Wednesday, 10 February 2010

You get what you focus on

Undeniable in its simplicity and logic, you can’t argue with the necessity of focusing on a goal in order to achieve it. When you look at how many of our days are spent, however, it isn’t always clear what our key objectives are. So much time, so little accomplished.

One simple way of keeping focus is to track progress towards your objective. A relatively simple objective, like running a marathon, can be tracked in a spreadsheet by logging the number of miles run each day. This has two benefits:

  1. It enables you to clearly see how often you have gone out running (or not), and how much further you are able to run as you get fitter. Work objectives are no different. One delicious book I have talks about mental strength training – building up stamina with achieving goals. Wonderful!
  2. Tracking progress keeps you focused on what needs to be done. By coming back to your measurement system each day, several times a day, every week or whatever, you keep your mind tuned to what needs to be done to attain the goal. Or put more plainly - you don't forget what you should be doing!
More complex organisation or departmental goals need more complex systems to track and report on progress, but the principles are exactly the same - with exactly the same need to remind people what needs to be done!

Another idea is to have a checklist for your activity, whether it is preparing for running (warm up, take water, etc) or sending out a mailing (check envelope stocks, proof-read letter, etc) so that each time you come to the activity you maintain a consistently high and improving standard.

Most of us care deeply about personal and business goals - these simple steps make all the difference in achieving them.

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