Did you see the men’s singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships? Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray in four sets to win the title for the third year running. What has this to do with a blog about business I hear you ask? Well, at one set up and 2-2 in the second set tie break Andy Murray allowed himself to be distracted by a small white feather which floated down from the roof. He went on to serve a double fault to lose the set. The momentary loss of focus shifted the balance of the match. What does a loss of focus cost you?
Without focus we limit our achievements. We take longer to do tasks. We may miss out on opportunities. We create an opening for our competitors to capitalise on.
What causes you to lose focus?
What is the equivalent of your white feather? Does a new email distract you from the task in hand? Does the length of the to do list have you flitting from one job to another? Do you find yourself putting off the large or tricky task for something that is a quicker win? Do you flick the TV on whilst you have your lunch and find yourself still watching two hours later? Do you find yourself reading just one more ‘how to’ guide rather than making a start on the task? Do you convince yourself that you need that coffee before you can get going?
It doesn’t take an enormous shift to develop focus and with it make a massive difference to your achievements. Let me introduce you to the POWER concept.
POWER= Persistent On task Work Ensures Results.
I favour the POWER hour but if you can’t find an hour even 20 minutes can make a big difference. Imagine what you could achieve if you could find a POWER day.
Making the most of your POWER session.
- Find a time when you can work undisturbed. This might mean getting up before everyone else in the family or working after the kids have gone to bed. Book the time in your diary.
- Remove yourself from distractions. It might mean taking yourself away from your usual base to where people can’t find you. If you need thinking time why not go for a walk and think whilst you’re out? If you need access to a computer you could book a session at the local library. Try putting a ‘Do not Disturb’ sign on your office door or on your desk.
- Decide what you want to achieve in your session. Gather together any resources you might need.
- Remove any excuses to be distracted.Go to the loo. Make a cup of coffee. Fill your water bottle. Switch the answerphone on and the emails off.
- Now set a timer (you’ve probably got one on your mobile phone) and start work. You are not allowed to stop until you’ve either completed the task or the timer has gone off. If you don’t get the task completed and can’t extend the time allocated make a note of where you are and what you need to do next and book your next POWER session into your diary.
- Reward yourself! You can have that biscuit (or better, piece of fruit); you can check your emails or whatever else you’ve been dying to do. Share your success on Twitter or Facebook. However I’ll bet that your sense of achievement may well be reward enough.
If you can find one hour a day, five days a week, 48 weeks of the year you will have 240 hours of focused activity to work on your goals. That’s the equivalent of six 40 hour working weeks! What could you achieve in six weeks working on your business?
I’ll bet Ivan Lendl will be helping Andy Murray to maintain focus in their future coaching sessions. Do you need help too? If so, get in touch. Comment here or email Glenda.