No Time to Focus on the Big Picture? Try Focus Management


Email, answering machine, “Do you have a minute?” Disruptions, multiple projects and competing priorities. Whether at work or in life, we all know the importance of “seeing the wood for the trees.” But with so many “trees” vying for your attention, it’s difficult to find the forest, let alone spend much time there. The current challenge is not so much time management as focus management.

In other words, if you want to focus on the big picture, you don’t need to manage your time, you need to focus on yours. Here are seven Focus Management® best practices to get you started today: Plan for success. Do you spend more time preparing for a two-week vacation than planning important aspects of your work or life? Then take some time for short and medium-term planning of your current goals and projects. Long-term plans are helpful in setting direction.

In terms of taking action, however, 60-day plans tend to work better. Ask yourself: What high-impact, multi-level goals or projects do I need or want to start this month and next? Distinguish the forest from the trees – in writing. They make lists and lists of trees.

But where do you keep your forestry activities? If you commit to writing the big picture, you have a chance. Mark a page in your organizer or a screen on your PDA: Current Goals and Projects. When making your list, be careful not to mix the forest with the trees. This forces your subconscious to choose between “developing a strategic plan” and “sending an email”.

” When given a choice, the activity with the highest yield is skipped each time. This is because the brain rejects “big word” activities (eg, in favor of smaller, more manageable verbs like “call,” “e-mail,” or “buy” that make up the trees.

Insert a stake into the ground. The timeline for the completion of some goals and projects is clear: the new network is due in two weeks, taxes are due by April 15, the sales report is due at the end of the month. Then there are the goals and projects that languish for lack of an externally imposed deadline. Giving each of your current goals and projects a target date to achieve not only helps you create a plan to achieve it, it also motivates you.

Additional benefits: If your boss brings you another big project, use your current project and goal plan as a basis to clarify priorities and renegotiate due dates. Keep your list visible. With so many trees vying for your attention, you need to make the forest as eye-catching as possible. If you see your goals every day, you can also achieve them.

When a goal isn’t “in sight every day,” says Drew Carey,