Now that we’re into June, it really does feel like summer is here. The air conditioning kicks in, the days are hotter … and, if you’re like me, “focus” becomes something I have to set myself towards. It doesn’t just “happen” — especially when the days are hot.
It might be simply because tax season is now fully behind us, and we’ve already turned the page into year-round work. No matter the fact that we work with our Connecticut clients all year, there really is something very focusing about that April 15th deadline every year (or the 18th, in this year’s case).
But as I said: focus is a decision. And whether you’re an employee, retired, a Connecticut business owner, or some other vocational expression — really, WHOMEVER you are — living a life of intentionality has never been more difficult.
Devices, screens, “the internet of things” — all of it is pulling against our mind, our imaginations and our wills. Much of that influence is very positive, obviously (who doesn’t love ordering food with a click and a swipe??) … but it’s probably no big surprise that this digitally-overwhelming world can be a little distracting.
Yes, this topic isn’t *exactly* financial, and clearly not tax-related. I don’t pretend to be any kind of “life coach”.
But we like to see our role here at Emelia Mensa CPA as more than merely transactional. We’re in your corner, for all kinds of decisions that affect your finances — and this issue can certainly become a financial drain as well.
So again … focus is a decision.
And here are some things that might be hurting it for you.
Focus Training For Folks
“What’s right isn’t always popular. What’s popular isn’t always right.” -Howard Cosell
Just because you work harder doesn’t mean that you are accomplishing anything of actual significance.
In fact, many times it’s the opposite.
Busyness does NOT equal effectiveness.
Sometimes, you find that you are “working harder” because you have fallen into a pit of poor productivity and efficiency.
What I have found to be helpful is recognizing how there are certain habits and practices that are very likely sucking all of the life-force from your day’s productivity.
As an idea starter for focus training, here are four things that very well might be killing your momentum. For you, these might not be an issue, so I urge you, therefore, to consider what really is robbing your attention these days.
These are not all merely related to DIGITAL OVERLOAD, either.
But all of them are decisions — those that are made, and those that are avoided.
1. App Addiction
If you’re constantly checking Facebook, answering or originating random text messages, or have any social media account alerts turned on, you’ll never be as productive as you could be.
One simple way to decrease your Facebook use is to remove the app from your phone. Even if you just use the browser to access it, it’s that extra step or two that it requires that can help your weaker self-resist the constant dopamine hit of social media activity.
2. Email Addiction
Turn off your alerts here, too. Don’t leave your inbox continually open when you are engaged in real work.
Because whenever you click on that “Get Mail” button, your brain drip feeds small doses of Something-Important-Is-About-To-Happen-Juice (i.e. dopamine).
Except, it’s hardly ever actually urgent. It can usually wait for your actual focused attention.
So try this out for just one week and see if you don’t accomplish more than you thought possible.
3. Other People’s Emergencies
Emergencies aside, send your calls to voicemail first and return them only during set times (and perhaps even state those times on your voicemail greeting). This has three instant benefits.
First, it tells people you are a focused person, which they will respect and even appreciate. Second, it makes you a focused person — keeping you on task and freeing you from interruptions you can’t anticipate.
Third, you can determine if you’re the right person to handle the call or if it can be delegated.
As I’ve said, there is a big difference between being busy and being productive. Want to know where you’re just “busy”? Keep track of everything you do every 30 minutes, every day, for one week. Then take all the items that aren’t moving you toward your goals and stop doing them, delegate them to someone else, or hire someone to do them for you.
What will you do with all that extra time? Concentrate only on activities and processes that make money or move you ahead.
The key to more productivity is not more work. The key is more focus. Creating your “Not To Do” List will reset your priorities, refresh your morale, and could even remake your career.
Don’t let your best energy be sucked out of your day.
I’m grateful for our chance to serve you and your family — and we are dedicated to your thriving. Which means we want to protect you from all of what could tear you down…
Emelia Mensa EA, CPA
Emelia Mensa CPA