Focus at Work is the Exception, Not the Rule

“You don’t get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that produce results.” - Mike Hawkins

It was named in the top 5 most sought-after soft skills employers look for in LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report. Tim Ferriss (author of the 4-Hour Workweek) describes it as the key to his success. Why is time management having a resurgence of sorts?

Despite popular and shiny initiatives like Working Smarter, Agile etc, the difference between the best and the worst workers invariably leads to how well they execute ie. do their job. Therefore, as much as things change, fundamental core skill requirements are still necessary ie. our ability to focus on and action the most important aspects of our job responsibilities and key projects are critical to our success.

While it sounds simple in theory, it’s not necessarily an ingrained skill workers develop naturally. If you’re not convinced, then consider the findings in the 2018 Workplace Distraction Report from Udemy:

  • 70% feel distracted while working 

  • 54% aren’t performing as well as they should

  • 75% feel they’d get more done if they could reduce distractions

Do the work

Distractions and overwhelm are basic challenges a good time management program provide a path to solving. For example, before we’re able to action the key parts of our role, we’ve got to first understand where we’ll get the greatest return for effort. Where do we need to focus?

From there it’s a matter of:

  • Planning – what needs to be done

  • Scheduling – when it will be done

  • Executing – now do it

If demands for your time aren’t part of the above then they should only get very limited attention.  

It’s a fallacy to think time management is a 1 size fits all approach. The most effective workers get more done by managing their time and energy via modernising and customising time management principles to their strengths, weaknesses and preferences.

To maximise your results, where do you need to focus your energies?