Do you find you have days when you are highly productive and days when you are ‘busy’, but actually getting little or nothing done?

When you are focused you are more productive and you feel more engaged, less stressed and better able to cope. When you can’t focus on what’s important, you get caught up in being ‘busy’ all the time and you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, drained, frustrated and ultimately unproductive.

Focus – the little word with the big impact! It is your ability to gather your thoughts and direct your attention. The more focused you are, the more you are in control of your life.  For sure there will be the unexpected curve-balls, both professional and personal, but with greater focus, you will have greater clarity and confidence in dealing with them.

Your focus is your reality and according to Daniel Goleman (Author of Emotional Intelligence) there are three kinds of focus. Lets look at them from the perspective of you as a manager / leader:

  • Inner focus – attunes you to your intuition and your values – without this, you will be rudderless.
  • Outer focus – helps you to navigate your way in the larger world of work – without this you will tend to be indifferent to the systems within which you and your employees work and you will find yourself blindsided.
  • Other focus – eases your connections to the people in your life – without which, you will be blind to the ways and the world of others which will leave you lacking in awareness.

The key to improving your productivity is to improve your focus and to apply it on a regular basis.  The Pomodoro Technique will help you to develop a habit of focusing your attention on what is important for set periods of time.

Try it and prevail!  It takes 21 days to form a habit, so if you are serious about sharpening your focus and being more productive in your work, set this in motion.  One of your key responsibilities as a manager is to capture and direct the collective attention / focus of your employees.  If you feel some of your employees would also benefit from this technique, share your experience and support them in sharpening their focus.

Additional tips to help you become more focused are:

  • Do what is important and what matters.
  • Work with intention, not obligation.
  • Understand where and how you spend your time in work, and reclaim it and use it wisely.
  • Learn to say ‘No’.
  • Be present – physically and mentally – focus on what you are doing in the here and now. Don’t work on one thing, while thinking of another – neither will be completed satisfactorily.
  • When you are utterly overwhelmed – take a short break and change your environment. Breathe deeply and then make a list of everything demanding your attention, decide on the most important and focus on that first.  Attend to them, one at a time.

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