In their new HBR book “Mind of a Leader” Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter from Potential Project describe how focus is such a critical skill for leaders, summerised in their equation:
focus x time x competence = productivity
But when was the last time you had focus training? You may have attended many training programs on how to use your time better and how to become more competent at financial accounting, marketing or strategic thinking, but leaders rarely have trainings on how to be more focused.
However with so many things now competing for our attention, maybe its time for some focus training?
Results from their research with HBR showed that:
73% of leaders feel distracted “some or most of the time”
67% of leaders feel their minds are cluttered
65% feel this causes them to fail to complete their priorities
96% say that enhanced focus would be very valuable
Every time you focus you are training your brain to be more focused. It’s a great self-perpetuating cycle, unfortunately the opposite is also true: every time you allow yourself to be distracted you are training your brain to be more distracted.
Our environment is filled with distractions: emails, phones, other peoples priorities, funny you tube videos and various types of pings on our screens. Unless we actively take steps to reduce these distractions we are unintentionally letting our environment train our brain to be more and more distracted.
In which case, according to the formula, we had better find a load more time, or massively increase our competency, in order to remain productive.
Another option of course is to actively manage our external distractions, and train our brain to have less internal distractions.
Having a daily routine of scheduled focus time is a great technique to try to increase your focus: