3 Steps To Better Focus

What makes a high performer? Why do some people achieve greatness and others get left floundering behind?

When I was working with elite athletes at the AIS and in America, soldiers in the army and more recently with high performers in Telco organizations, I noticed some clear characteristics that set high performers apart. The good news is that it is not all about talent, ability and potential, it’s more to do with how they execute on a daily basis.

The most common characteristic that sets high performers apart is their ability to focus deeply on the tasks that they perform in a day. However as a society we are losing our ability to focus. It seems like the whole world has ADHD. There are three main reasons for this.

1. Attention deficit habit (ADH)

ADH is a condition where the habits in our day are sapping our ability to focus. For example most people leave their email open and every time it alerts us to a new email we stop what we are doing and we go off and check it

What’s the fall out of all these interruptions?

The fall out is a massive reduction in productivity and creativity.

This message is important for anyone working in the telecommunications industry, where the workload is large and the distractions are plenty. Due to distractions and interruptions people rarely get the time to think creatively and come up with innovative ideas and innovation is the lifeblood of this sector.

2. Information Obesity

This is the result of shifting from a physical economy to a digital economy. We are overloaded with information that serves as a huge distraction.

3. Multi-tasking

The greatest enemy of focus is this idea of multitasking, multitasking suggests that you can focus on many things at once. Reality is multi tasking is a very inefficient process and in reality all you are doing is focusing poorly on a number of tasks rather than focusing well on one thing.

So what is the solution? How do we improve our focus? Well there are three simple techniques we can use to have the focus of a high performer.

  1. 1. Control Your Environment. Set up your external world to support focus, turn off the email, turn the phone off, and educate your staff on when you are not to be interrupted.
  2. 2. Formal Practice. An example of a formal practice is meditation. Years ago I thought that meditation was tree hugging, hippie stuff, however a huge amount of evidence shows that meditation has a beneficial impact on our cognitive ability.
  3. 3. Be Present. During the day practice focusing your attention on what ever is in front of you. If you are writing a report focus entirely on that report without thinking of the other things you need to do later in the day.

So often we have conversations and we are not really present. The Telco business world is built on relationships, the greatest complement you can give another person is your undivided attention.

Companies spend millions of dollars a year getting people to build better relationships within an organization. They usually spend this money on personality profiling, isn’t the first step getting them to engage and be present with each other?

In a large Telco, I am working with the CEO who is Universally loved by the staff, when asked about the reason for this admiration the most common response was “because when he talks to me I feel important and I know he is actually interested in what I have to say”.

If you can only work on one of these tips this week, make it that you immerse yourself in the present. I promise your relationships will strengthen, your productivity will shoot up and your customers will be happier. Go forth and focus!

 

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3 Steps To Better Focus

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