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Get Back Your Business Focus

Most business owners have good intentions when taking a holiday break that in between the dozing, the swimming, the eating and the drinking, they'll put aside some time to think about the business. Inevitably though, people find it hard to focus on the homework when the temptation to doss is all around.

Finding focus is difficult, so much so that  Valerie Pierce has written a new self-help guide on the topic. She is the founder of coaching company,  'Clear and Critical Thinking , and the book is called Focus: The Art of Clear Thinking. It costs €9 for a Kindle download and it's well worth a look if you need to clear your head, perhaps on a rainy day.

According to Pierce, proper recognition of a problem or opportunity can be difficult to achieve for two reasons:
+ our thinking is blinkered (over-focused) so we cannot see the bigger picture
+ our thinking is so vague (under-focused) that we cannot see the core issue.

She explains: “Everyone suffers from the 'confirmation bias', which means that we will always search for what we already know or believe. Because it is so hard to change our beliefs, we tend to confirm them wherever we go, even when in search of something new.”

Pierce (pictured) adds that being vague in our thinking is just as problematic. “It is a serious flaw that can blind us to the core issue of a problem or opportunity. We are so dazzled by the wonderful vision we have set our sights on that we are completely unaware of the complex steps or actions we need to take to achieve it. These are real difficulties when it comes to knowing what to focus on.”

So what's the solution? One suggestion is The Clock. Think of a goal you want to achieve or a problem you want to solve. Write this objective in the centre a piece of paper and circle it. To make sure you have included everything that can help you achieve your goal, draw at least twelve aspects you need to consider in a clock-like fashion around this goal.

Says Pierce: “Now look at your clock and ask yourself:
+ what is the best way to focus here?
+ which one of these aspects do I want to focus on as my top priority?
+ am I focusing on the right issue?
+ are there other ways of solving my problem that I had not noticed before?
+ can I shift my focus and concentrate on something else on this clock in order to reach my goal?”

“The clock is also a timepiece, which is a good reminder that we need time to focus and to decide what is most important before we start on our own personal road to action.” (August 2014)

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