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Regain Your Focus

It’s easy to keep your focus when you have a rush of proverbial fires to put out. You know, like dealing with unexpected equipment breakdowns, handling complaints from business unit supervisors about delayed vehicle orders, or maintaining sufficient staffing levels in the shop during a pandemic as techs get sick or exposed and must stay out of work.

That’s because those issues are urgent. They’re emergencies screaming for your attention. And they won’t let up until you’ve solved them.

But what about when it comes to working on the important – but not urgent – projects or initiatives?

That’s when it gets more challenging to keep your focus. You don’t have the heightened sense of urgency to drive you to action. And, as you work on those longer-term projects, you’re likely to find yourself easily distracted, with the urge to scroll through social media feeds and go down YouTube rabbit holes with no end in sight.

How do you snap yourself back to work on your most important tasks – especially when they don’t feel urgent at that moment – before the day runs away from you?

Here’s a simple four-step process I have found to be highly effective for breaking through distractions and focusing on getting big things done.

1. Stop.
The moment you realize you’re wasting time, stop immediately. Don’t negotiate with yourself. Close the tab or app … NOW!

2. Reset.
Get up. Take a break. Go for a five-, 10- or even 15-minute walk. Do anything you can to clear your head and reset your mind.

3. Assess.
When you get back to your desk, ask yourself, “What is the one most important task I should work on right now?” If two or three tasks come to mind, don’t stress about it. Just pick one. You’ll get to the other tasks later.

4. Act.
You know what to do. Don’t wait. Start on that task and work on it until it’s completed. Then you’ll find yourself making progress and building momentum to work on the next task, and so forth.

The feeling of momentum is addictive to the point that you don’t want it to stop. And that’s a good thing.

Sean M. Lyden

Sean M. Lyden

Sean M. Lyden is the editor of Utility Fleet Professional magazine.