Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Distraction Zone

It hits most of us in the afternoon hours when we’re starting to crash and doze. It’s the time zone between the afternoon hours of 2pm and 4pm (no it’s not exactly a time zone) where we lose focus and can be distracted by anything. We zone out. We sit at our desk with a large cup of coffee in a feeble attempt at being productive and try to zero in on the tasks at hand:

What should I do first?

What is the priority, really?

Do, I really want to start with “that” project?

Should I wait until this afternoon to start making phone calls?

Should I rework my web page/marketing material?

How about if I give _______ a call and see how they are doing?

Sitting in the distraction zone without having a real plan with clear priorities is a success killer. You are already challenged by a not-so-alert mental state, and without pre-planned and focused priorities it will be impossible to accomplish anything.

Focus is what is necessary to accomplish goals and objectives that will lead to success as you define it. Focus provides a clear image, a clear path of direction. This is especially true while we sit in the distraction zone.

How do you achieve focus? Start with the end in mind. Decide where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. You need to ascertain what the “big picture” is in order to determine and execute the necessary action steps. What is the vision for your company or department? What do you want to be known for and why? As a result of accomplishing your vision, what will change for you personally? The answer to these questions will provide the motivation for success.

Establish a Plan. After you have established your desired vision, you need a plan … a plan that not only includes the vision, but a plan that lays out the mission (how you plan to accomplish the vision in a two to five year time frame). An assessment of your challenges and potential obstacles needs to be conducted. Based on your direction and combined assessments, you can then create and proceed with sufficient and necessary critical goal categories that will bring the plan to life.

Implement the Plan. The critical goal categories are the broad goals established in your plan to begin the action planning process. Next, specific and detailed goals, which must meet the SMART criteria, need to be created. They will provide the daily, monthly, and quarterly plans as well as the needed performance metrics. These action steps must be identified with time lines, and the time commitments need to be immediately entered into your planning system. Having an unorganized time management system will inevitably lead to unforeseen challenges and disappointing results.

Continuous Goals Review. It’s important to know what measurements are critical to the success of your plan and monitor them closely. Seek out assistance through a coaching or mentoring relationship where someone helps keep your feet to the fire. Creating the personal, professional or business success you are looking for means avoiding procrastination. It requires persistence and unyielding focus on the critical measurements.

Make a difference today! We cannot control tomorrow … we can only plan for it, and yesterday is a cancelled check. The only thing we can control is today! Make a decision to focus your action steps first thing every day and make the commitment to yourself (no matter what) that you will accomplish want needs to be accomplished. Long-term success comes from the dedication to do the right activity well and do it every day!


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