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Focus = Not Doing

Focus. How many times a week do you hear someone say this word? It could be you, your colleagues, your customers, and your boss. "Focus on X." "We are focused on Y." "We need to focus on Z." "Should we focus on that?" Left and right. Focus, focus, focus.

Focus is defined as: a center of activity, attraction, or attention.

But, focus doesn't really mean much. Why? Because when we go around saying we're focused on thing after thing, we have no focus at all.

We don't have extra time. We always operate near maximum capacity. In order to focus, we must take focus off of something else. We must make a trade-off. At the core, focus is really about choosing to not do something else.

We owe it to everyone we work with to clarify what we will NOT do so that we can channel time and energy into the thing we're focusing on.

What if you removed "focus" from your vocabulary for a year?

What if every time you were about to say "I'm focused on X," you structured it like this instead:

I will ____(insert the action you will take) _, and to make time and energy for this, I will stop spending time on ______________________________.

That will give people clarity about what you're actually doing. It shows them the trade-off you're making.

You should also challenge others you work with to do the same. When someone else says they are focused on something, ask them a simple (but hard) question:

What are you NOT going to spend time and energy on in order to focus?

"Even if the answer is no, as long as you're being authentic and having open dialogue, associates appreciate that."

Marvin Ellison

CEO of Lowe's

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