Change Designs Member LOGIN

Change Designs


By Ruth Tearle

jumping-hoopsWhen last did you have time to be bored? To be creative? To think? To dream? To focus your full attention on a single challenge? To achieve something great?

The irony of our instant, networked age is that in spite of our time saving technologies such as mobile phones, face book, twitter, e-mails and the internet, most people are busier and more stressed than ever before. With the demand for instant communication and instant results, many of us have lost our focus. Constantly jumping through hoops, we find ourselves working harder and longer hours, and achieving less.

5 reasons why we need to focus


1. To reduce stress

If you have an every growing checklist of things to do, and not enough time to do them in - then you clearly need to redefine your focus.

Without a focus, there are no boundaries. The more competent we are, the more other people will ask us to help them. Without a clear focus, it is hard to say "No" to others. So people keep giving us things that no one else wants to do. Before long, we find our days consumed by busy work.

"If you want something done, give it to a busy person."

We find ourselves jumping to meet other people's needs, and expectations. No one ever thinks about what WE want. No matter how hard we work, our 'to-do' lists just keep growing and we find ourselves feeling a touch resentful.

We respond by burying our feelings of dissatisfaction, and working longer hours. We try to fit more into our days. We get into the habit of multi-tasking. After a while, we find it hard to focus our full attention on any one thing. Constantly disturbed, we rarely complete a task perfectly. Going back to fix errors creates even more work. Instead of shrinking, our to-do list grows. We become more stressed. We find it harder and harder to focus. We become flustered. We become candidates for burnout.

2. To have more time to do things that matter.

Often we invest our precious energy into things that don't matter. We spend time on people and tasks that simply pass the time, rather than help us to achieve our goals or dreams. We forget to follow the Pareto principle. Coined the 'vital few and trivial many', by Dr. Joseph Juran, this principle recognizes that 80% of our best results comes from 20% of the work we do.

To be successful, follow the 80/20 principle.
This means we find ourselves spending 80% of our time on work that doesn't help us to achieve at all. Which is why we often feel so frustrated.

By getting a clear focus on the 20% that will give us 80% benefit, and by either delegating or saying NO to the 80% of tasks that don't help our cause, we can achieve far more, with far less effort.

3. To achieve better quality results.

focusSports professionals, artists and philosophers know that for peak performance, one needs to be in a state of relaxed concentration. Known as 'being centred', it involves freeing the mind from all distractions, worries, fears or unrelated thoughts.

This allows one to focus totally on the task at hand. Being focused rather than allowing oneself to be distracted, can mean the difference between performing flawlessly, or losing.

"The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." Bruce Lee

Similarly, at work, there are tasks that seem impossible to achieve when we are stressed or distracted - e.g. like writing a report, a proposal or putting together a budget. Yet when we are in a state of relaxed concentration, we can achieve the same task quickly and easily. When we are so focused, and are not aware of anything else happening around us, we get into a flow, and the task almost seems to get done by itself. What is even more amazing, is that the quality of work done in a state of relaxed concentration is far superior to the work we do when we are distracted.

4. To have a balanced life.

There is a saying, "Work smarter, not harder."

go-fishingBy saying "No" to distractions, we can focus our full attention on the 20% of tasks that will give us the best results. By not doing everything that everyone wants us to do, we will have more time for things that relax us. Sports, hobbies, family and friends. A balanced life, means we are more relaxed. In turn, we perform better at work.

5. To move mountains

Being focused means that:

That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. Steve Jobs
  • We are able to do less, and achieve more.
  • We can communicate what we are trying to achieve, simply to others.
  • It is easier to motivate others to support us, because they can easily understand what we are trying to achieve.
  • We have more time to spend on planning and following up.
  • We begin to do things 'right the first time.'
  • We are more relaxed. We start enjoying our work.
  • Others are influenced by our positive energy and want to work with us.
  • We are seen as achievers.
  • We have more power to negotiate the type of work we want to do, or the projects we want to work on. Our work becomes more meaningful.
  • We become one of those lucky people who "do what they love, and love what they do."

How to achieve focus and negotiate your priorities.

If you need to:

  • Get control over your time.
  • Set personal boundaries.
  • Focus on what will make you powerful and fulfilled.
  • Negotiate priorities with your boss, your colleagues or your family
  • Plan your time and your diary, so that you can achieve what you want in your life.

we have developed a set of cloud based tools to make it easy for you :

They consist of five practical tools to help you bring the focus back into your work and personal life. Click on a tool and complete it before clicking on the next tool.

These cloud based tools means you can access your work, anytime, anywhere from your iPhone, iPad, laptop or computer. This makes them ideal for people on the move.

The tools are for members only.

Use these tools will help you to:

  1. Do a Value-For-Time analysis.
  2. Set personal boundaries.
  3. Create a personal vision.
  4. Identify your focus areas.
  5. Create a time budget and plan your diary. Stick to your plan.

This will pin this article to the community board for guests or to your own private board for members who are logged in.

Change Designs
provides resources on Leadership,  Strategic Planning, Change Management, OD ... for organizations, teams & individuals.
Use our member guides & tools to solve problems & achieve success at work.

Customer Service

return to top home
RSSRSS feed for new articles and products from Change Designs

© Change Designs 2011. All rights reserved. The reproduction of any content or material contained in this website is expressly reserved to Change Designs CC, under Section 12(7) of the Copyright Act of 1978. Reliance on the information contained in the articles, products and other related content published on this website is done at your own risk and subject to our “terms and conditions”.