Manage your performance - 9 ways to stay focused, boost concentration and minimise distractions

The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. – Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee believed a higher level of mental focus was the secret of his success. The kung fu legend wasn’t the biggest or the strongest. But he’s probably the most well-known martial artist.

How often do you consider your own performance management? Do you set yourself performance goals?

The lesson for us normal humans is that we don’t necessarily need to have the best idea, the best strategy or the best marketing. Yes, being good at these things is important. But we can become great if we have a pinpoint focus and evaluate our performance to improve this constantly.

Here are nine ways to become a black belt in your focus and direction to step up your performance.

1. Have a clear vision

Do you have a solid vision of where you see yourself in three to five years? You can’t get excited about your quarterly goals or daily tasks if you don’t have that ultimate driver set out in front of you. Think hard about what you really want in life, and this is important – write it down.

2. Set goals that’ll stretch you

When you have a clear vision, you can then set goals. Decades of research show that setting goals leads to better performance. What’s more, people that set stretch goals perform even better still. Write down three big goals that will significantly help you achieve your vision. For help and advice on setting goals, visit our blog offering 10 goal setting tips including Warren Buffett’s key to success!

3. Create milestones that are less scary

Your goals should be big and audacious. However, because of this, they can be daunting too. So break these down into smaller stepping stones or milestones that you can achieve each day or each week, and in doing so, they will move you closer to achieving one of your goals and, ultimately, your vision. Review your milestones at the start and end of each week to evaluate performance and keep yourself on track. Learn more about milestones in our blog Milestones help you stick to your Big Goals.

4. Do the big things first

We’re not all morning people. However, research shows that most of us are productive in the first few hours of each day. This is the time to do your most important work – think about your strategy, write a white paper or analyse your finances.

5. Clarify your top three tasks

Write down your top three tasks to do that day first thing in the morning, even before you have breakfast, walk the dog or check your email. Setting out your priorities like this first thing each day will help you take control of your day.

6. Leave email alone until 11 am

What percentage of your emails are asking you to do something for someone else? Most of them, right? Once you open your inbox, your brain starts work on the messages – in other words, other people’s “to-do” lists. Leaving your email until later in the morning allows you to work on your own to-do list first. Of course, if you absolutely have to check your email first thing, make sure it’s after you’ve set up your day and written out your daily priorities.

7. Gamify your work

Like Pavlov’s dog, reward yourself when you hit your targets or after a period of intensely focused work. If you like Oreo cookies, place two on the desk in front of you and tell yourself you can have them once you’ve completed the financial report, finalised your marketing strategy or analysed your P&L. This, of course, takes self-discipline, something we know can be difficult to master. For tips on how to improve your self-discipline, check out our blog on enhancing business performance with one simple habit.

8. Know your distractions

It could be social media, surfing the net, or constantly snacking. You know your kryptonite. So be aware of it and consciously create a more productive workspace minimising these distractions. For example, if technology is your weakness, turn off your phone, email and the internet while focusing on your critical tasks.

9. Create more time

Of course, that’s not possible. But you can create more productive time by batching. For example, do all your email between 11 am and 12 noon and then between 4.30 pm and 5 pm. You can also apply batching to other tasks, like phone calls, meetings and admin, which will leave you some good chunks of time to get focused. For more advice, visit our blog offering 5 ways to be better focused with your time.

Your action plan

Our top three take-aways are:

  1. Fix your email addiction. Start by working in batches twice or maybe 3 times a day.
  2. What’s your vision? Spend some time deeply thinking about what you really want in life and create your ultimate vision.
  3. Set three goals that are associated with your vision and excite you. Chunk them down into weekly milestones and get cracking!

Enjoyed this blog? Learn 1 simple habit to make you 30% more productive. For more help and advice on improving performance, engage your teams, boost productivity and achieve results faster, get in touch today! Email, and we will be happy to help you.

Posted by Pete Wilkinson

Last updated: 30 July 2021

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