“Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.
Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or to the left.”
Focus. Set your mind on that word. What does it mean to be truly focus driven? What does it mean to move towards one overarching goal, and avoid letting the small things get in the way? How can we stay focused on the big priorities and not get distracted by the little things?
For years, organizational psychologists have studied focus and its relationship to goal-setting. From SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals, to path-goal theory, to goal-setting theory, researchers have tried to link goal-setting, prioritization, and focus-driven behaviors to productive work outcomes. The litany of research highlights several important takeaways that any leader can put into practice to attain greater focus.
Here are the five things you can do to increase your focus:
- Begin with Your Desired Outcome in Mind: What is your goal? What is the objective you’re trying to achieve? Define it. Outline the plan for how you intend to get there. In addition, hang up the goal or objective in places that you can see it daily. Maybe it can go on your mirror in your bathroom, so you can see it everyday. Or maybe you can hang it from your desk or computer at work. Remember, the more you keep the goal in focus, the more likely it will come to pass.
- Put First Things First: Prioritization is everything. However, if we aren’t careful, life will throw many things at us; things that will take up our time, but truly are not important. They aren’t the things that will get us to our goal. So, make a list, and highlight the key priorities. Outline the things that you need to do to get you to your objective. Pull back from focusing on the things that are less relevant.
- Delegate the Small Things: As we pull back from the less relevant, there probably is the likelihood that they still need to get done. So, delegate, delegate, delegate. Some of the biggest mistakes that I see new leaders make is that they have extreme difficulty in delegating the small things. They tend to think they need to do everything because it got them to where they are currently. In reality though, this is not the case. What got you here as an individual contributor is not going to get you to the next level as a leader. Delegate the small stuff and focus on your key priorities.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment: Focusing on our key objectives takes time. Along the way you may realize that your current actions and behaviors are not getting the results you desire. Be flexible enough to make changes, and try new approaches. We all know the old adage, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your not going to accomplish your main goal in a day either. We will get to charting your progress in a moment, but be willing to make the necessary changes when you need to do so.
- Track Your Progress: Setting goals and then hoping for the best will not get us to our desired outcomes. We have to track progress and make sure we are headed in the right direction. So, use a business log or a journal to keep track of how you’re doing. Are you making sure you’re focused on the right priorities? Are you moving at the pace you desire? Track the progress and you will have answers to these questions.
Focus takes time. It takes dedication and commitment. Practice these behaviors and watch your goals become reality.
Leadership Leadership Development Focused Execution