In this episode Kevin and Graham talk about the importance of focus
We discuss the importance of focus and we run through two exercises that you can do too. These might help you understand why you have difficulty achieving things, and that might help you free up time to focus on the important while getting rid of things you shouldn’t be doing.
Separately we have both come to know the importance of focus. The realisation that less is more, not necessarily doing less work, but having fewer projects on the go. Kevin referred to the book he read last year:
The book isn’t about doing less, rather doing fewer things – “you can move an inch in a hundred directions or a mile in one direction”
Understand yourself to understand why you have difficulty focussing
Graham talked about the meeting he had with Nick, a business coach from the Federation of Small Businesses. He was told he was spinning too many plates. He has too many different, but inter related, projects going on. Nick gave graham an exercise using 9 cards which he had to sort into order. Most like him, through to least like him.
You can try this yourself using post it notes. You can get more information at Nick’s website http://www.partnersinmotivation.co.uk
The 9 Cards are
- Star – Seeks recognition, respect, social esteem
- Defender – Seeks security, safety, stability, predictability
- Friend – Seeks belonging, friendship, fulfilling relationships
- Expert – Seeks expertise, mastery, specialisation
- Builder – Seeks money, material satisfactions, above average standard of living
- Director – Seeks power, influence, control of people or resources
- Creator – Seeks innovation, identification with new, expressing creative potential
- Spirit – Seeks freedom, independence, making own decisions
- Searcher – Seeks meaning, making a difference, providing worthwhile things.
Seeing the top 2 or three cards that were most like him helped graham to realise why he was spinning too many plates
Graham was also directed to Simon Sinek and his book “Start with Why” but particularly mentioned his ted talk. You can watch this at https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en
Free up time from other things to focus on what you do best
Having too many competing projects isn’t the only problem we face. Many of us do nearly everything in our businesses ourselves. No matter how much we accept the importanc of focus, and restrict the projects we do, the day to day still gets in the way.
Kevin suggested an exercise:
Over the course of a week list everything you do, not just business tasks. At the end of the week sub divide those tasks into 4 sub lists.
- List 1 – The tasks you hated doing
- List 2 – The tasks you did but you sucked at
- List 3 – The tasks you did, and probably did quite well, but as the business owner you shouldn’t be doing them
- List 4 – Things you really enjoyed and added most value to either you or your business.
The things you need to spend more time doing are on list 4. To achieve this you need to get rid of other tasks starting at list one. Start delegating or outsourcing.