Lack-o-Focusitis: The Disease That Kills (Productivity) 1


Do you or your organization suffer from a lack of focus? Many individuals, entrepreneurs, and even large organizations do. To make matters worse, many don’t even realize they suffer from the deadly “Lack-o-focusitis” disease! If someone asks you what your “focus is”, and you reply “I’m focusing on achieving my strategy” – you probably have Lack-o-Focusitis. You see that picture, above? They have Lack-o-Focusitis! “Focus” on the entire globe (or strategy), all at once, is a recipe for disaster, and will result in Lack-o-Focusitis. If, however, you can pinpoint specific, actionable areas within your strategy that you are currently focused on, and have a plan that pulls all of the various pieces together, then congratulations – you get a clean bill of health!

Don’t feel too bad – this disease is incredibly common. Symptoms include decreased morale (in self and/or others), under-delivering the level of value you, your team, or your organization are capable of, frustrated customers – the very people you exist to serve (“customers” could also be your family, your friends – your “why” fits in here!), unnecessarily increased stress and feelings of overwhelm. Good news, though – this disease is completely reversible!

Isn’t it time to take back your “health” and rid yourself of this nasty disease?

While I do not have a full-fledged 12-step program (yet?!) to cure Lack-o-Focusitis, I do believe that, to be cured, you first must admit you have a problem! If you have set goals and supporting objectives, but still haven’t actually achieved what you set out for – you should look in a mirror and repeat these words “I suffer from Lack-o-Focusitis”. While I cannot solve your entire disease in a single post, I can give you some medicine (bonus: it is both sugar and calorie free – yeah!) to get you moving in the right direction.

Here are 3 ways to help you GET YOUR FOCUS ON – PRONTO:

1. “Theme” your days, and stick to only things that fall within your “theme”. Obviously, interruptions will still happen, but only give the urgent ones any attention, and then get right back to your focused theme. Here is an example:

Monday: Management (paying the bills, organizing the calendar – De-conflict personal/business, kids, etc.)

Tuesday: Growth (career growth, personal growth, fitness improvement, health improvements, etc.)

Wednesday: Communications (calling family, friends, developing a business marketing plan, social media plan, etc.)

Thursday: Networking and partnerships (personally and professionally – this is where you start to execute the “Wednesday” work)

Friday: Company culture and recruiting (or family culture. Spouse recruiting might fit here too if you don’t have one already…. wink, wink – smile!)

Saturday: Disconnect and recharge (hike, bike, camp, etc.)

Sunday: Reflect on the week, strategize for the upcoming week


2. Start a daily “End-of-day reflection” routine. Hold yourself accountable by asking yourself “What have I done today?” Doing so will help you focus on what you have achieved, and help you determine what you need to tackle the following day.


3. Incorporate movement into your day. We all have differences in when our “slump time” hits us – some (like me) wake up in the morning, full of energy, while others don’t pick up that “high energy” time until after lunch. Assess your “slump time” and give yourself a brain break in exchange for some physical activity. Movement re-energizes the body, enabling us to get back into the game and focus when we’re done and ready to get back to business.


Whether you are a person trying to improve your life, your career, your overall circumstances, or a business owner or senior executive within an organization – YOU NEED TO READ THIS.

So many people think they can (and, they CAN) before they have any idea “how” they, “no-kidding”, actually CAN. It’s okay – it IS doable! But, if you think you already know everything – you’re already defeated. There is always room for improvement, and in the 21st century, almost everything anyone does in terms of improving, enhancing, or changing, is in terms of “project management”. Even if you don’t actually call it that, that’s often what it is that you’re trying to do. If you are trying to reach some goal or specific objective within a certain time-frame – you’re pushing in on the “project management” space.

Let’s face it – we all want to improve our circumstances, don’t we? If we didn’t, life would be incredibly dull, just sort of “hanging out” each day repeating the same stuff over and over, never learning anything new. Blah. Even if you just want to learn how to (insert anything… cook better, eat healthier, look better, sleep better, etc.)- it is all part of change, or desired change. Sometimes, even though we have a very important title, or we own our own business, or we are already deemed “successful” in some way, we still need to acknowledge that we can be better. In the world of project management, this is especially true, and especially for those that aren’t actually “doing” project management, but are impacted by it (or the lack of it, for that matter). Read what the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) President has to say, as excerpted from the 2014 Pulse of the Profession…

“Though executives know what they should be doing – 88 percent say that strategy implementation is important to their organizations – sixty-one percent acknowledge that their firms often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation.1 This gap demonstrates a lack of understanding among organization executives that all strategic change happens through projects and programs. While some projects improve an organization’s ability to ‘run the business’ and don’t rise to the level of a ‘strategic initiative,’ all of an organization’s strategic initiatives are projects or programs, which inevitably ‘change the business.’ Most in the C-suite fail to realize this simple truth. Maybe more would if they assigned a senior executive to oversee strategy implementation the same way many of them designate a Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) who has responsibility for strategy development. When that person is supported by an organization culture of project management, including a high performing PMO, that is when we will see project success rates climb.”

– Mark A. Langley
President and CEO
Project Management Institute

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Being Efficiently Effective! 2

While I pride myself on being efficient, living optimally within the constraints surrounding me, and loving how natural it typically is for me, I realize that efficient doesn’t always mean “effective”. If you’re trying to get to the store, your goal is to “get to the store”, right? So, would it be more efficient to walk there or drive your car? It depends. Are you trying to save gas in your car? Then walking is more “efficient”. Are you trying to save time? Then driving your car is more efficient. Or is it?

Being efficient is all about improving your situation without negatively impacting anyone else. Being effective is getting to the expected outcome. Since being efficient can have some “perspective” to it, it’s important to know what your perspective is… WHILE planning your outcome. Of course, we all want to get to our outcome the simplest, most direct route we can, don’t we? If we intend to have a new patio installed in the back of our house, and we want it in time for summer, but don’t actually complete it until the fall, we’re still effective if we’ve achieved the outcome we intended to achieve, right? But we sure weren’t efficient in doing so!

You can also see the reverse happen – you can be very efficient, without ever being effective! If you want to empty your email inbox and bring it do zero by the end of each and every day, you are being efficiently organized. But if you’re simply doing this by deleting everything out of your inbox without reading any of it, you might not be very effective (or maybe you are!). Especially if you’re in the customer service field, and your job is to respond and make as many customers happy as possible – even through email. Oops! Gold star on efficiency, but big chunk of coal for being ineffective!

Do you have any hiccups or areas in your personal or professional life that cause you to be less efficient or effective than you’d like to be? There is always – and yes, I do mean always, areas to improve. What may have been perfect one day, is probably no longer perfect the next because we live in a dynamic and changing world. Being just efficient, or just effective is no longer “good enough”. We should all strive to be efficiently effective! Stay tuned to hear what some of our top inefficiencies are, and how to address them!