Overcome Fractured Focus

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A while back I traveled from Sydney, Australia to Hong Kong to Los Angeles to Dallas.  Yes, it was a long trip, but that’s par for the course because I make international trips quite often each year.  The biggest challenge is always upon my return when I am readjusting due to time zone differences.

After arriving home that week there were several times I noticed my mind drifting, and that’s to be expected.  However, that doesn’t mean I could afford to live a life of DRIFT.  Not at all.  It actually meant I was dealing with what I refer to as FRACTURED FOCUS.

And here’s the interesting thing, most people deal with this due to many other reasons besides international travel.  A study of approximately 2,200 people a few years ago by two researchers at Harvard University found that over 50% of the people they contacted were "not focused" on the task they were currently involved with.

Why? According to Edward Hallowell in his Harvard Business Review article its simple … Physics.  “Nature tends to disorder…focus imposes order…focus requires work…and people often avoid work and pain.”  His suggested solution (which I believe to be a great foundation to utilize) is twofold:

  1. Re-Create the necessary boundaries that technology and other distractions have broken down. Turn the TV off.  Close the door to your office.  Don’t get online as often.  Don’t allow intrusions into your creative thought processes.
  2. Spend as much time as possible at the intersection of three spheres: What you’re good at, What you like to do, AND What adds value to the world. According to Hallowell, at that intersection lies the land of productivity that will compete with the forces of disorder that work to distract you.

To recap, put in place the boundaries you need so you can pick tasks you’re skilled at and that you like to do, and then set the bar higher each day.  Focus will follow along with greater levels of success in life.