There are times when successful people drop the ball

…and miss a key goal or something they have planned for, thought through, and resourced adequately…in other words, they are stumped.

When they ask me to help them figure out how this happens, even when they have a good plan and have taking actions… time and again things still come undone, I ask about their system and how are they focusing their attention.

Often, one of the key reasons they stumble on their path toward their goal is mismanagement of attention.

I’ve even heard some researchers refer to it as “Continuous Partial Attention”. Constantly scanning the periphery in case something more important surfaces.

Paying partial attention continuously, when this is your habitual mode can be very costly to your productivity, decision making, relationships and add lots of stress to your life.

The first intervention…

Stop your incessant checking of email/texts/Twitter/FaceBook, etc. or mindlessly surfing the Internet.

This is one of those rules of thumb that just works, and works for many people. Most people live in a state of near constant distraction from productive work
leading to energy drain, loss of focus, low productivity, etc. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if you want to experience those things – please, be my guest but otherwise…

Set fixed times at which you will check each and any of the Internet/email/texts/ twitter/FaceBook etc. and limit your time with them unless there is an immediate and necessary reason for checking… like checking the LinkedIn page of a new client you will be meeting later today.

Don’t defend your suffering. Let your friends and family know that you will no longer react with an instant Pavlovian response to their texts or email; tell them that you will be checking your messages (email, Facebook, Twitter, texts, etc.) at a specified time each day.

Seriously – set a time or times but no more than say three to start – and recover your mind and your life.

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