Optimize Your Focus and Discipline

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So in other posts, I’ve talked a lot about simple tools and methods you can use in business and in some cases your own personal life. These are things like The 3 C’s, the Perils of the Expectation Game, the difference between disagreement and offering another opinion, and my Criticism Classification System.

Remember how I’ve talked ad nauseam about simplicity and foundational stuff? And really this is simple stuff when you break it down. I think that’s part of the reason why this may be hard to grasp for some, because we’ve been programmed for years to believe that complicated is better and our everyday assumptions support that. As a result, when simple solutions, in this case, very basic ideas, are presented, we can easily dismiss them because they don’t meet our complexity threshold, as silly as that sounds.

Now if you’re thinking something like – “What the hell is he talking about?” or something along those lines, I would just have to say that quite possibly you’re not taking what I say at face value. That’s really all you have to do. And because many of the tools I use and recommend are just “check-offs” – kind of like a true or false question – the task is easy. If you check the box, it’s true, if you don’t, it’s false. Same principle. The main difference being, we want to get to the truth, so to speak. And nothing but the truth.

I would probably offer up the opinion that there will be times when winging it doesn’t work.

And really, don’t many of you already use this method in your daily lives. Do you make a “To Do” list of some kind? And check the boxes when you’ve completed the task? How about a grocery list? Do you do better at the grocery store with a list than without? I know some of you will say, you’d rather improvise or do it on the fly. That’s fine. But, I would probably offer up the opinion that there will be times when winging it doesn’t work. And the question is, how big are the adverse results of not having the list?

I can tell you that I have tried and used many, many high-tech methods to keep track of tasks. And while I’ve had success using CRM’s, and calendars, especially on my phone. Before the phone calendar, I was terrible with dates and events, even after spending a lot on all kinds of leather and titanium calendars. But finally the phone made it work for me. I not entirely sure why, but it did.

On the other hand, it’s kind of a funny thing. When it comes to tasks, I’ve always ultimately reverted back to my simple, analog note pad, which I usually stock up on every time to visit the printer we use regularly. They give them away. I write my “To Do’s” neatly on the pad with check boxes. The more boxes I check during the day, the better I feel. I’m inspired to check more. Conversely, a day with few checks can be discouraging. Even so, at the end of the day, I let it go knowing that tomorrow brings a new list with the empty boxes carried over and a new opportunity to check more.

So here’s the take away, I love techie stuff, innovation, gadgetry, etc. I gravitate to it and tend to assume naturally that those things are the solution. But, really, if you can’t make the analog note pad work for you, what makes you think a more complicated solution will do any better. If you don’t have the focus or the discipline, it probably won’t.

So how do you optimize your focus and discipline? Well, that’s a really big question that I’m sure many people can expound on indefinitely. But here’s my quick take: Make it simple. The simpler things are, the easier they are to focus on. The clearer your focus is, the less likely you are to get sidetracked. Have you noticed what it feels like when your desk or workspace gets piled up with a ton of things to deal with? And the more it piles up, the less productive you get? It’s kind of a variation on diminishing returns. It doesn’t feel good.

I know some people say they thrive on that entropy of sorts. I don’t always buy that and I think for many of them it’s an excuse. But think what it feels like when you take the time to clear the workspace and create some order. All of a sudden, what seemed insurmountable now appears manageable and nothing like what you were imagining. And now you can breathe again.

So, here we are folks. That’s in large part what I’ve been talking about. That is a form of Resimplification. And that leads me to this question: How do we bottle that and reuse it as needed. I’ll discuss that in more detail in upcoming posts.

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About the Author

Jeffrey D Brown

Founder and CEO of Guitar Business Media and host of Guitar Business Radio, the Podcast for the Business of Guitar.

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