Unleashing Your Remarkable Potential
In Kevin's Own Words
Get Focused, Get Results
Last night my wife was helping my 12 year old learn some new things when my daughter and I walked in playing and giggling. Once we stopped in respect for them, I noticed he was having trouble concentrating because the television was on. After I suggested he turn it off, they made great progress very quickly.
We all have done it, whether we are parents or not. We’ve encouraged someone to remove a distraction so they could focus on the task, conversation or subject at hand.
If you wear corrective lenses of any kind and go for your annual vision check, you know what it is like when your new prescription is applied. You see more clearly with greater focus. Suddenly your mind doesn’t have to think about focusing, things already are without “working” at it.
It is crystal clear to me that we all know how important focus (of all kinds) is, but many of us aren’t very good at it. (As a side note, I write this article because focus is something that I continually work on getting better at; it is my hope that the things I will share from my journey, will help you too.)
This article will target three specific areas with specifics suggestions for practicing improved focus: planning, questioning and removing.
Daily planning is critical. Many people have a “to-do” list, and while having one will help you be more focused than not having one, most people don’t use them to their maximum benefit. Too often the list degenerates into a list of the crises that MUST be handled today – or as Dr. Stephen Covey says in his work, the urgent, but not necessarily important things. The other problem with many people’s lists is that they are way too long (too often, mine included).
Here are three things to do to improve your daily planning for greater focus:
There are some questions you can ask yourself throughout the day to help you stay focused. They include:
Distractions are everywhere. The TV, a cluttered desk, the “ding” of a new email being delivered, more advertising in more places, cell phones and pagers… I could go on, but you are already thinking of the distractions in your life.
Turn off the TV. Clean your desk. Turn down the volume or turn off the ding. Have someone answer your phone while you work on that project. Screen your calls.
You get the idea.
Make a list of the 5-7 top things that distract you (at work or at home – wherever you are trying to increase your focus). That’s right make the list right now.
Then identify what you can do to remove, eliminate or defer the distraction when you most want to be focused.
Focus and clarity are siblings. Both of them are required for us to get greater results, and come ever closer to unleashing our potential. I wish you the best in your efforts to increase your focus. I promise that your efforts will rewarded with greater productivity, higher quality work, and greater opportunities.
Yours in Learning,
You Ask...Kevin Answers
Join the club. Everyone – even those who are extraordinarily passionate about their work have things they don’t like to do – but are critical to their success. Eventually you may have success to the level that allows you to have others around you do many of these things (in fact, one of the ways we can unleash our potential is to find ways to spend more time doing the things we are best at – which are typically things we love doing.)
But, it doesn’t sound like that is where you are…yet.
There are a lot of strategies you could employ to help you get through. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Break the work into bite sized pieces. Schedule it throughout the day or over several days, sprinkled in with other work you do enjoy. Celebrate the completion of each piece!
These are just three suggestions you can try – any of which will help you move towards your career goals more quickly. Best of luck!
If you have question you want Kevin to answer in a future issue, email us.
Focal Point by Brian Tracy
I couldn’t go wrong recommending anything written or recorded by Brian Tracy, and since our focus in this issue is focus, the choice was obvious.
Brian Tracy is a true genius in the area of personal development and in this book he provides a system for improving your focus. His system includes:
It is packed with great ideas and easy to read. My copy has plenty of yellow ink in it and I highly recommend it to you.
You can order a copy at Amazon.com HERE.
Killing Procrastination Instantly
Have you ever had a great idea but did not act upon it? And then later you saw that product or service out in the marketplace, perhaps earning the founder/inventor millions of dollars? Fortunes are lost due to procrastination but that's not the only reason to kill off procrastination instantly.
Many people procrastinate for a number of reasons: fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown, etc. The idea that it’s easier to put something off tomorrow than doing it today is a lazy way of thinking that does not help whoever holds that belief.
