I’ve been silent here for a little over a week.
I had some travel, and with plenty on my plate before and after said travel, my focus has been split … somewhat. The reason I consider it “split … somewhat” is because I had an inkling this would happen. I knew that when I decided to start scaling up and doing more with Productivityist that there would be other things I’d committed to that would keep my focus elsewhere for periods of time. And I was okay with that.
Because in order to have focus, you need to accept that you will have to put things aside.
That doesn’t mean you can let things slide – especially if the expectation is that you’ll give those things some of your focus. That’s one of the reasons I’ve shifted my task management setup in recent weeks. I want to be able to time to focus on larger efforts on a more regular basis, so I’m taking “small sabbaticals” from my regular activities every 8 weeks. I’ve taken one so far and it was refreshing and revitalizing. But in order to take them as often as I’ve decided, I needed to make sure protocols were in place so that things wouldn’t fall through the cracks. I needed to ensure that I gave myself the best possible chance to focus on what was needed so that I could spend time in what was wanted.
On our recently-retired podcast Workflowing, Michael Schechter and I spoke with Julien Smith on Episode 71. At the time of that episode, Julien had just unveiled what his new company, Breather, was all about. During the discussion, we talked about “zooming in” and “zooming out”, and Julien made a point of saying how he couldn’t focus on being a founder of a brand new venture if he was focused on being a best-selling author at the same time. Making that distinction – and that decision – is going to have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your workflow. Admitting that you can’t be everywhere all the time despite having access to everywhere most of the time is huge.
I did that over the past couple of weeks – and I’ll do that again. Maybe not in the same way, but I’ll still do it so that I can shift our focus rather than split my focus. In fact, here’s how I’m going to strengthen my focus over the next three weeks before my next sabbatical:
- Week One: Work diligently on preparing for my free webinar with Steve Dotto, Choosing Your Perfect Task Manager.
- Week Two: Put the finishing touches on Do Better with Asana so it can be ready for launch as soon as possible.
- Week Three: Work on content creation for Productivityist so that my sabbatical can be used as intended.
That’s the overarching plan. Planning that out doesn’t just increase my focus, but it increases my resolve. Sure, I’ve publicly stated what I’m going to focus on, but simply mapping it out makes it real. Doing this kind of specific theming is about as close as I get to scheduling tasks on a calendar. That’s why it’s so powerful – it gives the task more value because it stands out above and beyond what I’ve got lined up in my task management app.
Going forward I’ll need to figure out what happens when I can’t be here to man the ship…because it will happen. As I mentioned in an exchange a few months back over at App.net with Kevin Rothermel (who is scheduled to be a guest on an upcoming episode of The Productivityist Podcast), while the Internet is everywhere…our focus can’t be.
The takeaway here is that it is perfectly fine to pay attention to what needs attention rather than all that needs attention. That’s how good work becomes great work – which is the kind of work we all should be striving to do.