Today’s business relevant vocabulary word: FOCUS. (definition per Google search)
- the center of interest or activity.
“this generation has made the environment a focus of attention”
- the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.
“his face is rather out of focus”
Let’s break this down a with examples.
Center of Interest or Activity
There are a few ways to apply this definition.
- For the next 15 minutes/half hour/hour, pick ONE thing and concentration on it. And ONLY on that. Turn off the distractions, ignore everything else. It’s amazing how much can get done by doing this. And to be perfectly honest, this is the hardest thing for me to do. I’m a born multi-tasker which can translate into fragmented focus quite easily.
- Identify what the main goal of your business is. Everything else is most likely supporting that main goal. For instance, the message when I worked at Ford is that we were a car company. Okay, not a surprise. Everything else supported that main goal. Creating Ford Credit to finance customers and dealers. Creating dealerships themselves. Marketing, training, finance – all support that main goal. Do you know what your main goal is? Is it well defined? Do your other activities support that or are they just busy work?
Clear Visual Definition
To me, this one means visualizing your goal. Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Maybe you need to create a vision board with pictures of what that vision might look like. Writing out a description can also work. This might actually be something in your business plan that you can refine (you do have one right? Even if it’s not a ‘formal’ looking one?)
Our brains have an easier time concentrating on something if there is a clear picture of what we’re trying to do. And it can work in weird ways.
I’ve always wanted to go on a river cruise in the Netherlands at tulip time. The pictures of all those tulips blooming are just gorgeous! So, I took a screen shot of a river cruise and stuck it on the wall in my office, making it a focus.
Next thing I know, my husband is contacting that company to arrange for a cruise for our 30th anniversary next year. Cool how that works, eh? I didn’t say a word to him. My thought was something entirely different, like paying for that out of my business earnings. But this way works too!
This is all easier said than done. I’ll be the first one to tell you that it’s easy to be fragmented in what you work on in the immediate future and what your goal is. But focus does work.
My best example…
When I got hired at Ford, I already knew that at the 30 year mark I could retire with full benefits. I had that date in my mind from the beginning. In fact, I was told at my retirement party that I was telling people that’s when I was going to retire nearly from the beginning.
For the entire length of my tenure, I had that focus in my mind. I saved money. I invested. I made sure my bills were paid off, paid ahead on my mortgage, purchased cars rather than leased so that I had years without car payments occasionally.
January 2nd, 2016 was my 30 year mark. I retired at the end of January. Goal met.
See what focus can do? Pretty powerful, huh?
And now on with my current business – let’s see what applying focus can do for that!