At the micro-level
Staying focused means sticking to the desired train of thoughts, relating to a specific topic or task, without having our mind wandering into unrelated and unnecessary areas. In today’s ADD world, this is very challenging. There are many tempting distractions around us and within us that keep taking us off track. Our brain has become very scattered and jumping often from one thing to the next.
To address this challenge, we need to work at “arranging” the environment to be more conducive to focus, and on retraining our brain to be better at focusing. Arranging the environment means taking precautions to minimize external interruptions, ranging from having agreements with our, to closing our office door or putting a visible sign at our cubicle, or putting on headsets, among other measures. Re-training our brain requires some effort. However, Micro-Planning™ and the timer can go a long way in helping this effort.
At the macro-level
Staying focused in this case means keeping our projects, activities, resources, and decisions all aligned and all working together to achieve a bigger goal.
To address this challenge, there need to be a clear vision and well defined end results in the first place. But this is only the beginning. What is more important is learning to apply “strategic thinking” project-by-project, task-by-task, and moment-by-moment. Strategic thinking, simply put, consists of reluctantly asking the “why” question. Why are we embarking on this project? Why are we putting resources in this area? Why am I spending time on this task now? And recalibrating accordingly.
In between the micro and macro
Here comes our daily focus, which requires managing focused and collaborative effort, not to mention our energy and our mood, as we manoeuver between tasks, unexpected demands, and the ups and downs that go with them.
To address this challenge, we need to work in bursts of focused, collaborative, and play periods. It is almost like wearing different hats to achieve each of these goals.
Which level is more challenging for you? And how do you stay focused? Join the conversation by including your comment below!