Performing well at anything requires your undivided attention. Once your attention is focused, it needs to stay there for a reasonable amount of time.
Let’s first take this step-by-step, one thing at a time.
Attention is what you are doing right now. At this moment, what you are thinking about, what you are doing, and where your mental targeting is, decides the direction to which you are attending.
Focus is also attention, but is determined by the time that you spend giving your attention to something. It may also be referred to as your “Attention Span”.
Your performance is a direct result of your attention and your focus, and how you perform impacts the quality of the product that you produce.
Depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, your focus may change, and alter to suit the conditions of your work (or play).
When you do something that you really enjoy, your attention span will be noticeably increased.
When you play a video game, it seems like you can sit for hours without losing your attention on the play that is going on (we won’t count the potato chips consumed, the bathroom breaks, or the “Beverages” – adult or otherwise that likely take place).
Have you ever picked up a book and found yourself reading for an extended period of time? Maybe an hour or two went and you never noticed the two guys with masks who came in and stole your TV and stereo system. Just kidding – they weren’t wearing masks.
Your concentration can be so directed that you don’t even notice people moving back and forth in the same room. Your attention is completely focused on what you are reading (or doing).
As an aside, this is similar to self-hypnosis, where your attention is “Locked in” on one particular thing. Kind of like driving on a trip and not realizing that an hour went by and you can’t recall that part of the drive.
I find it curious how something can be right in front of you and you have trouble seeing it, or you can’t see it at all.
Can you spot all 5 horses?
Some say there are 7 horses.
Counting the legs it would seem that the
7 horse theory is inaccurate.
Loss of focus is usually called “Distraction”. I tend to call it
“Mental Suicide” as it can bury you 6 feet deep in personal turmoil.
Avoiding distraction is impossible. Controlling your distractions is the only thing that you can actually do to keep your performance healthy.
Just like the horse illusion, it is often very difficult to identify exactly what your distractions are, or where you may be hiding them.
Identify your distractions
Part of keeping your attention, and staying focused is being able to reduce your distractions, thereby making your efforts more valuable.
Distractions rob you of valuable time that you might otherwise be able to put to better use someplace else.
Getting distracted is something that will happen.
You may even unconsciously want to be distracted from what you are doing.
Unconscious distraction can be as sneaky as giving in to that cup of coffee that you just happen to realize that you want. Or that cigarette that, all of a sudden, you NOW have to have.
You tell yourself “I’ll just take a few puffs so I don’t waste any time.
Right! Now you’re not only wasting time, but you’re wasting your cigarette.
Knowing and identifying what your distractions are, is not that hard to do.
Learning to control and reduce your distraction can be more difficult.
Tips to reduce distractions
Since distraction controls you when it happens, you can waste an enormous amount of time doing something other than what was your intitial priority.
Here are a few things that you can do to reduce the amount of distraction that can come up and bite you in the…
You know where!
Number #1: Organize what you need to have for what you are going to do.
How often have you started something and you did not have everything that you needed handy and accessable?
What happens? You find yourself spending half of your time either retrieving, or looking for the tools, people, or information that you need.
Number #2: Monitor Yourself
You may have an extraordinary capacity for staying focused for long periods of time. You would be in a very small minority.
Chances are, you “Occasionally” find yourself in unrelated territory from where you started. Now you go back and re-focus your attention.
To keep this distraction at a minimum, you will need to ask yourself (before you go off track on a search somewhere) exactly how important this new direction will be to what you are now working on, and how much time will you allow yourself to be off your primary goal.
Always keep in mind that you can temporarily suspend parts of a project, and work on other portions of the work.
#3: Eliminate known distractions before you start working
You may not know ALL of the things that will distract you when you work, but you do know some of them.
A memory refresher
=> Turn off your phone. Unless you absolutely need it, you don’t need to be
interrupted by some spam call
=> Ignore your email and other messages (unless you need them for the work)
=> If you work at home, then take your dog out, put the kids to bed (or just
keep them busy for a while), and keep your cat out of the room in which you
are working, or you will find that your cat knows more about using your
computer than you do.
Everyone has heard the phrase “Time is Money”.
Wasting time is also
wasting part of your precious life.
If you are young this means little to you, but
if you are getting older,
then you are certainly aware of how quickly time passes.
Even if you are a younger person
who is working hard to get ahead. Continue reading
We have all received emails telling us of new cash in internet strategies, and so have found
ourselves clicking on links that take us to websites that tell us that we can make a “Gazillion”
dollars in only a few hours IF we would only buy this person’s, or company’s, latest and
greatest product. Continue reading
Are you achieving your goals?
