In life , we all have core priorities we want to focus on but there are many distraction that cause us to lose focus. We must decide how to better focus on those priorities if we are going to succeed and meet our goals. Here are five suggestions from the book How successful people think by John Maxwell to help you with the process:
1. Remove Distractions. Removing distractions is no small matter in our current culture, but it’s critical. How do you do it? First, by maintaining the discipline of practicing your priorities. Don’t do easy things first or hard things first or urgent things first. Do first things first—the activities that give you the highest return. In that way, you keep the distractions to a minimum. Second, insulate yourself from distractions. Find a place where you can think without interruptions. You can also make yourself unavailable when necessary and go off to your “thinking place” so that you can work without interruptions.
2. Make Time for Focused Thinking. Once you have a place to think, you need the time to think. Because of the fast pace of our culture, people tend to multi-task. But that’s not always a good idea. Switching from task to task can cost you up to 40 percent efficiency. According to researchers, “If you’re trying to accomplish many things at the same time, you’ll get more done by focusing on one task at a time, not by switching constantly from one task to another.” For most successful people, the best thinking time is in the morning. Most people reserve morning for thinking and writing. One way to gain time for focused thinking is to impose upon yourself a rule that one company implemented. Don’t allow yourself to look at e-mail until after 10 A.M. Instead, focus your energies on your number one priority. Put non-productive time wasters on hold so that you can create thinking time for yourself.
3. Keep Items of Focus Before You. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great transcendental thinker, believed, “Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short in all management of human affairs.” In order to concentrate on the things that matter, you have to work to keep important items before you. It is also nice to keep a file or a page on your desk so that you can see it every day as you work. This strategy will help you stimulate and sharpen ideas.
4. Set Goals. Goals are important. The mind will not focus until it has clear objectives. But the purpose of goals is to focus your attention and give you direction, not to identify a final destination. As you think about your goals, note that they should be
- Clear enough to be kept in focus
- Close enough to be achieved
- Helpful enough to change lives
Those guidelines will get you going. And be sure to write down your goals. If they’re not written, I can almost guarantee that they’re not focused enough. And if you really want to make sure they’re focused, take the advice of David Belasco, who says, “If you can’t write your idea on the back of my business card, you don’t have a clear idea.” Even if you look back years from now and think your goals were too small, they will have served their purpose—if they provide you with direction.”
5. Question Your Progress. Take a good look at yourself from time to time to see whether you are actually making progress. That is the most accurate measure of whether you are making the best use of focused thinking. Ask yourself, “Am I seeing a return for my investment of focused thinking time? Is what I am doing getting me closer to my goals? Am I headed in a direction that helps me to fulfill my commitments, maintain my priorities, and realize my dreams?”