Friday, January 25, 2013

My Guide to Being Focused and Staying Focused

I've always been a fan of Stephen R. Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. When it comes to efficiently, he says we need to have energy-management, rather than time-management. Here are some words of him I live by:

1.   Act on the Importantdon't react to the urgent. Evaluate which choices will give you the highest return on your time and attention.
2.   Go for the Extraordinary—don't settle for ordinary. Do you define purposeful, high-impact outcomes that will transform the results you achieve in work and life?  
3.   Schedule the Big Rocks—don't sort gravel. Prioritize and organize those few high-leverage activities that will move you forward in your professional and personal roles.
 4.   Rule Your Technology—don't let it rule you. Create reliable personal system that accelerates your ability to get the right things done, or are you constantly distracted by your technology? 
 5.   Fuel Your Fire—don't burn out. Consistently renew yourself by relaxing, moving, sleeping regularly, and eating nutritiously to generate maximum energy for the things that matter most.
I have heard from other places though, that the best form of time- or energy-management is SELF-MANAGEMENT. Self-management then raises the question, how does one self-manage? Well it takes a lot of practice. It is something I am always trying for myself. After reading about staying focused on tasks, I came across many things. I've compiled them into lists that help me handle tasks and stay focused.


o   F – Five More Rule

o   O – One Thing at a Time
o   C – Conquer Procrastination
o   U – Use your Hands as Blinders
o   S – See as if for the First and Last Time
How to Tackle Tasks
1. Get in a routine; stick to a schedule
2.  Don’t do something pleasant before getting your work done
3. Once you start keep on going (Say "5 more minutes, 5 more minutes")
4. End your session only after you’ve started the next
Be Focused and Stay Focused 
1. Be punctual, stick to your schedule.
2. Prioritize – Think "first things first.
3. Eliminate distractions (wear earplugs, disconnect the internet, turn off your phone)
4. Choose accuracy over speed - Before replying to that email or committing your attendance at an event WAIT, think, then proceed accordingly.
5. Organize your work space. Productivity thrives in a clean, tidy environment.
6. Breathe, relax. 
7. Eat well, exercise and sleep well for energy!
Master Procrastination 
1. Focus on Concrete Steps - Break down tasks into multiple mini-tasks.
2. Get confident - Tell yourself you can do this. Be confident that you WILL get things done. Focus on how good you will feel afterwards!

I am no master, and because I am human I constantly have to work on myself. In 2012 I learned so much and this year, I intend to use these strategies well so that I can focus on what needs to get done so I can enjoy the free moments of my life with the people I love! 
By the end of last year, I learned from this quote: 
"There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute them."
It means that-- the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. With a wondering and curious mind like mine and I want to do it all, but I need to understand that I won't be able to do it all. I need to focus on my highest priorities and be able to say no to things that won't help me reach my goals, so that with a smile and yearning heart I can say YES to the things I love and the things that will get me to where I want to be.


  1. A very good, concise post which says it all... and which I have printed out as a handy reference. I hope one day to be able to throw it away which will prove all the lessons have been learned! ;~)

    1. Hi edbuziak, I'm glad you found it helpful! I have all of these in index cards posted all over my desk area ;) One thing I really have learned to do is to keep this in mind: "There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute them." Have a great day!