The lightning speed of business today has rendered the cliché “business as usual” obsolete. The “usual” course of business today is often predictably unpredictable. What is predictable, however, is that distractions and impediments to our carefully planned strategies for success will flash across our computer screens, walk into our offices, and enter our boardrooms to pull us away from our mission to move forward.
Time is inelastic – we all have the same amount in a day: 24 hours. What does it take to stay focused in the minutes, hours, and days that will collectively define our career? How do we create and maintain that “zone” where things that matter are conceived and achieved?
Focus is a function of vision and willpower. Willpower is the embodiment of resolve – it is the marriage of resilience and discipline. We can easily find, mostly around the “water cooler,” a distraction or two from what we must do.
Distractions can come in various disguises, shapes, and forms. They are often colored in the patina of fear and uncertainty. We hesitate, create distractions, or do those things that aren’t necessary or vital to our business welfare. In fact, sometimes we dupe ourselves into thinking we’re doing things that matter when all we’re doing is running from our fears – unwilling to do the work it takes to succeed. Instead, we should be striving to gain the characteristics of successful people.
So, how do we limit or eliminate distractions?
- Understand the purpose of the exercise – You are in business to expand your lifestyle options. Lifestyle is a product of the value you build in the effective engagement of your business endeavors. Choose to strengthen your personal platform of value by cultivating and honing your business skill sets. Remember, business is a subset of life!
- Stay vigilant – Stop and think: is this activity productive – does it move me closer to the customer? Distractions limit your productive time with customers. Customers vote with their wallets – when they “vote” for your company, you get paid.
- Speaking of “time-wasters” – Next time you’re in a meeting, think of the minutes or hours spent discussing ideas, people, or concepts that have nothing to do with moving your business platform forward. Watch people look at their cell phones, stare out the window, or lose the voice of contribution – you’ll be amazed! Well, maybe not… But if you can’t achieve in 10 minutes what you set-out to accomplish, then your meeting lacks an agenda, corporate motive, or time-directive.
- Think deliberately, act decisively – Don’t let distractions drive a wedge between thought and execution! Results matter; they cash checks, make payroll, and line your bank account. Accomplishments of value aren’t achieved by distracting ourselves from achieving the goals we want.
- The shorter the time lapse between deliberate thought and purposeful, directed activity, the greater the likelihood of success in the endeavor – The inverse is also true. The more time that lapses between thought and a form of action, the greater the likelihood that someone else has filled that void with an idea or is now shaking hands with your soon-to-be ex-customer. “Think and Do” is a fundamental for success at any level of engagement.
- Start thinking like a game-changer – Game-changers are mentally tough. Mental toughness separates the good from the great, the garage bands from the rock stars. They find a way or make a way to create and forge opportunity. Opportunity realized creates and forges lifestyle, and lifestyle can create and forge legacy. Game-changers don’t waste time with distractions – their zone of focus is impenetrable.
- Show them the way out of your office, or usher them from your cubicle – Be polite, but if you want to engage people in gossip, you can do it before or after work. Whether or not Brad Pitt dyes his hair has nothing to do with your next customer service call.
- Stop fooling yourself – Some of the characteristics and traits of mental toughness exist in the “No BS Zone.” The “No BS Zone” is a place where we can look into the mirror, see our strengths, and address our weaknesses according to situation or need.
- Lose excuses and do the heavy lifting – Don’t be a condition looking for an excuse! The price of success demands that we play through the proverbial pain of the rote, do the tough things, make the uncomfortable calls, and endure the sacrifices necessary to obtain what will be out of reach for those who don’t.
- Once you begin to practice discipline, you’ll gain the energy of momentum – Your focus will come more easily when you practice the habits that limit the distractions and impediments to your personal and corporate life.
When you limit distractions, you will create an environment for yourself that will enable your vision to cash the checks of a reality that limits disruption and overcomes impediments on your road to success – and your road must be Always Forward!
Disciplining yourself to focus on the important things is essential for you to achieve your business goals more quickly. Become an expert in time management with AMA's seminars and resources.