“Focus is more important than intelligence.” – Anonymous.
Focus is defined as paying particular attention to something with the aim of achieving results. Purpose driven people have clarity, they focus. So why do we say that focus is more important than intelligence? People who are focused tend to get more results as they draw their energy from within and pour it into whatever they do. Intelligence on the hand is necessary in generating brilliant ideas and in making wise decisions, however once a decision is made it must be implemented otherwise it is worthless. The ability to focus provides an inner drive the propels people to follow through and implement ideas without much distraction.
Lack of focus is as a result of distraction. Sometimes distraction is not easily detectable as it creeps on you “, and only becomes visible when it’s fully blown. The reason why lack of focus seems to creeps on us is because we have believed a lie and are living a lie.
Today, I want to take us through a personal confession time to unravel three top lies that I once believed.
So, what lies are you telling yourself about focus?
“I thought getting busy doing stuff would help me focus. Wrong!”
― Carolyne A. Opinde
Myth 1. I can only focus when I do more than one thing at a time.
Many people think getting busy and running around equals focus. A friend of mine who is writer once told me that they can only get into the writing zone and focus when they are doing three things at the same time. Research has proven over and over again that multitasking is counter-productive. People who do one thing at a time tend to me more productive. Unfortunately, many of us still believe this lie and only change when it costs us a client or something of value. So how do I bust this myth?
Remedy: I now have a “stop doing list” and a “start doing list”
Action point: For you to focus on doing one thing at a time,
1. What are the top three things that you will stop doing?
Example of my “stop doing list” – Stop respond to text messages while in a meeting.
2. What are your top three things that you will start doing today so you can to focus?
Example of my “start doing list”- I have allocated time during the day/ after blocked working session to respond to text messages.
3. I read and respond to messages in one touch.
Myth 2. I can only focus when I know I am close to the deadline
This is a common myth among so many of us who are driven by a sense of urgency. Working in a fast paced environment gave me a false notion that I am only productive at the 11th hour.
Remedy: Break down my deliverables into small tasks that I can do over one hour.
Example: For me to be able to deliver quality material, I must feed my mind on quality material. I have therefore designated 30 minutes of my time everyday to read new material. Once I have read it, I write down 3 or 5 or 7 key take aways for the day.
1. Identify one of your biggest deliverable and break it down into 3, 5 or 7 activities that will lead you to your result.
Example: Write my blog
2. Allocate time every day to implement each of those activities.
Activity 1. Identify a topic for the blog.
Activity 2. Run the topic by my team of coaches.
Activity 3. Develop an outline for my blog.
Activity 4. Read material related to my topics.
Activity 5. Glean from the materials I have read or listened to.
Activity 6. Revisit my outline based on the knowledge I have.
Activity 7. Write one paragraph for each section of the outline.
3. Share your daily wins with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Myth 3. I can only focus when I feel the pressure from my competition
As a business development strategist, I work in an environment where meeting monthly and quarterly targets is critical to the growth of the company. Most businesses at the start-up phase tend to mimic others to succeed. While this may seem practical, and may give you a sense of accomplishment, it only works up to a certain level. Once you achieve much success you must choose to be a trendsetter or you will not grow beyond the people you are emulating. A strategic and purpose-driven entrepreneur focuses on setting trends not on going with the flow.
Remedy: Measure your successes on lives changed. This goal goes beyond amount of money made.
Example – As a coach I feel more accomplished when my students share testimonies of how their relationships and lives have changed for the better as result of implementing strategies and ideas I gave them.
“My breakthrough came when I admitted my failures.”
― Carolyne A. Opinde
Embrace change and let’s walk through this journey of life with focus and clarity for a happier, healthier and wealthier you.
Carolyne A. Opinde is a Fundraising Advisor and has been referred to as the NGO Whisperer.
She has more than 10 years’ experience raising resources for non-profits and has raised over US$ 100 million from leading global funders. She also holds a MSc. in Project Management (UK) with a focus on donor compliance within the non-profit sector. She is a certified Project Management Professional (UK) and has indepth understanding in the application of project management techniques for non-profits.
Carolyne is driven by her motto: “Raising funds, Impacting lives”.