Focus – In a Word

Happy New Year!

I love this time of year because with a new year comes the opportunity to initiate new goals and re-focus on goals that may have fallen by the wayside in the past.  At the very beginning of each year, as things are ramping back up to full speed, I spend time developing professional and personal goals. I also build specific timelines and quantifiable objectives associated with each goal to keep me on track. And that is my intention – to stay on track and hit my goals. And then life gets busy! Meetings, travel, projects, family commitments – it’s fair to say that without trying, my to-do list gets very long, very quickly. Admittedly, the result is forgotten goals. My default fix is to schedule time to attend to managing my goals, but unfortunately even that tends to fall short.

focus

That is until this time last year. Last January my colleague, Joel Junker, gave me a great tip to help with staying goal-focused (and ever wrote a blog post about it here). In a word, consider a word. What I mean is assign a word, just one word, to a specific goal or set of goals to keep you focused. For instance, if your goal is to read a non-fiction book every month and that isn’t your current routine, think “READ”. Be mindful of that word, post it around your home and work area. It will remind you to stay focused on your goal. If your goal is to finally deliver on that project that’s been back-burnered for the last 6 months, think “PROJECT”. If your goal is to do a better job interacting with co-workers in a different department, think “TEAM”. Obviously, this is highly customizable, but I have found that this strategy gave me better focus in 2016 and I will continue the technique in 2017.

One quick tip: only consider 2-4 words at a time. Use words that will stick with you and that you can consider regularly.

Here’s to a productive and focused 2017!

Pete Van Epps