Archive for March 12th, 2008

The thing about focus – call it a flaw if you will – is that you cannot focus on any one thing for very long. Every once in a while, you have to take a step back, either clear your head or look at the big picture, and return to whatever you were focusing on when you are ready to focus on it again.
“Sustained focus” is a very finite proposition. On a long enough timeline, all focus eventually fades and dies.
And unless you’re a chameleon, you can’t focus on more than one thing at once.
Therefore, you have to look at focus as a limited (see finite) endeavor.
Given enough time, the brain gets tired of burning a hole in a single idea, no matter how complex and entertaining.
Artists take a step back from their work. They let it sit overnight. They walk away and come back to ponder it. They purposely distance themselves from it in order to change their point of view. This is the same thing.
Whether you are a painter working on a fresco, a photographer looking through a camera’s viewfinder, a lab worker peering down at microscopic mites through an electron microscope, a Marine sniper keeping a target in his crosshairs, a tomato sorter in southern Spain, a bodybuilder in Austria, a creative director in Tokyo or a project manager here in the US, there comes a time when focus wanes. When you have to blink. When you have to take a break. When you have to give that focus a rest, if for twenty minutes or ten or five.

In the business world, “focus” is thus forced to become a relative term… much in the way that “quality” has become a relative term.

Relativity may work well in the world of physics, but when it comes to the business world, it is the thread that once pulled, begins to unravel the entire garment.
When you focus, boys and girls, make sure your focus is exactly that: 100% for short but effective durations. Take breaks. Create balance in your workflow – and just as importantly in your employees’ workflow.
Focus is NOT relative.
Have a great day, everyone.
image source: sandia.gov

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