Are you easily distracted, or are you finding it hard to concentrate?
Worried this will affect contributing your best work?
Before you get swept away in a sea of overwhelm, see if these three focus bandits are lurking in your vicinity.
If so, I’ve given some tips for you to eliminate the thieves and recapture clarity and focus so you can get going!
1. Unfinished business.
You may be carrying a stress load from unresolved conflict.
Is there a current challenge outside of the immediate work at hand that you need to resolve? A critical conversation that needs to occur?
Even more insidious is a long-standing situation that has silently eroded your focus for some time. If you aren’t sure as to whether you have any of the latter in your life, do a short self-assessment.
Rate yourself from 1-10 in the following areas:
- Personal finances
- Friends and family
- Intimate relationship
- Fun and recreation
- Physical environment
- Spiritual life
With 10 being ultimate success, give yourself a score in each area. If any are less than 10, ask yourself what holds you back from a 10. The problem will emerge, and then it’s up to you to decide how you will resolve it.
2. Too many good things.
The adage, “Because I can, I do,” is bunk.
When a client tells me he or she is overworked and highly stressed, it usually comes from one of three areas:
- Mismanagement (lack of delegating appropriately, avoiding conflict to allow it to pile up and affect the team, or other poor management practices)
- A need to please others by accepting new assignments or an increase in responsibility without the proper support
- Delusions of grandeur (believing you can handle it all, when the calendar shows it is physically impossible)
Do any of these feel as though they might be the case for you?
The mind needs “white space” or downtime to reflect, process, and actually follow through with the work prescribed from all those meetings we attend.
If you aren’t finding that white space in your life, it is time to re-organize. Identify the non-essentials and delegate or eliminate. You can have it all – just not all at the same time!
3. Lack of organization, prioritization.
I find this less in my corporate clientele than my entrepreneurs, only because it is tough to wear several hats at once when you are building a business. However, this can also creep up when you are a corporate executive, and it usually occurs when you have just been handed an additional area of responsibility.
If this is you, whether things have just piled up, or whether you have accepted new opportunities, you’ll do best with formulating a 90-day plan of action to help you…
- Identify short- and long-term wins
- Determine the internal and external connections you need to cultivate in order to best get the work done
- Establish a process whereby you can stay focused on the top priorities
I’ve helped many clients turn things around with this approach, and besides getting organized, the plan has kept their focus to a level that builds great credibility with others quickly.
And finally (bonus tip), here is the unvarnished truth for you who are eternal optimists:
You are fooling yourself if you use phrases that sound like, “As soon as _______ happens, I will have more time to breathe easier, capture more white space….”
If you find yourself in any of the above descriptions, you can recapture a great deal of focus and lessen your stress by simply being tough enough to create better boundaries for yourself.
It’s not always easy – but the reward is oh, so great.
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Learn the two vital parts to trust and how they can help you become a more highly effective leader.
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Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.