With the invention of the laptop and the smartphone we can multi-task in ways once thought inconceivable...but is all of this a good thing?
- We can read AND Listen to music.
- We can be at home AND at work (I hope not).
- We can be in a meeting AND responding to emails (I hope not).
- We can drive AND binge on Netflix (I hope not, but I have a friend who does)!
The truth is that while many of us pride ourselves on our ability to multitask, it actually works against us. When it comes to attention and productivity, our brains have a finite amount of mental energy. While we’re constantly switching rapidly from task to task, every time we switch tasks, it consumes mental energy. As mental energy reduces, so does creativity and productivity. The truth is that focusing on one thing at a time is our best pathway to task excellence, and therefore success. This is true, not only for individuals, but for ministries and organizations! One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is trying to do too much! Multitasking can be dangerous, both for us, and our organization. With all of this mind, I have outlined eight ways to find more focus in your life and leadership.
8 Ways To Find More Focus In Your Leadership
1. Treat Time As Your Most Precious Commodity.
Stewarding our time is as important as stewarding our money, if not more so, because time literally is money, we just don’t often realize it! You will never get this day back. You will never get this time in your marriage back. You will never get this time with your kids back. You will never get this lost time. Time is either wasted or invested. Invest it wisely!
2. Set priorities.
There are three basic questions we can ask ourselves to determine our priorities: What is crucial for me? What gives me the greatest return on investment? What gives me the greatest reward? Now order your calendar around your priorities. A well ordered life is produced from a well ordered calendar.
3. Focus on the Important Not The Urgent.
When you are overwhelmed by your tasks, sit down and utilize a tool called The Urgent/Important Matrix. Categorize everything you want and need to get done into four categories: Important & Low Urgency; Important & High Urgency; Highly Urgent & Not That Important; and Very Urgent Very Important. Tackle the highly important, but not urgent tasks first. This will make us feel most successful.
4. Make A Stop Doing List.
Go ahead. Make a list of all the things you might need to STOP doing. Checking facebook, twitter, and instagram 20 times a day? STOP. Incessantly checking email? Stop it. What you STOP doing is just as important as what you START doing.
5. Initiate rather than respond.
What will provide the greatest Return on Investment (ROI) for your time? What one thing, if we improved at it, could make us better? What 20% of my activity could provide 80% of the return. Focus on that. Schedule EVERYTHING including exercise, reading, email and social media. Say NO to almost everything so you can say YES to the few things that matter.
6. Focus on Your Strengths.
What are your strengths do you know? There are tests for this, but ultimately, the best way to know your strengths is to ask others. Your strengths add the greatest value to your organization. Focus on your strengths, and delegate and staff your weaknesses as much as possible.
7. Focus on fewer people.
We are perfectly structured for the results we are getting now. How many people should report to us? The question is not how many people we should MANAGE, but how many people can we CARE for? For me, I can’t care for more than 4-5 people. ONce the structure surpasses this, I need to restructure. We must structure for both HEALTH and GROWTH.
8. Be Where Your Feet Are.
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling guilty about being at work when we are at work and guilty about being home when we are home. When you’re at work, focus on work, not social media and home life. When you are home, focus on being at home. Be where your feet are. Focus!