. Finally the Not Urgent Not important sector or escape activities. These are not fulfilling and represent an escape from stress/overwhelm. What would you rather do? An activity that was Important to you or Not Important to you? Escape activities are stealing time from activities you could be doing in the Important Not Urgent category that you actually find fulfilling. Escape activities are usually obtainable but won’t sustain you.

So block out time for Important Not Urgent activities and focus on them. You inevitably will have tasks that are Important Urgent but the more you focus on the former category the less of these urgent activities you should get.

Finally another way we can lose focus is being distracted by exciting new things which I call “shiny pennies”. I was taught this concept by my business mentor Keith J Cunningham. It is very simple. When you see something new and exciting that you like the look of but it isn’t part of your core activity for the day, store it away in your shiny penny jar. I have a folder on my computer that I store new things in or you could write it on paper and physically put it in a jar. Then once a week I have a time slot of a few hours where I can look at all of the shiny pennies. Some may then make it onto my core activity list for future weeks, others were just enjoyable pennies to stimulate my mind.

Time blocking like this and focussing on your core outcomes will not only make you more efficient, it will also make you more fulfilled.

As Tony Robbins says “Where focus goes energy flows.” Use your energy wisely.

Thank you for reading.

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