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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

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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