I'm not much of a Tony Robbins devotee, but he's popular for a reason. His advice has helped millions gain clarity, direction, and purpose in their personal and professional lives. I suppose I'm trying to do something similar in a much more reserved way.
But let's lean on the master. In a recent post I uncovered on his website, he connects the dots between two frequently disparate things in the life of a business leader: focus and energy. Aphoristically, he writes: "Where focus goes, energy flows."
I think it's important to unpack that a little bit.
In the world of constant juggling that is commonplace for a leader -- especially an entrepreneur with limited resources -- physical energy is expended on an unending list of tasks. Hiring, accounting, product development, strategy, marketing, selling, etc. The problem is, focus is seldom very clear. With the mind buzzing around all of these must-dos, work on any of them lacks complete energy. Why? Because the mind is divided. Hence, energy is divided.
It might be enough for some to hear "Focus up!" as a means of getting back on track, but most need to do some self-reflection before that's possible.
Here are a few steps that will help:
- Do you find that you lack sufficient energy (physical and mental) to complete core tasks? That might well be because you're not focusing on a single task in the moment. You're thinking about what's next on your to-do list.
- If you've identified a lack of energy, then take a look at how you frame your tasks. Is it just a sprawling list with no prioritization? That's ready-made for lack of focus -- your mind has a hard time picking out the task you should be focused on in any given moment. You need to clean things up.
- Pick daily priorities -- and only a manageable amount. This is guesswork, to be sure, but you'll get better at it as days go on. I recommend starting with five key tasks.
- When you start the day and come to your first task, focus solely on the work in front of you -- ideally by tying that work to something physical. If you're brainstorming, physically write your ideas down. If you're strategizing, map the strategy on a whiteboard. If you're discussing something with an investor, change your setting so you aren't distracted by reminders of all of your other tasks.
- Evaluate and re-evaluate. Take time every week to see how successful you were with your focus. What tasks did you cross off your list and which were left incomplete? Give yourself time to adapt, and adjust your routine to make focus easier.
If/when you find yourself drained again, go back to step one. Over time, you will consciously cement the connection between energy and focus.