Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Find Your Focus - It’s Easier Than You Think

Strategic advisor, management consultant, and blogger Peter Bregman has written a book that will clearly resonate with everyone who wishes that there were more than 24 hours in a day. He blogs regularly for Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Forbes magazines and also provides commentary for CNN and public radio – so he understands this wish in today’s era of instant communication and too many priorities. In his words, “To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as choosing where to focus.”

Bregman’s book, 18 Minutes: Finding Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, should be required reading for all new hires and also provided to longer-term employees on their anniversary dates. Imagine a typical day at the office. After arrival and start-up of the computer or laptop, you open your email only to find 200 emails in your inbox. Then, the phone rings, and your boss wants you to completely change your projects for the day. Then, the network crashes. Well, you get it – just like the tagline for Calgon beauty products that has become a cult phrase, “Take me away.”

The book provides secrets to cut through the clutter and distractions so that you can focus and accomplish your objectives. Here are some:

  • Regular rest stops are useful interruptions.
  • Don’t settle for being less than you are. It won’t serve others and it won’t serve you.
  • Know what outcome you seek.
  • Recover your passion – think about what you love doing.
  • Failure is inevitable, useful, and educational. Just don’t give up.
  • The time to judge your failures and successes is never.
  • Plan your day ahead so you can fly through it, successfully maneuvering and moving toward your intended destination.
  • Reduce your overwhelm by putting your tasks in an organized list.
  • If you really want to get something done, decide when and where you are going to do it.
  • Never leave things on your to-do list for more than three days. They’ll just get in the way of what you really need to get done.
  • The right kind of interruption can help you master your time and yourself. Keep yourself focused and steady by interrupting yourself hourly.
  • Spend a few minutes at the end of each day thinking about what you learned and with whom you should connect. These minutes are the key to making tomorrow even better than today.
  • The world doesn’t reward perfection. It rewards productivity.

And now, here’s a breakdown of Peter’s 18 Minutes:
  • Step 1 – 5 Minutes: Your morning minutes – plan ahead.
  • Step 2 – 1 Minute Every Hour (8 Minutes): Refocus – manage your day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you.
  • Step 3 – 5 Minutes: Your evening minutes – review how the day went.

According to Peter, the key is to add this 18 minute review to your routine EVERYDAY. “This particular ritual may not help you swim the English Channel while towing a cruise ship with your hands tied together. But it may just help you leave the office feeling productive and successful.” Now, who wouldn’t want that?

For more information, visit: http://peterbregman.com

Follow Peter on Twitter: https://twitter.com/peterbregman

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