So many things to do…so many competing demands. I could move from one meeting to another all day every day, keep busy with little task after little task, just follow the demands of the day, being pushed around like the finished fluff of a dandelion on a windy day. And, lately I’ve been wondering, just how can I be more like the daisy standing tall, facing toward the sun? I’ve come to the conclusion that a key part of the answer lies in being focused.
So how to be more focused? Given my experience during the month of May, when I had a really low point, followed by several welcome highs, I have a sense that there is a correlation between the amount of time I spend on the telephone in conference calls and the extent to which I feel effective.
So the answer for me right now is to spend less time on the phone and more time thinking and creating. I’ve decided to try limiting myself to 4 hours of conference calls a day. I’m calling this my ‘4forfocus’ initiative – a critical project for my 2012 success.
The objective here is to create a balance between collaborating with others in meetings/on conference calls and having time to think and create and spontaneously reach out to colleagues. I shared this idea with a friend and she said “Do you really think you can do that? Only 4 hours of calls per day? Isn’t that what your work is all about? Isn’t that the culture of your workplace? Isn’t that what you have to do if you work virtually?” My response was another question: “Can I really afford not to try?” What is at stake is my ability to identify what is important, to tune in to the highest priority activities, to perform quality work, to genuinely connect with others, to feel like I am making a difference…
So, here are my ideas for how I might make this work. Perhaps you want to try them, too?
Consciously open and evaluate each new invitation to a meeting and consciously do a daily calendar review to create the free space by moving things around. Ask:
- What is the purpose of the meeting?
- How will the meeting help me achieve my goals?
- What can I offer to contribute to meaningful outcomes and results?
- How important is it for me to invest of myself in this right now?
Here are some of the response choices to consider as I evaluate each meeting:
- Yes, this is important. Accept and adjust my schedule as needed to attend.
- Yes, although this can wait. Propose a later date.
- Yes, however we don’t need as much time as allocated. Propose a reduce timeframe.
- No, someone else should attend this. Decline and suggest another person.
- No, this can be handled by email or online chat. Decline and make a note to send email or chat.
- No, this is not important. Decline.
Quotes to Contemplate
- Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days. ~Zig Ziglar
- That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. ~Steve Jobs
- One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. ~Tony Robbins
- The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear. ~Brian Tracy
- If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent. ~Isaac Newton
- The shorter way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time. ~Mozart
- The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. ~Bruce Lee
- Often he who does too much does too little. ~Italian Proverb
- If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results. ~Jack Dixon
© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2012