Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Chris LoCurto

By

August 13, 2012

Find Your Focus

August 13, 2012 | By | 48 Comments">48 Comments

Tomorrow I will be in the studio to interview Peter Bregman for an upcoming EntreLeadership Podcast. Peter is CEO of Bregman Partners, an organization that works with senior executives from Fortune 500 companies to startups.

He’s also the author of the book, 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things DoneThe book shows us how to cut through all of our daily clutter and distraction to spend more time focusing on our true top priorities.

Once again I would like to know what you, the ChrisLoCurto.com reader would like to ask Peter relating to his book. As always, leave a comment below, and if I pick your question, I will mention you in the podcast.

StumbleUponEmail
  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    Focusing on top priorities has been my mission this year – easy to say – not easy to do.

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    Wow – love the title and will order this book immediately! This is actually the only way I can get anything done – set a timer and work for 15-20 minutes at a time. Because I realize that I am most likely ADD (undiagnosed) and it is only when I can block out everything else – I can get it done.
    lt is probably too late to ask questions since I am posting late -but without reading the book, wondering where he got the idea for 18 minutes?

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I am always confronted with multitasking in my professional life (which I hate the most). How do I confront the issue of multitasking? I find overwhelmed at times.

  • http://www.joshuarivers.net/ Joshua Rivers

    I know I’m too late for the interview, but I am looking forward to hearing this episode and getting this book! I have several books on my waiting list, but this one may get bumped to the top!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andyrose24 Andy Rose

    How would this pertain to someone who isn’t an executive. I am a husband, father, employee, RE agent and starting a blog. I wear multiple hats depending on the day and situation. How can I find better focus when I live in chaos.

  • Russ

    Is reading a book like this a distraction in itself? I find myself making lists of books to read. And I only get further distracted. How would you suggest that a person stays focused while at the same time leaving room for personal growth?

  • Brandon

    In society today we are constantly bombarded with everything non productive. So much so that a lit if people myself included can’t focus on the end goal because we still don’t know what it is.

    My question is: How do you know what to focus on when you don’t even know where your going?

    • http://twitter.com/JRandorff James Randorff (@JRandorff)

      Brandon,

      The short answer is: You don’t! If you were running a race and didn’t know where the finish line was, you would probably follow all the other runners, hoping that they knew where the goal was. However, if no one knows, then you are just running aimlessly.

      Take a moment and jump back to basics. Habits 1 & 2 of the late Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are (1) Be Proactive and (2) Develop your Vision. Step one means, in his words, that YOU are the programmer, while step two means that you need to write the program.

      So, what is your vision? If you are working for a company, what is that company’s vision? How does your vision align with and promote that of your company, while being relevant to your work and that of your department?

      Until you have “the program”, you will be unfocused because you will have no reference point upon which to focus.

      Regards,
      ~~James

  • http://eselfemploymentideas.net/ Bob

    Another great book / author! I can’t read these fast enough Chris!!

    Question for Mr. Bregman:
    When working with Senior Executives or leadership in general, I’ve noticed that they are often very resistant to change. How does your practice go about loosening that resistance before making suggestions?

    Looking forward to the podcast again!

  • http://www.cabinart.net Jana Botkin

    The description in the front of Peter’s book is how my day goes so often. But if I don’t check my email, I’ll miss timely items, and people will be waiting to hear back from me. And if I don’t check CLo’s blog, I’ll miss the daily dose of burnt rice. And if I don’t look at my own blog, I won’t know if anyone read it. And if I don’t check the other blogs and websites and articles pertaining to my business, I’ll miss out on something crucial. And if I do all those things, I won’t begin painting in a timely manner. (Banging my head on the wall isn’t helping either. . .)

    My question for Peter is: HOW does a self-employed person with no employees figure out the daily priorities? (and in 18 minutes?? Are you serious??)

    • http://ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Girl you rock!!! Thanks for the fabulous gift!!!

  • Kathleen, Kat or Cass

    My question would be ” is there a refined approach for merging individuals’ 6 Box System so that as a company they are unified and stronger than if developed independently of each other?” (In other words, how to make sure the team members utilize their own 6 boxes to best fit of mission, as a unified organism)
    P.S. Peter- Love the idea of getting buy in for the process and making them part of it- great tip on taking kids to the farm to pick out their own veggies- good for a carrot- sometimes backfires and end up with piglet for a pet instead of dinner..)

