Today I welcome back Kathy Wright, my friend, colleague and the new chief operating officer at the Institute for Conversational Fundraising. She talks to us this morning about focus. I think you’ll agree, we can use an occasional reminder about how to focus at work and in our lives.
I got new glasses a couple of months ago. Why? Because I play the piano. My everyday glasses are what you might expect for someone of (ahem) a certain age. Bifocals– made for distance viewing with a transition for reading and close up work.
But, I couldn’t see my piano music! I couldn’t focus on something about 24″ away. So I got a special pair of glasses to help me see, with perfect clarity, the most important thing. In this case, the notes on the page.
Sometimes, in our work, we need to get new lenses, too. By bringing focus to the task at hand, the one “main thing”, or even to the bigger picture we can make a tremendous difference to our productivity and results.
I am working with a board president who confesses his organization has somewhat lost its focus. The leadership used to know their path going forward with clarity. But, lately, it seems they almost serendipitously just follow the next “good idea.” They don’t revisit their strategic plan or look at their agreed upon short term priorities to determine if each “good idea” is in line with their strategic priorities. Luckily, this board recognizes they are not realizing the accomplishments they would like to see, and has decided to re-focus on their plan.
“Achievement requires focus. And focus means saying “no” to a lot of distractions,” says Eric Barker in his article “8 Things The World’s Most Successful People All Have in Common.” We could spend each and every day on distractions if we let ourselves. A quick trip to the coffee pot turns into a 30 minute chat about what we did over the weekend. Wading through personal emails or browsing websites takes up the next few hours. (Think clickable links — one just leads to the next, doesn’t it?) Maybe your distraction is a messy workspace or having your (substitute MY!) 3-year old granddaughter stop by for a visit. There are many ways we become distracted these days.
So, what’s a granny to do??
First, treasure your relationships. This is a core value of the Institute for Conversational Fundraising both in what we teach and in how we treat each other.
Second, make a plan. Just this morning, Kameron, our social media guru, and I made a project plan for the next three months.
Third, create a schedule. This helps determine the order of tasks and the resources required. Allow enough lead time in your schedule to avoid what I call being in perpetual crisis mode. What’s important gets scheduled and what gets scheduled gets done.
Fourth, just do it. Practice disciplining yourself to ignore distractions. Focus on the task at hand. Keep the bigger picture in mind and power through.
Whether you need new lenses or just need to polish the ones you have, it’s a good idea to keep your focus crystal clear. It makes all the difference in accomplishing your goals.
Now, if you’ll excuse me…my granddaughter just asked if I want to watch Frozen (again!) So the stack of work beside me? I’ll just have to Let it Go……………………..for now!
Kathy Wright, COO
PS: Would coaching help you get refocused? Contact us for guidance in bringing clear focus to accomplishing your goals.