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Choosing your focus

by Randall Craig on January 18, 2013

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Time management

Tagged as: ,

Do you attribute your success to your focus?  Many people do – and in the spirit of “small focus – small success/strong focus – great success” many people are focused on… greater focus.  But is there a downside?

Consider the following:

  • Ignoring everything except the goal means that many data points along the way are purposefully ignored.  These critical pieces of information provide the rationale for mid-course corrections.
  • Creativity needs diverse input, exploration time, and experimentation.  The more focus, the less opportunity there is for creativity.
  • Extreme focus is often task-oriented, not people-oriented.  Relationships sometimes suffer.

Of course, there are strong arguments for focus, but exploring the downside yields some interesting insights:

1) Focus is best with some wiggle room.  Building in time for exploration and experimentation means creativity need not be completely sacrificed.  Important mid-course corrections can be easily made.

2) Focus is better when there are team goals.  It’s far easier to remember your colleagues when you are mutually responsible for your success.

Sadly, Social Media provides one of the biggest workplace challenges: distraction. It is just too tempting to rationalize this time as discovery, competitive intelligence, or R&D, but often it is none of these.  Not sure of the value of your Social Media time? Answer these three questions:

  • Is the Social Media activity aligned with a goal?
  • Has the activity ever yielded data with substantive, quantifiable value?  (How often?)
  • Has the time spent on the activity put pressure on any deadlines?  Or has it meant tother activities have been deferred or not done?

This week’s action plan:  Choose one goal that could use more focus, and another that can use less.  If you do both, you won’t spend extra time – but you’ll certainly get more value.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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