  • http://twitter.com/erikjfisher Erik Fisher

    Question for interview: How can a team member help a superior understand when they have been handing them too many tasks that are not on the high priority list for their job description?

    Blog Question: Chris, did you stop using Livefyre for the comments system?

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I sure did Erik. Too many problems. Back to Disqus. :-)

      • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

        I like Disqus!

  • http://www.livebeyondawesome.com Jen McDonough

    1. Do you have any time management templates, apps, etc. that you use? How often do you review your actual time management with your “ideal time mangement” template for those of us who are wanting to have visual aids to keep us intentional.
    2. What “tricks” do you have for intentionally blocking outside factors that are important to keeping up in social media yet can interrupt our priority time such as with family?
    3. Since you are big on blocking out junk in your life, assuming you have your goals and/or priorities written out…where do you have yours posted so you can see them consistently?
    4. Do you have a personal mission statement and if so, where do you post and how often do you review?
    Many thanks.
    Live Beyond Awesome!
    Jen
    Twitter: @TheJenMcDonough

  • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

    How do you determine which projects demand the most attention vs. which ones should go on the back burner? What is the method used to prioritize tasks, so you don’t spread yourself too thin by saying “yes” to more things than you can acomplish?

    • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

      Wow – another good question – you guys are bringing it today!

      • http://lilykreitinger.com Lily Kreitinger

        CLoBlog commenters consistently demonstrate exceptional performance :0 )

    • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

      +1

  • http://lilykreitinger.com Lily Kreitinger

    These are my questions for Peter. Is life-work balance and impossible dream which we are always trying to achieve and will probably never happen? How do we avoid getting discouraged in the process of balancing the tension between what we must do and what we would like to do?

    • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

      Nice one, Lily. Hope that gets selected.

      • http://lilykreitinger.com Lily Kreitinger

        Thanks, and of course I noticed that I typed “and” instead of “an”…

    • https://twitter.com/mattmcwilliams2 Matt McWilliams (@MattMcWilliams2)

      I’ll second that question!

    • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=36736095&trk=tab_pro TroyD

      Great question Lily. My life right now seems to be full of discouraging distractions that continually add “must do’s” to my wife and my list. How do you prioritize when there are so many things fighting for #1 on the list. A car accident in December that keeps my wife from working, all the learning and discovery that goes with both our boys being diagnosed with Autism, and the stress of working two jobs 70 hours a week to keep our heads above water, the random flat tire that takes any remaining wind out of your sails. How can I prioritize or excel and anything when the crap never lets up? Sorry for the heavy comment/reply, my angle to your question requires a little background… I know several of you have prayed for me, I want you to know it works, and Thank you!!

      • Kathleen, Kat or Cass

        Troy- first of all- a burden shared is lighter, and if seeing the grace in our offered prayers helps you, we continue to extend them. I am sorry you are faced with constant struggle and challenges. I know how defeating that can be. The year long goal can help keep you focused on the bigger picture, but often readjusting and reevaluating to stay on track take back seat to everyday life.
        May you find comfort in knowing all you face has a purpose,EVERYTHING HAS a BENEFIT repeated often may help loosen the stress when it feels overwhelming. As God knows the number of hairs on your head, He knows your path and you aren’t alone. Trust in yourself, in Him and others to buoy you up when it gets flagging.
        May Peter offer you words of wisdom that expedite the joy in life for you and your family.

      • http://www.lilykreitinger.com Lily Kreitinger

        Troy,my prayers will continue for you and your family. I read a bedtime story with my little girl last night and the message was simple “God knows how to make good things out of the bad things that happen to us”.

        • http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=36736095&trk=tab_pro TroyD

          Thanks Kathleen, Lily.
          My strong faith tells me these same words every day. The hope that you speak of is the only thing that motivates me at times. Thanks for the reminder. I know good will come, the fact that God is working in my life is humbling and exciting. I think part of the problem is I am continually the person using these same words to lift others, then they almost feel cliché by the time I apply them to my own life. Anyway, it all ties into a question for the author somehow. It seems that leaders at times are filled with discouragement or setbacks, but still need to delegate, motivate and deal with distractions. Leadership is a heavy load.

      • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

        Troy – thinking of you as I read this tonight – and praying that you feel His presence in the midst of storm…..

  • http://jonstolpe.com Jon Stolpe

    What are your suggestions to managers and business leaders who are looking to help their team members stay focused?

  • Jillian in Nashville

    “How do you say “no” to the things that you know aren’t supposed to be your priority , but you know they’re someone else’s?”

  • #filmmakerdoc Doc Kennedy

    What roll does having a mission statement play in being focused? Is having a mission statement a must in your opinion?

  • #filmmakerdoc Doc Kennedy

    What roll does having a mission statement play in being focused?

  • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com Skropp

    Mr. Bergman, in your intro you talk about sometimes being on wrong path and needing to knock ourselves off it. What could a person do today to begin getting off a path of several years of wandering aimlessly with no clear focus or purpose? And how does one combat the pessimistic attitude resulting from such a path?
    Thank you for your time!

    • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

      Good question Scott. I hope he answers this one because I’m kind of in the same situation – I still don’t know what I want to do when I “grow up”! definitely need to quit wandering…

    • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

      Sorry – Mark!

      • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

        Wish it was “Scott!” That was a brilliant question. Hope he answers that one.

        • http://www.lilykreitinger.com Lily Kreitinger

          Scott asks some pretty brilliant questions too.

      • http://lilykreitinger.com Lily Kreitinger

        Oh… that was funny!

  • http://jeremycarver.me CabinetDoork

    Chris, thanks again for the opportunity to ask questions. Here’s mine:
    “Peter, What are the misconceptions people have about their barriers to focus, avoiding distractions, and getting the right things done?” – Jeremy Carver

  • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

    Love the premise of the book with the check-ins throughout the day. My question would be what is the single most effective action for someone just getting started with the program?

    Definitely looks like a book I need to own and implement. Thanks, Chris.

    • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

      Yeah, Carol. I agree. I just looke through this on Amazon, and it looks amazing and practical. I need to finish the 4 other books I started first though, I suppose. It would be ironic to buy a time management book, and leave it in a pile for 3 months, huh? Unfortunatley, that’s something that I tend to do.

      Currently, I’m still reading Platform and I am about 1/3 through “The Tao Of Twitter”. Both great books. Can’t put either one down!

      • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

        Totally agree. I’m also reading Platform, The Power of Habit, plus a couple more for an online class I’m taking. Frustrating because all I want to do is read and write but there’s work that gets in the way…

    • http://lilykreitinger.com Lily Kreitinger

      Agreed. Passion sometimes gets in the way of following through!

  • http://www.extdec.com kevinschumm

    I have been reading Time Traps, and then doing exercises in it so that I can do everything he suggests. I guess, if I was only a salesmen that book would be perfect but as an owner of a small business, how much time should I allow for what and what are my priorities?

  • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

    Chris, I don’t know if this is the kind of focus or distraction Peter works with, but I’m going to ask because It’s very much on my mind.

    I’m preparing to start a new venture and while my immediate focus is set, my mid and long term focus is not. In fact, I had thought it was, but I’ve discovered that I’m a bit like that dog in the movie “Up” and I keep coming up with new ideas, each of which looks more attractive and squirrel-like than the last.

    How can I keep my focus on one starting concept to work toward without completely losing sight of the others? Some of them work well together but not all do. I don’t want to spend all my time chasing around and never getting anywhere….

    Thanks!

    • http://jeremycarver.me CabinetDoork

      Bret, I feel you brother! I struggle with the same thing. I like to look at it as being an “Idea Guy”. My method (if you are interested) keep a list of those ideas. Discipline yourself to not exploring them when you have them. Schedule some block of time to explore your ideas. Chances are you will have more than you can explore. Explore the ones that naturally draw you. (Those will probably be the ones most likely to keep your attention, anyways.)

    • http://ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Dude!!! Too cool!!! Thanks for the rockin’ gift!!!