01 Nov The Principle of Limited Focus (and 8 Tips To Be More Effective)
Lifebook’s Principle of Limited Focus says that being selective and DOING LESS is the key to accomplishing MORE. In other words, what we DON’T DO is every bit as important as what we choose to DO. This has been a favorite among VIPs and can prove to be life transforming if applied correctly…
As Lifebook VIPs, our ultimate goal is to become 12-category smart. But 12 categories can be a lot to manage. Creating and maintaining high levels of health and fitness, and career & financial success, and balancing it with an extraordinary love life, a fulfilling social life, fantastic parenting, fulfilling emotions and spirituality… it’s quite a challenge. But it’s absolutely necessary if we want to live extraordinary lives.
The bottom line is this…
In order to become 12-category smart, we must learn to be EFFECTIVE.
This does not mean being BUSY. Being busy and being effective are totally unrelated concepts. Most people stay extremely busy doing things that don’t contribute to their lives in any meaningful way. They work hard, but they don’t get anywhere. Being buried in meaningless busywork that doesn’t produce results is the number one reason people are stressed out and left feeling broke, frustrated, and stuck.
Being meaninglessly busy is just another form of laziness… lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. It doesn’t help us… it hurts us.
For instance, when it comes to this month’s category of focus, Parenting, we may spend a lot of ‘time’ with our kids, but if it’s all busy time (driving them to all their after school activities, feeling stressed out, yelling at them to be quiet and stop jumping around in the back seat, not being mentally present because our mind is on your work…) well, that’s not effective parenting time. There’s no meaningful connection happening, no relationship growth occurring. We’re going through the motions and not being effective as a parent. We’re being lazy. It would be better to spend less time with our kids and make it count.
Quality is way more important than quantity, in every category of life.
Be selective with your time. Make it matter. Make it impactful. No matter what category we’re talking about, if you want to create a stellar life in every important area, you simply cannot waste your valuable time.
Being effective means defining what matters and producing meaningful results in those areas.
In order to do this, we must learn to use our time wisely, because there are not enough hours in the day to spin our wheels.
We must deploy our resources wisely against the highest value tasks that will really make a difference in our lives.
Every activity, every crisis, every opportunity competes for our time and our focus… and our FOCUS will determine our success or failure in life. So guard your focus diligently! Refuse to sacrifice the important to the unimportant. Determine what you’re NOT going to focus on and block those things out of your life! Say no to the wrong things so you can say yes to the right things.
Being selective and DOING LESS is the path to productivity, effectiveness and SUCCESS in every category of our lives!
We know that often times this can be easier said than done. It takes a true commitment, constant consciousness and laser focus to be a highly effective individual. So we’ve provided some tips below to get you started on the right path…
8 Simple Tips For Being More Effective:
1. Get Physical First
The connector category for Career is Health and Fitness, and for good reason. Our morning routine creates a domino effect in our day. If you begin with the accomplishment of exercising, you carry that accomplishment with you for the rest of the day. The same goes for the avoidance of exercise, and the negative effect that can have on your energy. Stimulating your body first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, and creates feelings of motivation, focus, and positive energy that will carry you through to the finish line.
2. Eat Clean
Nutrition is your secret weapon when it comes to feelings of productivity, accomplishment and tranquility. Eat foods that GIVE you energy instead of taking it. Focus on live plant food (instead of packaged or processed foods), and eat as many raw nutrients as possible. Have lots of healthy and/or raw snacks and plenty of water on hand throughout the day to keep your energy high and your mind alert.
3. Prioritize Your Task List
At the beginning of every day, before you even begin taking action (or even better, the night before), take a look at your task list and prioritize it. Ask yourself what the highest leverage points are in your day. What things MUST you complete? Put those at the top of the list. What things would be nice to complete? Include those somewhere, but don’t put all of your focus on them. Then, dig in and get your hands dirty. Always tackle the big rocks first (those hairy, scary daunting projects that you’re tempted to put off to the end of the day), and you’ll find that you will typically have time leftover for the smaller, easier tasks.
4. Schedule Your Time
After you’ve prioritized your task list you’re ready to schedule your time. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, and the easiest way to become effective, is to schedule your time. You know what needs to be done. You know how long it ‘should’ take (although we know it may not always work out that way). Give yourself a deadline to work toward. Say ‘I’m committed to working on this project from 8am-10am, and then it’s time to move on.’ You will find that you’re much more productive and effective if there’s an end in sight, plus you’re more likely not to overcommit.
5. Don’t Overcommit
It’s been said that people tend to OVERESTIMATE what they can accomplish in a day, and UNDERESTIMATE what they can accomplish in a year. Most people give very little thought to how long certain tasks take, which makes them much less effective. By scheduling your time you can bring more consciousness to what your day will actually look like, and be more likely not to overcommit. Dedicate yourself to getting really good at estimating and scheduling your work time.
6. Delegate Whenever Possible
If there was one universal piece of advice successful people swear by it would be this… delegate. David Allen says: “Only do what only you can do.” By limiting your commitments and focusing on only the highest leverage point tasks, you not only create more efficiency and effectiveness in your life, you will experience much greater feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment for what you do.
7. Eliminate Distractions
We all have moments when our mind (and our fingertips) wander to mindless social media or entertainment sites for no apparent reason other than to ‘take a break.’ These mini-vacations may seem harmless, but often times they do more harm than good. Distractions act as a break in your focus, which can derail you and set you back. Exercise discipline while working and try to get (and stay) in a productive zone. Need accountability? Officemetrics or RescueTime are programs that monitor all that you do on your computer and give you reports to show you how much time you spend on social media, email, Internet or any other work files. You may not like what you see, but knowing is the first step…
8. Check In With Yourself
Get into the habit of checking in with yourself throughout the day (usually at breaks in a project, or the completion of one). Take a look at your list and see if you need to adjust your plan for the day based on where you’re currently at. Do regular ‘mind sweeps’ as new tasks come in, and write everything down. Feel your body. Get up and stretch, shift the focus of your eyes, and breathe deep. It all starts with you. Find pockets of time throughout your day where you can re-center and bring presence and focus back to yourself.