Let me first tackle fear of failure. Many people put things off, believing that if they do it later they'll do it better. Or if they do it later, they won't fail. But usually the 'procrastination' route just leads to not doing it at all. Let me let you in on a little secret that, if you understand it, will change your life. This secret can transform your life if you truly grasp the depth of the simple sentence.
Here goes nothing: There’s no such thing as failure. That's a million dollars worth of insight right there. (I'll take a check please…hehehe) The only way to fail is to not even go for it. The people who succeed the most have failed their way to success. The thing to keep in mind is that after each time something doesn’t work to learn from it and adjust accordingly. And then plod on. And keep doing it until you win.
Many people fear success and fear the unknown. I'll combine the two into one because fear of success is partly based on fear of the unknown. Everybody's got a comfort zone. That's a given. And what's outside our comfort zone is unknown to us. People are habitual creatures and generally don't want to step outside to the unknown unless they make a conscious, concerted effort. That's why a lot of people procrastinate.
I've told you about procrastination and what it stems from. Friend, I’m not going to leave you hanging without giving you a real, workable solution in how to instantly end procrastination forever.
But first, let me tell you about a dangerous side effect of procrastination. I call it 'psychic weight'. 'Psychic weight' is the weight you feel on your psyche for having a whole lot of things left unfinished that you need to do but are procrastinating on.
An example is prudent here because it will crystallize your understanding of what I'm saying. Suppose you want to go watch a movie with your significant other but you've got some household chores left unfinished such as mowing the lawn, washing the dishes, and doing the laundry. While at the movie, it may be harder for you to enjoy the movie if your mind is wandering because you may be thinking about all your unfinished chores back at the house. This is doubly bad. Why? It’s doubly bad because instead of enjoying the movie, you were distracted by the 'psychic weight' of your mind gravitating toward your unfinished chores AND when you arrive back at home, you still have to do those same chores that lessened your movie experience!
Now, after you've killed the procrastination habit, imagine yourself mowing the lawn immediately, doing the dishes, and finishing up the laundry. You automatically feel a good sense of accomplishment. You joyfully invite your significant other to a movie with the peace of mind that you're free to enjoy the movie fully. Much better, isn't it?
If you go to procrastinate, ask yourself, "What's the 'psychic wait' of me putting off this action? What can I gain by immediately doing it right now? How much of a sense of accomplishment will I feel by getting this done right now?" Asking yourself these questions will put you in the mood to 'Do-It-Now!'
I used to procrastinate, especially when I began working for myself. Instead of doing what was important, I surfed the internet, incessantly read and wrote email, etc. It was junk food for my mind for me when I didn't discipline myself to do what mattered. Sure, it felt good at the time, like the yummy taste of junk food, but it caught up to me later. Things that I needed to do weren’t getting done.
So how did I kick the procrastination habit? I made a list of things I needed to do for the day and ranked them in order of importance. Then, I did the first thing on the list and stuck with it until complete. Then I moved to the next thing. This alone doubled my productivity. If I didn't accomplish the first thing on the list, I would just keep going with it as long as it took.
Slow and steady smokes somebody who is a short-term sprinter all day long. Remember that as you run for your goals, you're in a marathon and not a sprint. Just keep going every day. Remember the Energizer bunny? It just keeps going and going, right? Well, you and I can do the same thing. Just keep plugging away.
Adopt this belief as your own: "Action is always better than no action". When you take action, the best case scenario is that you get your result immediately and you are very satisfied. The worst case scenario is that you don’t get your result but you do learn something for the next time. The problem with 'no action' is that you don’t learn anything if you haven’t done anything.
Kent Sayre is a worldwide persuasion expert and author of "The Ultimate Persuasion Formula" available at http://www.TheUltimatePersuasionFormula.com. Furthermore, he is the author of the bestselling book "Unstoppable Confidence" endorsed by such celebrity authors as Brian Tracy, Robert Allen, and Jim Rohn.
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