Are you setting goals for yourself or your organization?
Way back in the 1960’s two psychologists studied the effect of goal setting.
Locke and Latham found that goal setting can increase performance
in 90% of those who set goals. Continue reading
Every time that I turn around I am coming across another unique innovation that someone has
put out there on the market. What is really neat is that many of these are free, or of very low cost to use. Continue reading
It’s your money, are you just going to leave it on the table?
Anyone who is selling anything wants to make more sales, and more money. Continue reading
blog platforms (content management systems), but the end result is to create
and design a web page.
A couple of the most common CMS are Drupal, Joombla, and WordPress.
The decision on which type to use is determined by ease of use, security,
and a few other points that are becoming less and less an issue. Continue reading
Many ideas just seem to “Come” to you. They usually happen when you are
driving, working, walking the dog, or doing almost anything. Continue reading
Most people worry about their financial health. Work, make more money.
Get more stressed – make more money. I have just one question? If your health gets so bad
that you can’t enjoy living, then what good is all of that money going to do you? Not much. Continue reading
Is your EQ up to your IQ?
Emotional Intelligence and how it affects your business
The following is a quote from a research paper by two researchers:
Lăcramioara Mocanu and Crina Elena Clima
“The term “intelligence” comes from the Latin “intelligence”, which means to connect, organize or from “understanding”, and which involves establishing relationships between people. Intelligence goes beyond thinking that is limited to establishing relationships between the essential characteristics of objectives and phenomena and not relationships between people. How complex this side of personality is apparent from the module of approach in the history of philosophy and psychology.”
No, I can’t pronounce their names either, but their research on
emotion is interesting.
What we normally consider as intelligence is the measurable “Intelligence Quotient”, or I.Q. that can be statistically tested and scored.
We all know people who we consider to be smart.
We also know those who we imagine will score low on an IQ test.
This paper essentially separates the two types of intelligence.
The standard IQ is the part of intellect that most people associate with being “Smart”, or the ability to assimilate information quickly, and use it correctly.
The emotional intelligence is the ability to intellectually internalize the things that we think, feel, see, hear, etc., and to be able to effectively use this new knowledge.
This research makes a distinction between emotional and the mechanical act of mentally tabulating information placed in front of you in such a way that you understand, and are able to effectively use that information.
How does emotional intelligence affect your business?
I believe that most researchers (from what I have read) understand that there is a distinction between intellect and emotion.
In my opinion, these two mental facilities cannot be separated, and ultimatelymjoin together when there is a decision to be made.
Each one affects the other. Ethics and morality, or the emotional side of right v.s. wrong, comes into play when a business person sets an arbitrary price when selling a product, or especially a service.
I live in a rural area with a lot of trees. Everyone around here with a chainsaw seems to think that they should be able to make a living cutting down trees.
I had estimates for the same tree that range from $300 to $3,000. The more reputable companies check in at $800 to $1,000, and are fairly consistent in their pricing.
Cutting down a tree does sometimes offer challenges, but when it is in the woods with no homes, utility lines, and nothing to get in the way, and the price is $3,000, it seems to boil down to “Hmmm, he has a nice house. I’ll bet I can get $X000.00 dollars out of him.
Oh, and get this…
I live on a hill and the tree was going to be dropped into the forest area – lots
of trees. The 3K estimate guy did not want to bother getting the tree out of the woods.
He told us he would cut it up and we could have a fire (in the middle of the woods) and roast hot dogs and marshmallows.
To me it brings to mind (as I mentioned above) that guy who would undoubtedly score pretty low on an IQ test. So much for chain saws.
The point is, if your emotions are not directed and controlled, then your business decisions, and therefore your business itself will be affected by your emotions.
The various ways that emotional intelligence affects your business are many.
everyone who begins and runs a business is affected by emotional subjectivity when making difficult business and/or personal decisions.
Your emotions can cause you to:
=> Lose self-confidence
=> Harbor unrealistic fears
=> Experience self-doubt
=> Lower your expectations
(among other things)
Another study showed that the more experience and knowledge you have in
a business, that there is a considerable difference in how you make your decisions.
The more knowledgeable a business person is, the more likely he/she is to rely on existing information directly related to what is going on within the business parameters at the time the decision arises.
The more novice the manager (for example) is, the more likely he/she will be inclined to ask others, and get information from more external sources.
Your Emotional Intellect can have you running your business effectively, or it can have you run it into the ground.
To stay on top of your emotions, you have to be aware of what they are doing to you, and understand how they are affecting you.
Business is full of stressors.
Correct handling of your stressors can help you
stay in business, or create further stress within your business.