5 quick fixes to focus on what matters

πŸ’Œ Newsletter

Focusing on what matters is really hard. Here are 5 quick fix tactics


Focusing on what matters is hard. A few weeks ago, I recorded an episode on this here.

And it's hard because it's not just one thing, it compromises several questions we need to answer:

  • Where do you direct your attention (think Eisenhower or impact-feasibility matrix)
  • What is important to you (the 'input' for the above question: personal values, purpose statement, goals, flow activities)
  • How do you (really) know what matters to you (System I & System II thinking)
  • What type of focus (camera zoom, 1 thing, 80/20, life areas)
  • How to maintain the focus (building the right habits and systems)
  • Are you thinking more than doing, or vice versa? (balance doing & being)

Tackling these is like doing the ground work. But it takes time. Paradoxically, it also leads you (on what seems to be but is not) a tangent before you reach clarity & resolve on what to focus on.

So here are 5 quick fixes that seem to work most of the time for me and the people I coach:

  • Block time for deep work. Schedule time and go somewhere you are not interrupted. Work on the most important piece of work. Use Parkinson's Law (work expands to fill the allotted time) to your advantage: limit time to limit the work.
  • Find the biggest leverage work. Is everything somehow important & urgent? Try something else: What's the 1 thing that by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary? Do that.
  • Uncommit. You've said 'yes' to too many things? Bite the bullet and disentangle yourself. Consider the opportunity costs of not focusing on work that matters. Don't worry about sunk costs. And know that nobody is served by you showing up half-hearted to what you know you should not be doing.
  • Say no without saying 'no', e.g. 'I'm grateful, but I'm overcommitted.' or 'Let me check and get back to you', or with your manager: 'Yes, and if I do this, what should I deprioritize?'
  • Ask yourself this eulogy question: At the end of your life, would you rather have a long list of accomplishments or a a few key accomplishments that truly matter?

Hope you find some of these tactics helpful.

πŸŽ™οΈ My latest podcast

Francesca Romana D’Antuono - Positivity, feeling anxious, and doing politics differently
About the episode Francesca Romana D’Antuono is the co-president of Volt Europa since 2021. Francesca shares her experiences and lessons learned from leading a complex organization, the need to stay positive and manage self-doubt in a challenging political context. She highlights the importance of doing politics differently and being authentic,

πŸ“š What I read & listen to

Some of today's tactics on how to focus are from this book - highly recommended:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?Do you …

πŸ–‹οΈ My favourite quote

Lead a life that reads like an adventure, not a CV - Unknown