How to Make 2012 Your Year of Focus

That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex… But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. – Steve Jobs

My New Years resolution is all about focus. I was reading a bit in the Gospel of John about Jesus being the vine and us as the branches. I think what’s so interesting about that way of talking about the relationship between the two is that it’s only in pruning the branches that they can grow. This works for you, individually. It can work for your ministry, business, website.

Focus is all about finding some of the branches in our life that we can prune back in order to focus on some of the more important and significant branches of our life. When we truly examine and take a look at what really matters, we can re-focus and enable us to grow far past where they are now.

Here are four steps to re-gaining your focus and have your best year yet! (Not in a Joel Osteen kind of way… gross)

1. Don’t multi-task. Is it really better to get a lot of things done poorly than a few things done well?  Multi-tasking doesn’t work. It only offers distraction. If you’re going to do something, do that until it’s done. Then move on. Multi-tasking is inefficient, stressful and pretty disrespectful if one of the tasks you’re doing is speaking to someone. Don’t do it.

2. Group e-mail check times to twice per day (3 times max). There is nothing that kills the momentum of a productive period of time than getting online and checking e-mail or Facebook. On my better days, I check e-mail once right when I get to the office to get back to anything urgent, once just after lunch and once more just before I leave the office. If you can group the times you check e-mail and other non-productive tasks, that opens up your day immensely to do #3.

3. Pick 2 or 3 primary tasks to do each day. This goes along with #1. At the start of the day, list everything that must be done in the next week. Then pick 2 or 3 things that you can do that day and focus on doing those. These are the things that have to get done at all costs. Your day is successful if you complete these few things.

4. Take periodic breaks and reward yourself. After you finish one of your tasks on the day, or when you get to a good break point, stand up and take a little break. Go for a walk. Re-fill the coffee. Whenever I’m out at our Gold Canyon campus working on a sermon I’ll head out to the fountain and look out at the foothills. Take a few deep breaths and just clear my head.

Get these things done each day and that will free up your afternoons and evenings not to worry about e-mail or the tasks that got left undone. But to take a walk. Go to a movie. Grill out. Take up a new hobby.

With these steps, you’ll get more done in a day or week than you ever have before. You’ll prune back the branches so that you can grow beyond your wildest imagination.

What are some things that help you focus? What are some of the things that make you procrastinate? Share them in the comments section so we can all get a wider picture at just how many things distract us from our focus.

Cheers,
Eric

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Comments

  1. Always wonder how you get all the stuff done that you do. I’m gonna try to follow your advice and see how it works. I’ll keep you posted.

  2. Ha, that’s funny. I wrote a post with almost the identical title but very different approach. I guess I was more strategic than tactical. I realized that I was just trying to do too many things and decided that I had to pick and choose what to cut out. Then, doing what you outline above will be even more effective.

    I’ve found #1 to be really rewarding. It sounds kinda lazy to only pick 2 or 3 primary things to accomplish, but before that I would go through a week and halfway accomplish 70 things. By focusing on a few things a day, I’ve found I’m more productive.

  3. This post definitely came out of the feeling that I was trying to do too many things and that I’d get all kinds of things half done — a lot like you say. But it does feel pretty rewarding to set your mind to a couple things and really work toward getting them done. It’s a good feeling.

    Hope you guys are finding some good feelings of productivity so far in the new year!

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