Productivity

Focus Is the Secret Weapon of the Business Sharpshooter

Stay focused, stay on task and do not get bogged down in busy work.
Focus Is the Secret Weapon of the Business Sharpshooter
Image credit: Peopleimages | Getty Images

You’re running 20 minutes early this morning, Starbuck’s coffee in hand; it’s going to be a good day. You’re feeling motivated and ready to get the ball rolling, having every intention of kicking off your Monday with a bang.

You arrive at the office, your head is buzzing lightly from the extra shot of espresso you had the barista slip into this morning’s cup of Joe. You stretch and crack your knuckles, the way pianists do before repping out a masterpiece.

You begin tackling emails, chipping away at the many that have accumulated over the weekend. Mid process, you receive a notification email that your favorite business magazine, Entrepreneur, recently published some great content on overcoming everyday business struggles. You go check it out. It ends up being a good read.

Related: 4 Productivity Tips That Changed My Life This Year

You now return to your email and… Wait, where did you leave off? You can’t remember… That’s right, the upcoming luncheon. After firing off a few sentences, you see on your iPhone that your company's last Instagram post is receiving a crazy amount of attention. You go check it out, distracted once again.

When 5 p.m. rolls around, you’re exhausted, I mean you literally feel as though you were going 100 miles an hour all day. But at the same time, you can’t think of anything big you got done… You think to yourself, “What exactly did I accomplish?”

Sound familiar?

Imagine a Basset hound in a cubicle, wrapped from head to tail with raw bacon, having the appearance of some type of weird meaty dog-mummy. Now imagine this same basset hound mummy in the same cubicle, except dozens of squirrels are scurrying to and fro as he sits in his swivel chair.

Now, you get the bright idea to throw a ball in the cubicle and tell the dog to fetch. And when the dog never retrieves the ball, you scratch your head with a finger of utter perplexity. Instead of completing the simple task of retrieving the ball, the Basset is barking through mouthfuls of bacon at the tornado of squirrels destroying the cubicle.

Related: How Getting up at 5 a.m. Has Improved My Health and Productivity

And we wonder why we don’t get anything done; when Twitter, Instagram and Facebook notifications are lighting up our phones like the 4th of July, and emails fire into our inboxes as if Al Pacino were wielding some sort of weird email shooting Tommy Gun.

Here is the deal, we are no different from the bacon mummified basset hound, paws deep in a squirrel storm. The only difference is that our distractions come in the forms of dings, buzzes and boisterous light flickers. All of which make us feel as though we are staying busy, but in reality we are just staying busy not doing what needs to be done.

Answering emails and responding to social media notifications is busy work, it’s not productive work. Business sharpshooters complete their daily “Three Bullets,” and they don’t allow busy work to get in the way. Business sharpshooters are ultra successful, laser focused individuals striving to make brilliant disruptions in their industry.

Stay focused.

After work today, go purchase 365 index cards. When you get home, place the cards, along with your favorite ink pen, on your nightstand. Every morning when your alarm goes off and you kick off your routine, first write down three major objectives you would like to accomplish that day:

Monday Objectives: 

  • Schedule & organize creative team think tank
  • Conduct remaining interviews for market research
  • Set-up Mail Chimp account & send out first campaign

After you have completed your list of "Monday Objectives," fold the index card in half and place it in the same pocket you generally stow your phone in. Now every time you reach in your pocket to check Facebook, emails and other distractions… you will feel you index card brush against your fingertips. This will act as a friendly reminder that you should be working to accomplish your “Three Bullets”, not partaking in busy work.

Related: 7 Healthy Habits That Maximize Your Productivity Every Day

Let’s face it, while the bacon wrapped Basset is adorable, everyone wants to be an ultra successful, laser focused Business sharpshooter -- leave the squirrels for the amateurs.