It happens over half of the time. It may be happening right now. Sometimes we don’t even realize it is going on. Then we catch ourselves and wonder how our minds got sidetracked.
It is easy to get sidetracked and lose focus. We all lose focus. The question is not whether we are going to lose focus—we are! When we employ clarifying personal filters it enables us to focus on the people and outcomes that are most important to us.
Focus is a 50/50 thing.
On-going research conducted by Harvard University suggests that 46.9% of the time our mind is wandering. Even in the midst of important projects, assignments and events there is only a 50/50 chance we will be focused on what we are doing.
To make matters worse there is a high probability we are creating more distraction by choosing to multitasking. Research shows that multi-tasking lowers your IQ. When you choose to multitask your IQ drops of as much as 15 points to the average range of an 8-year-old child.
What are your personal filters?
Personal filters are the lens through which you make decisions about where you are going to invest your time, talent and resources. Without filters it is easy to get pulled into “things” that don't matter. Misdirecting you from pouring yourself into your most important roles or stealing your attention away from your most important goals.
Filters create focus. They direct our attention to what is going on around us. Ultimately, personal filters support decision making that is consistent and in alignment with what is most important to us.
Creating personal filters.
I asked a client working through a career change where he wanted to be in five years and what filters he would use to paint his vision for the future.
Pain is a powerful motivator! His vision was not much more than to move away from his current employer. His motivations were good, but he hadn’t really thought about where he wanted to end up.
Personal filters provide the clarity we need to keep us from being easily influenced and swayed by daily shifts in our circumstances and environment. They assure our choices will benefit the people we want to be remembered by and what we want to be remembered for.
We are easily pulled into the many seemingly urgent and unimportant projects and activities. Because our mind easily wanders, without a filter we add to our daily volume of stress, debate and demands on our time.
How do you avoid having your emotions become your filter?
Employ a filtering question.
Through the years, I have applied a filtering questions. “Is what I am doing now the best opportunity for me to contribute to my highest goals and most important relationships?”
When my mind wanders this is a great question for refocusing my attention.
But this question did not always allow me filter new information or opportunities.
I came across “AIWATT” in Marshall Goldsmith’s book, Triggers.
It is a powerful filter you use to help you focus on what is most important.
“Am I willing at this time to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?”
Personal Filters and Focus
By employing filters you enable yourself to stay focused and committed to your most important roles and highest priority goals.
Not everything that begs our attention and engagement is worthy of an investment of our time, talent and resources.
Pick Up Some Great Reading
Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts--Becoming the Person You Want to Be by Marshall Goldsmith
Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better by Brant Hansen