The Business Manifesto of Now: Dedicated Focus and the Suicide of Impulse

We need to focus on the most important thing in front of us at any given moment.

Time began to slow as I focused my attention on a four-thousand pound vehicle taking over my lane. My hand punched toward the steering wheel sounding the horn. In one hand the driver’s cell phone. The other hand, the wheel. Calmly, and without reaction, he returned to his lane. Kindly gesturing to me as an apology by taking his hand off the wheel to wave. His focus lied solely on swiping away at his phone’s touch screen. Clearly this had happened to him before. And, even worse, he didn’t think anything of it. I see this happen on a daily basis now and that scares me. We need to focus on the most important thing in front of us at any given moment.

Put down your cell phone. It’s ok. Really.

Hold your focus and the outcome of all you do will be greater for it.

Cell phones have become an extension of our nervous system. Wired deep into the recesses of our brain. Our body triggers an emotion and many of us reach for a phone to share it with everyone. At one point, we did this through face to face communication. Then, roughly 15 years ago, we adopted instant messaging and email.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently said, “Email is probably going away.” Why? Because of technology. Instant messaging wasn’t enough. So we translated that to text messaging with our phones. Our phones evolved and we now have the ability to share photos, videos and messages instantly. Does that mean we should?

By keeping our focus on our toys we are in danger of missing out on so much detail around us. The minutiae of life. Depriving those around us of our attention. Those either being friends, family, business associates, projects, goals or even the car in the lane next to you.

Hold your focus and the outcome of all you do will be greater for it.

Focus your attention on the project in front of you.

If your original model works and is sustainable you have succeeded where many others have failed.

Dedicated attention, even when using an e.gg timer, can amplify your revenue, increase customer satisfaction and give you a better chance to deliver ahead of schedule.

So many companies lose sight of their spending habits, be it from advertising, equipment or office space, and fall into the red based on impulse alone.

Consistent multi-tasking leads to lower quality results. It doesn’t matter how good you are at something, if you have to accomplish two goals instead of one in a set amount of time the quality will suffer.

Another common impulse is change due to inspiration or, even worse, boredom. Did you build a profitable business model or sales initiative but changed direction because a new technology or sales model caught your interest? If your original model works and is sustainable you have succeeded where so many others have failed. Point blank. Don’t change it.

Improve your focus by better managing short term time:

  • Streamline your meetings. Don’t schedule multiple meetings for something that can be done via the phone or email.
  • Don’t let your inbox dictate your focus or your to-do list.
  • Utilize your voice mail. If you are busy you don’t need to answer the phone. Unless it’s incredibly important.
  • Defer menial tasks that anyone can accomplish. You are called on because of your skill set and knowledge of a given industry or technique. Focus on that.
  • Get out of your office and take a short 15 minute walk. Sometimes you need to step back from a project, clear your mind and refocus to find a better solution.

Maintain long-term focus. Conquer short terms goals.

It’s easy to lose sight of a goal when it takes months, or sometimes even years, to achieve. If given enough time you could accomplish anything, but time is finite. Time is money. Choose your focus wisely.

This was part 3 of the Essential 5-part Productivity Guide series. Read Part 4: The Seven Deadly Sins of Failed Meetings

Photo credit: Stefano Corso

Your product or service should do the talking for you.

4 Comments

  1. Jim RaffelReplyJune 25, 2010 at 4:38 pm 

    Nice work Joshua. Interesting that for about 3 hours this afternoon I was in the mountains near Phoenix with not cell coverage. I didn't even look at my phone and my business associate/friend never looked at his either. We actually talked to each other and he kept both hands on the wheel of the Jeep. All kidding aside I thought about on the way down then see this post. We are all getting concerned about our obsession with cell phones at the same time. Focus is the key, one thing at a time whenever possible.

  2. Joshua GarityReplyJune 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm 

    Thanks Jim! There are some folks out there that have the delicate balance of connected to disconnected down pretty well. You seem to be one of them. The 10 people I see driving with their knees, checking their iPhones and eating a sandwich en route to Milwaukee…not so much.

    In retrospect I should have split the article into two and kept the cell phone aspect separate. Live and learn :)

  3. Jim RaffelReplyJune 25, 2010 at 11:38 pm 

    Nice work Joshua. Interesting that for about 3 hours this afternoon I was in the mountains near Phoenix with not cell coverage. I didn’t even look at my phone and my business associate/friend never looked at his either. We actually talked to each other and he kept both hands on the wheel of the Jeep. All kidding aside I thought about on the way down then see this post. We are all getting concerned about our obsession with cell phones at the same time. Focus is the key, one thing at a time whenever possible.

  4. Joshua GarityReplyJune 25, 2010 at 11:57 pm 

    Thanks Jim! There are some folks out there that have the delicate balance of connected to disconnected down pretty well. You seem to be one of them. The 10 people I see driving with their knees, checking their iPhones and eating a sandwich en route to Milwaukee…not so much.nnIn retrospect I should have split the article into two and kept the cell phone aspect separate. Live and learn :)

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