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15 Things Highly Focused People Don’t Do

15 Things Highly Focused People Don’t Do

Focus is key to success and happiness in life. The most successful people on this planet are highly focused. They pay attention to the present moment and present tasks. This habit ensures they are fully engaged in activities, get more done properly and deal with adverse life events better. Highly focused people are simply mindful. They don’t do many things that many of us might be prone to do.

1. They don’t gossip.

Highly focused people don’t gossip. They have better, more productive things to do with their time. The only people who engage in this petty behavior are shallow people whose personal lives are not fulfilling enough. Otherwise, why would you even care how someone else is living their life? Gossiping only makes you look jealous and pathetic.

2. They don’t multitask.

Highly focused people don’t multitask. They focus on one thing at a time to boost attentiveness and productivity. Studies have shown that the human brain can handle two complicated tasks without too much trouble because it has two lobes that can divide responsibility equally between the two. However, adding a third task can overwhelm the frontal cortex and increase the number of mistakes you make.

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3. They don’t procrastinate.

Highly focused people don’t procrastinate. Sure, they might be tempted to put off tasks for hours because the tasks are unpleasant or overwhelming, but they somehow manage to push themselves and get what needs to be done DONE when it ought to. In other words, highly focused people know the best time to do something is now, and they do it now—not later.

4. They don’t allow distractions to derail them.

Highly focused people remove all distractions that hinder them from getting quality work done. Whether it is e-mail alerts, social media pop-up notifications or people casually stopping by during work hours, highly focused people stop distractions before they can steal their productive time. They know distractions break concentration, cause stress and derail you from completing tasks and achieving your goals.

5. They don’t seek validation from others.

Highly focused people don’t need your approval because they know their own self-worth. They do things for themselves and believe what they do will advance them in life. They don’t concern themselves with the opinions of others and don’t live up to anyone’s expectations. Focused people simply concentrate on the tasks that promote personal and professional growth.

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6. They don’t entertain disorganization.

Highly focused people hate disorganization. They don’t entertain it because they know it adds stress to our lives, blocks our creativity and costs us valuable time that could be used to get work done. They keep everything in its proper place so they can easily and quickly get it when they need it. You might think you can thrive amidst chaos, but in reality you are only holding yourself back from being as productive and effective as you could be by being disorganized.

7. They don’t give silly excuses not to work.

Highly focused people don’t give silly excuses not to work. They know you can’t always wait for the perfect time and perfect conditions to do things. There may never be such a time. Often you just have to brace yourself and get your feet wet. Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day as Sir Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and President Obama.

8. They don’t eschew risk.

Highly focused people are not afraid to take risks. They know life itself is a risk; nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. They take their chances because those chances may never come again. Playing it safe can keep you safe for now, but hurt you more in the long run. Focused people not only take calculated risks, but also learn from both the positive and negative outcomes of risks.

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9. They don’t dwell on the past.

Highly focused people don’t dwell on the past. They are not defined by the things they did or didn’t do in the past. They simply accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what could be. Their desire to succeed is much stronger than their fear of failure and so they learn from their mistakes and keep going forward. Mistakes may hurt for a while, but they will make you smarter and stronger in the end.

10. They don’t act rashly.

Highly focused people don’t rush onto things. They take time to think through and weigh options carefully against their core goals and objectives. They know not everything that glitters is gold. Often, they simply choose to take pleasure in their own work, celebrate their accomplishments and relish the good fortunes to come. They don’t abandon their projects and jump onto the next “big” thing. They stick to their goals and stay committed to their dreams through the sunny days and the rainy days.

11. They don’t involve themselves in matters that don’t concern them.

Highly focused people mind their own business. They don’t go meddling in other people’s affairs unless they are specifically called to do so or it is absolutely necessary because it affects them directly. They are fully engaged in their own affairs and content to focus on their own priorities. People who are unable to mind their own business aggravate others and often lose their own sense of direction and self-worth.

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12. They don’t compare themselves to others.

Highly focused people don’t compare themselves to others because they are content with who they are. They know comparing yourself to others serves only to demoralize and make you feel inferior, while in fact you have equal capacity for growth and advancement in life as anybody else. Highly focused people consider the achievement of others to determine what they need to do to replicate similar success. This ensures they are sufficiently motivated and energized to keep pressing towards their goals and dreams.

13. They don’t have unrealistic expectations.

Highly focused people are realistic. They don’t expect a smooth ride all through life or to get things out of situation. Instead, they go into situations with realistic expectations and are prepared for the rough times. They know unrealistic expectations only lead to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go as planned. However, smart, realistic and achievable expectations power you on to fully immerse and apply yourself without the pressure of living up to bad preconceived notions.

14. They don’t say “yes” to everything.

Highly focused people are not people pleasers. They don’t feel the need to say “yes” to everything and everyone just because. They know you can’t always please everyone and sometimes you have to say “no” to people otherwise their priorities might precede your own. Highly focused people, therefore, firmly but gently say “no” to everything that doesn’t support their values or help them achieve their goals. Saying “no” to things that are not a priority allows you to focus on the things that are important.

15. They don’t quit.

Highly focused people are not quitters. They know nobody ever succeeded by being a quitter. The people who succeed and live their dreams are those who work hard and persevere through troubled times. The people who succeed are those who don’t quit. People who are not focused quit when things get a little tough; highly focused people get tough when others quit!

Featured photo credit: Young man using a professional camera via shutterstock.com

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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