Rene’s Blog

How Does Focus Influence The Way We Use Time?

How many times have you set out in the morning planning to accomplish so many things and yet at the end of the day, you find yourself exhausted without moving forward with your most important goals? People often fail to do the things that they need to do because they lose focus of what’s important. Distractions are everywhere and if a person does not know how to stay focused on his priorities then he will find himself unable to attend to the things that are most important.

Oftentimes, it can be very hard to say ‘No’ to distractions. Just on your way to your desk to finish an overdue project, you meet a colleague who wants to share some juicy gossip. You chat for a while and then start again towards your desk. However, another workmate asks for your help to create a PowerPoint presentation. You teach her the basics and again head for your table, but by now you spot the vending machine and you feel compelled to get a Snickers bar. You finally sit down on your desk, but your phone beeps a few times and you check your messages. Finally, you open your computer, but before doing your actual work, you figure that a few minutes to check your Facebook and Twitter can’t hurt. By the time you’re supposed to leave the office, you find that you have very little accomplished and may need to do some overtime work.

The key to being productive is focus. Focus can be described as the ability to concentrate on the task at hand. With clear focus, a person can use his time more efficiently. A task can get accomplished faster and more proficiently if the person’s attention does not get diverted to other things. A person with focus can accomplish more tasks, therefore using his time wisely and effectively. Focus is very important especially when it comes to time management. For instance, a person who has numerous tasks will find it very difficult to decide which ones need to be done first and how much time should be spent on doing it.  As a result, a person with no focus will do a little bit of this and a little bit of that without really finishing anything. Moreover, lack of focus can lead to an individual spending more time than necessary in one chore or less time in a task that needs more time and attention. On the other hand, a person who has focus will work on the most important or the most urgent task first and will continue with it until it is done. And only then will he move on to the next chore to systematically finish all the lined-up assignments. Because of strong focus, any individual will be able to spend only the needed amount of time for each assignment.

When it comes to the topic of focus and time management, people can’t help but bring up the difference between ‘the most urgent’ and ‘the most important’.  And while many people will think that these two are the same, they are not. What is urgent is not necessarily important and what is important may not necessarily be urgent. For people who need to focus, it would be better to concentrate on the tasks that are ‘the most important’ rather than ‘the most urgent’. In the example above, the employee needs to finish an overdue project. This is ‘the most important’ in the employee’s list of goals. However, the colleague who needed his help with a presentation and the notifications on his phone seemed ‘the most urgent’ at that time, and so he used his time to attend to these first rather than his overdue project.

Focus has a big influence on how people use their time. It will determine a person’s productivity and his ability to manage time so that he can accomplish more.

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