Focus on All or Nothing?

You have read about it. You have heard podcasts about it.

FOCUS. We are to be focused professionals. Get results. Get our teams focused. Do it. Do it now!

And when we try to focus on everything, we tend to accomplish nothing (or at least very little). I know you’ve experienced this. It can stress you out, right? So what can you do?

You cannot do it all. Even if it sounds noble, you cannot focus on everything all of the time. Multi-tasking is ineffective. Those that say it are blind to their own short-comings.

Try a new approach. Have you heard of “kaizen”? It literally means “good change” – taking small incremental steps toward betterment. I want to merge the idea of kaizen with the process Dr. BJ Fogg shares about behavior change and tiny habits. These thoughts are from 2 books I’ll share at the end of this post.

Instead of trying to focus on everything in order to become better at it all, practice kaizen and tiny habits by picking 1-2 things to focus on for betterment. Don’t feel guilty. Just simply pick 1-2 things you wish to focus on for the next week (maybe 2) and work to become better in that area.

For example, say you want to develop healthier habits. You know you need to exercise. Walking is a great exercise. Studies show that a 20 minute walk really wakes up your brain. So you decide you are going to focus on this.

Kaizen – taking small steps toward your goals – says that you can take a 20 minute walk. Not 2 miles. Not a 2 hour hike. A 20 minute walk. You can do that, right? Now couple this with Dr. Fogg’s idea of a tiny habit and pick a “prompt” that helps you accomplish this habit. Lay out your walking shoes the night before and place them by your bed if you want to walk in the morning. You wake up, get your business done and then you dress and lace up the shoes and walk for 20 minutes. And do it for days in a row. Create a tiny habit and take small steps (literally) toward your goal.

No one can effectively focus on all the things that bombard us. With no guilt, pick 1-2 things you want to become better at. And then take small, incremental steps towards that goal. Create a habit by adding this routine to what you are already doing. Using prompts to build habits is highly effective. Then, in a week or two, pick 1-2 more things.

As you become better, you’ll feel better about these small accomplishments. And new habits can form. And new, effective habits bring good results.

Focus is not all or nothing. Focus can be 1-2 things that move you forward. Isn’t that what you want?

Books to consider reading:

The Spirit of Kaizen by Robert Maurer

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, Ph.D