Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to know what to focus our attention. I recently I just had an interesting and slightly stressful experience that highlights this fact. Within about a 5 minute time period, I had the following take place:
- My brother contacted me about a work-related issue he wanted to talk through.
- My coworker popped into my office and asked me if I wanted to take a quick walk to a nearby cafeteria.
- I was trying to read through an article on instructional design leadership.
- My boss sent me an instant message asking if I could meet with him briefly about something he was concerned about.
- My wife called and asked me if I could meet with her and the kids for an impromptu lunch.
- All of this happened with several key production, reporting, and management tasks calling for my attention.
So, this brought me to ponder on a critical question that most of us should work to answer regularly: What can I do right now to reach my goals?
A Common Issue
Our world and our work move at a fast pace, and it can be very difficult to know what to focus on. The options are endless, and the right decision is not always immediately obvious. But you have to decide and move forward with confidence, adjusting your actions based on how things seem to be going. And hopefully you have guiding principles that provide you with guidance on how to move toward what is most important.
What is the Solution?
At the highest level, this is a matter of building priorities and focusing on those priorities. That doesn't mean that the answer is simple, but if you never do the work to clarify what is most important to you, it will be impossible to know how to focus your attention. In this case, I decided to check in with my boss, schedule a time later to spend with my wife, and schedule a phone call with my brother during my commute home.
A few reflective questions:
- How do you focus on what is important to you?
- What should you do right now?
- What will help you achieve your goals?
- What will uphold and support the values that are most important to you?
- What is absolutely essential?
If you are struggling to answer some of these questions, I invite you to read my new book Get It Done. It provides some simple, usable strategies for identifying what is most important and for working to hard to get those things done. The book will be published in January 2018.
Otherwise, thanks for stopping by!