Riddle me this:
I am sought by leaders, elusive yet prime,
In focus, I thrive, in distraction, I decline.
I shape decisions, guide the wise,
Neglect me, and opportunity flies.
What am I?
It takes discipline and awareness to manage information overload and push away endless distractions, so we can strategically allocate this precious resource. Good decision-making and productivity depend on it.
Our emotions can claw away at attention. Negative events impact us five times more than positive ones, so we are evolutionarily at risk of veering into unproductive rumination over whatever problem is facing us, rather than actively doing something about it (or — when nothing can be done, ignoring it).
January is the perfect time for a reset. Here are some practices to ensure you’re focusing attention on your priorities:
Schedule strategic thinking time. if you’re simply running from meeting to meeting, you’re reacting, not leading. Some of my clients set a 90-minute chunk of alone time to review progress towards goals, while others use the time to take a long walk, combining health and wellness goals with strategic thinking.
Some 80% of a good meeting is in the preparation. Here is a newsletter I wrote outlining an effective approach.
Schedule meetings in 25 and 45-minute increments, which keeps discussion tight and focused, and gives you a breather if you are back-to-back. Start and end on time.
Choose your organizational goals wisely. As Peter Drucker said, if you have more than five goals then you have none.
If you find yourself stuck in a seemingly unresolvable thinking loop, leverage the Zeigarnik effect I discuss here.
Cultivate a habit of regular breaks to maintain sustained attention.
Put your smartphone to sleep in a different room. Read a book or a magazine before going to bed. You’ll sleep better and more peacefully.
Turn your phone ringer to vibrate and limit screen notifications for apps. Few calls are worth the interruption.
Watch out for signs of burnout for you and your team. The best cure is prevention.
What has worked for you? Let me know & I’ll share with our community.
To your success,