Great leaders have command of their attention and direct it accordingly.
Here's a lesson on what NOT to do:
I recently opened my computer to send a short email to a business leader about an upcoming presentation I was working on for his team. Sadly, one hour later I found myself reading an article on Twitter about a person killed by a cassowary bird.
Ugh. Super sad!
I still had not sent the email though. Before going down the Twitter rabbit hole, I had the right intent, but something caught my attention and led me somewhere I had no intention of going.
What happened in this situation?
I lost focus and diverted my attention away from my original intent.
Attention is the new currency!
A simple formula for success is Intention x Attention = Results.
Having the right intent is not enough; your attention must remain on your intent to get results. We often go into a project with the intent to focus on the high-value activities, but somehow get distracted. Intent is hardly ever the problem; it is where we put attention that gets us in trouble. Everyone gets the same 1,440 minutes a day, and how someone directs their attention can make or break a day. When your attention isn't on your intent, you will not achieve results.
Some of the smartest minds in the world are trying to get your attention, and it rarely aligns with your original intent. Ironically, as I write this my phone is vibrating from push notifications!
Here are several ways to gain control of your attention:
Do your best to make your work-space free from distractions. Put your phone in the trunk of your car or far enough away that it is inconvenient to obtain it.
Schedule intervals throughout the day to check your device(s). Create a custom ringtone for your VIPs, such as a boss, spouse, children, etc.
Turn off notifications during project time. Enable do not disturb while working on essential projects.
At the beginning of the day, take a few minutes to plan out what your high-value activities are for the day
Identify and eliminate any frequent flyer time wasters, such as checking social media, email, and answering unscheduled phone calls.
Becoming an effective leader is a journey, not a sprint.
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