Over the course of a typical day, week or month we always have things to get done. We also have an equal amount of things that can best be described as “distractions”. You know, the “stuff” that gets in the away and pulls us in every which way other than the right way. Unfortunately, more times than not we get pulled into solving someone else’s problem or worse yet we get “seduced” (what a great word) by the “shiny object” syndrome: something that looks good but does no good.
There will always be distractions and “shiny objects”. Our challenge is in how we not only fight them off but how we condition ourselves not to be tempted in the first place. Here are the 5 simple steps you can take to condition yourself to stay focused and get the “right” things done:
- Start each day with this question: What is the one thing that I can/should do today that will get me closer to my goal or desired result? Work on that thing during the day and complete it.
- Create a one-time list of all high-value activities or projects. High-value projects are those that help you achieve your goals and keep your organization on track to realize the vision you have for it. High-value tasks are those that increase revenue growth and profitability.
- Create a daily list of things to do. Work on the high-value task first, even if it’s only a part of a major project, then work on your daily list. It will feel good when you get to check something off as “done”.
- Take small, less than 10 minute breaks during the day (maybe 2 or 3) and use them to first change the scenery and clear your mind, and then to give yourself the opportunity to validate that you are working on the right things; the things that are high value and the best use of your time and skills.
- Learn to say “no” to those trivial things (and they are trivial) that drain you of time and focus. You know what they are. The silly stuff that “looks or sounds good” but does “no good”.