One Panasonic’s advertisement goes like this:
“What you need for success: a place where you can focus, and a PC you can focus with”
Our intention is not to freely promote the company’s products but to help you refresh a word that seems to have been forgotten in the era of multiple distractions: focus; or better to say, the power of focus.
In many settings, businesses have their reasons for the need of multitasking and juggling between various projects at once. Some even mention them as one of the 21st century skills, adaptability and flexibility. And indeed it is the case that there is certain need to adapt to this fast-pace world and do many things at once. But it is more true that in the age of the “machine vs human” race, only those with in-high demand expertise will win the battle. The caveat is that building truly expertise requires focus; yes, plenty of it for many years.
Malcolm Gladwell has popularized the 10 thousand-hour theory which states that to become a world class player in any field, one has to dedicate around that amount of hours of deliberate practice or attention. Cal Newport, the MIT computer science PhD graduate, has added his “deep work” or focused work as the only way to build expertise. You can add more scholars and writers about this topic to the list. The bottom line reality is that there is a division between those who can focus and succeed professionally and those who take multi-tasking to its limit and cannot build real expertise. According to a Harvard Business Review’s publication, there is a direct correlation between a person’s focus level and their career advancement.
To help you to re-focus, [from various HBR’s articles] below there is an extraction of key tips.
- Understand Your Daily Focus Pattern
- Know what influences your focus
-Discuss with your manager about your deliverables-related and focus needs
- Schedule your tasks ahead and let people know when you will be working on stuff that demands focus
- Put yourself in no-interruption mood and put aside all distractions when working on important stuff.
Remember, even if you are one of those who are searching for new job opportunities, your current workplace still deserves respect and attention. You can separate specific time for job hunting purposes. In the meantime, avoid attention residue, give your 100%, and keep on building expertise.