The Critical Ingredient to a Great Week, Month, or Year

5 Techniques for Winning Focus

Have you ever considered our air traffic control system? It is an unbelievably complex system responsible for the safety of hundreds of thousands of people every day! To make it work, thousands of controllers are operating across the country, and each one has a single point of focus.

The ground controller manages all planes currently on the ground. The local controller watches the sky just above the airport and maintains safe distances between planes as they take off and land. As soon as a plane leaves the ground, it becomes the responsibility of the departure controller. On and on until a new local controller takes over and gets the plane safely on the ground.

What if a controller was focused on helping a plane safely approach an airport while helping another safely take off and another fly safely over the airspace? Disaster! But that’s exactly how we try to live our lives.

Why is focus so important in life? Why do winners use the term so often? Because it’s the only way to accomplish anything important or complex—and most winning is both.

Focus is the only way to achieve the things we really want.

The reason most people don’t achieve their goals is because they simply lose focus somewhere along the way. A challenge, an obstacle, another opportunity comes along and distracts them—and then disaster strikes.

Here are five strategies to keep that from happening to you:

1. Start with What You Really Want

Real focus begins with inspiration and motivation. You are ten times more likely to get something done when it’s something you want to do instead of something you are being forced to do.

We can only be great doing the things we really want to do.

We can only be great doing the things we really want to do. Click To Tweet

Begin with some big-picture goal setting based on your unique curiosity and passion. You hear people talk about big dreams and visions. This is what they’re talking about. What does your future look like? What is it that gets you excited? How do you finish this thought: “Wouldn’t it be great if . . .” Whatever it is that you are moving toward should make you want to run, not walk.

2. Assess Where You Are Right Now

You know what you want. Now ask yourself, how far away am I from it? What’s keeping me from it? Your abilities, your knowledge, your experience, your resources, your career position, your life situation—make sure all of these things are working to get you where you want to be.

Make an honest assessment so that you know where to focus your limited time, energy, and resources. Then ask, what are some of the big milestones between where I am and where I want to be?

3. Set Immediate, Achievable Activity Goals

Read this post on the importance of tracking activity in the short-term to stay on track.

4. Kick Out the Clutter

Every new goal requires room in your life.

Look for ways to simplify your plans, your projects, your life every day. Focus requires self-management—daily choices about how we spend our time and energy. Learn to say no. Trim fat out of your schedule. Stop dumping resources on time and energy wasters. Do a little every day!

5. Find the Support Every Winner Needs

When we get distracted, we don’t always realize it. We’re too close. We might feel the tension (because we’re being pulled in too many directions or we aren’t making progress), but we can’t put our finger on the problem.

That’s when you need somebody in your life—a mentor, a spouse, a friend, a professional group—to shake you and tell you to stop wasting time on things that aren’t as important.

When you improve your focus, you give yourself the best chance to create the day, week, month, year, or life you want, starting now.

You can also use my SlideShare Presentation on Focus to share the ideas with your team or to give yourself reminders of key points.

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