Thursday, October 15, 2009
Five ways to stay focused, get more done & be more successful
I recently asked several business and executive coaches what they do for their clients. I wanted to know more about their process, their approach, and generally how they create value for the people and organizations they engage.
Although each had a slightly different take, it all boiled down to one thing – focus. Each successful coach produced results for their clients by helping them get the most out of themselves and their teams, in every case by focusing time, talents, resources and values.
What I heard generally fell into five distinct areas of focus:
1. Focus on what’s important. It’s easy to feel successful in a day that’s busy. Filled with putting out fires. Getting things done. But often, we don’t get the right things done. By stepping back and focusing on what’s most important (not necessarily what’s in front of us, or what’s easiest, or what’s screaming the loudest), we make far better forward progress (and often in less time).
2. Focus on what you’re good at. Know your strengths, and lean into them. Compare that to what your organization needs, and ensure that others are doing everything else for you. Yes, there’s a cost to delegating, but the results will far outweigh the investment when you have more time for your strengths, and others are accelerating your cause by leveraging theirs.
3. Focus on fewer things. Most of us take on far too much. Even if those are all things that are both important and speak to our strengths, there’s not enough time in the day to get it all done. Make the hard trade-offs for what’s going to drive the most value, and make the hard decisions to put other projects on the back-burner.
4. Focus on the basics. What’s most important to your business? What’s fundamental? What got you where you are now? What are your values? Getting back to the basics of your business can oftentimes be the simplest and most effective way to accelerate growth and productivity again.
5. Focus on what you want. It’s amazing to me how many people let the day and its myriad influences direct not just day-to-day, but larger directional decisions that affect personal and professional success. When’s the last time you took 30 minutes to reflect on what’s most important to you? What will make you happiest and fulfilled? How do you map those priorities back to your life & your business?
Of course, achieving one or many of these areas of focus is far easier said than done. If you have the discipline to address and stick to these on your own, you’re in the minority. For the rest of us, finding a coach (or even just a mentor) to keep us accountable and help unlock the full potential of our focus can reap significant dividends personally and professionally.
Links to this post: