Where did my attention go?

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.

Everyone gets the same 1,440 minutes a day, and how someone directs their attention can make or break a day.
— Greg Bell

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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