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Micro and Macro Focus

This may sound like a photography title, but one of the topics which my students always want to talk about is focus. So I thought I would have a go at talking about this topic.

The Micro Focus

This first expression of focus is all about getting the every day things done. When you have a task to do and you need to hunk down and get it done. 

Let me share a quick story with you and tell me if you have experienced something similar: a few years back I was traveling too much and when I would come home I would have a many deadlines looming, producing documents, presentations, strategy etc. This built pressure and stress…. worse, because I just arrived from abroad, my biological clock would be a bit off and I would be quite tired anyways….. 

The morning community into the office was always a chore, trying to wake up early, get into the tube and stumble into the office. First thing I would do is get a cup of tea (I prefer tea to coffee) and as I sipped it and tried to wake up fully I would browse the internet a bit and check the news. Check emails to make sure there is nothing too urgent, answer a few of these urgent requests and then  I would list the things I needed to do, a presentation for a conference… read the brief, think through the topic and plan the content… then just as I am on slide 2, the phone rings, a new email arrives and before I know it my colleagues are at my desk asking me if I am going to have lunch and i’ve only got the cover of the presentation ready…

No focus… too many tasks, too many distractions…. nothing done… This is a lack of Micro Focus. 

The Macro Focus

This expression of focus is much more complex. This is all about a longer term aspect, it is about  being able to select the areas of the business, the activities in our lives, the connections and opportunities which will most contribute to achieving the results we desire in life. 

A student of mine had a great example of this Macro focus when we were discussing his life’s habits… he asked me: “how can I get rid of the bad habits that I have?”

I would like to take a moment to walk you through my thoughts, this guy clearly is aware that the habits and behaviors are “bad” and therefore counter productive…. yet there is not enough focus for him to be able to avoid them… 

So here is how I define this Macro Focus: focusing on the 20% that will bring 80% of your results.

The Tip to Improve your Focus

Generally speaking the first thing to do to improve your focus is not to rely exclusively on your mind, instead build a focus totem. Don’t just think “oh, i need to write this article”, “i need to do this or that….” make a commitment!

My suggestion: write down your tasks and prioritize so that you can stay distraction free on the micro level and use this list as your focus totem. Write down your mission statement for your life, for your business, for your medium and long term and use this statement as your macro focus totem. 

Keep this list and mission statement where you can easily refer back to them in case you feel any distraction creeping in!

Bonus tip:

Well, another important tip: dedicating more hours into a task may not be the most productive alternative. Don’t be afraid of taking a break, of resetting your mind so that you can get back to the task fresh and productive. 

At a macro level I would recommend that you build a support network, a brain trust, of individuals who are key for you (and who you may even reward for their support) so that they can help you to maintain the focus on the key things which will produce the most results.