What Has Your Attention

It dawned on me that the things on our screen are rarely the things that make us money. I shot a quick video about it, to talk about productivity, time management, and what might be holding us back. If you can’t see a video below, click here.

Get Your Own Attention

Get out a piece of paper, some post-it notes, some whatever. Write down the #1 thing you should be doing for your business. Write also the #2 and #3 things. Then, maybe one or two personal things. Make those 5 things the CENTRAL TARGET of your eyeballs as often as possible. Use more than one poster if that helps.

Make the thing REALLY obvious and useful.

“Write 1000 more words.”
“Get up for a 20 minute walk.”
“Make 10 calls.”
“Find 20 new leads.”

Whatever it is. Write it down. Get your attention back. The time is now.

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  • http://BizDharma.com Himanshu Chanda

    The main screen open right now is your video :P
    Ok Jokes apart, yes this is the smallest thing with the biggest impact. If whats on your mind, on your desktop, on your to do list, in your conversation…. if all of that is junk. You know what to expect back…. Life is just a reciprocation…

  • http://www.architecturaldigest.com/homes/homes/2007/12/fernandez_article Pepe Fanjul

    the blog is very nice and informative, i like that. it tells you about your attention power.

  • http://www.socialmediaforlawfirms.com Samantha Collier

    Excellent post! I also had Gmail, Hootsuite and of course Facebook open. I’m writing out post-it notes as we speak.

  • http://www.socialmediaforlawfirms.com Samantha Collier

    Excellent post! I also had Gmail, Hootsuite and of course Facebook open. I’m writing out post-it notes as we speak.

  • http://www.johnmcdougle.com John McDougle

    Because you have no control over your goals, only the actions you take everyday, I have a calendar on my wall with checkboxes. Each of the7 things on the list is one of the most important things for me to do that day. It is stuff like making sales calls, exercising, producing work, getting to sleep early, etc. I find it motivating to see how many ticks I have got by the end of the week.

  • http://twitter.com/wiltonbound DJ Edgerton

    Chris, as a card carrying VIP board member in good standing of the Entrepreneurs ADD club, I can say that the post it/focus suggestion works. It’s like a 3M string around your finger. I use it. Easy to see…easy to throw away…and like every behavior that’s good for you…hard to start doing…

  • http://hannahsharvest.com Hannah Marcotti

    I’m getting those extra large post it notes today for just this. It’s crazy how many times I sit down with things to do and then get lost somewhere else!

    Have you seen the bermuda triangle of the internet cartoon? It was of course making it’s way around FB!!!

  • http://hannahsharvest.com Hannah Marcotti

    I’m getting those extra large post it notes today for just this. It’s crazy how many times I sit down with things to do and then get lost somewhere else!

    Have you seen the bermuda triangle of the internet cartoon? It was of course making it’s way around FB!!!

  • http://twitter.com/KStarry Kim Starry

    Awesome Chris, and some great suggestions here too. I of course had Hootsuite and Gmail open.

  • http://www.experiate.net Paul Flanigan

    Gmail, Tweetdeck, Browser.

    What struck me, though, was, “What motivates you.” It’s easy to look at a screen and THINK it works. It’s another to actually do it. I need to find what motivates me to move forward –> to money, progress, happiness. All the rest is just fog.

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  • http://paynelessadvice.com/ Donald Payne

    My business gives me access to an online daily planner. I have to admit that I am guilty of not always opening it up and following through on my daily task. I am not a student of avoidance behavior but I understand how easy it is to lose focus on what matters most. Great post thanks for sharing.

  • http://deceth.com deceth

    Post-it notes frighten me ever since the “kick-me” incident of 1998.

  • http://www.virtuallin.com/ virtuallin

    Ugh, Seesmic Web and Feedly! So true, it’s so easy to procrastinate and read just one more tweet or just one more great blog post! Do I have my process maps done yet? No! Grr, but at least I have you to kick me in the tail and snap me out of it! Thanks, Chris!

  • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

    Dude, you nailed it. Just what I needed. Thanks Chris. :)

  • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

    Dude, you nailed it. Just what I needed. Thanks Chris. :)

  • Jeremy Powers

    I still struggle with this. I have better focus and creativity with a whiteboard or blank sheet of paper. The downside to “analog” is – I type much faster than I write. Plus, everything on a whiteboard must be transcribed to a digital format.

    The solution I sometimes work with is to simply turn off my WIFI access. (Of course, many software packages now require internet access for functionality.)

    OK, less blog commenting, more focus . . . .

  • Jeremy Powers

    I still struggle with this. I have better focus and creativity with a whiteboard or blank sheet of paper. The downside to “analog” is – I type much faster than I write. Plus, everything on a whiteboard must be transcribed to a digital format.

    The solution I sometimes work with is to simply turn off my WIFI access. (Of course, many software packages now require internet access for functionality.)

    OK, less blog commenting, more focus . . . .

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  • http://twitter.com/WorkingNaked Lisa Kanarek

    That’s a great reminder to focus on what’s important. I tend to want to do everything at one time. The way I stay focused is to use a To Do list. It’s right in front of me at all times. Without it, I’d go from task to task and at the end of the day, have nothing to show for my efforts.

  • http://www.myadguy.com Ray Martin

    E-mail Hell. Inbox task lists. Too many unread messages and very little of it is actually productive. Didn’t you write a blog post about a community website where people could log in and post notes or discuss where they are on a project? That would be really helpful to keep myself on task. I’ll follow up with an e-mail about it if I can’t locate it here on your blog. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/LibertyPkg Liberty Packaging

    You’re the voice in my head! Thanks for the valuable reminder, Chris.

  • http://twitter.com/NancyD68 Nancy Davis

    I swear you must be reading my mind again. Part of my job is surfing the web for cool stuff for blog ideas, and of course teaching myself social media, Twitter, and SEO (because I did not have enough to do) I can justify spending time doing these things very easily.

    But sometimes I have to just read and make notes and absorb all the information. That is when “bright shiny object” happens the most. I really have gotten much better about not playing on websites that are just for my sheer enjoyment during work hours, but still can even while reading, feel that urge to check Twitter.

    I maybe need to schedule time for quiet study and Twitter time, and blogging time, and networking time. It all needs to fit in one day. I have trouble scheduling everything.

    This was really great, and gets my kind going in the right direction.

  • http://www.automallautobodylv.com Jimedington

    It’s good to have a refresher like this. Especially since I’m the type of guy that gets so utterly distracted that I find myself feeling like I’ve done nothing at the end of the day because I’ve only made a lot of loose ends. Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1531920286 Eric Jensen

    “If you could look backward at your years thus far, you’d see that your life has been fashioned from what you’ve paid attention to and what you haven’t.” – Winifred Gallagher, ‘Rapt, Attention and the Focused Life’

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1531920286 Eric Jensen

    “If you could look backward at your years thus far, you’d see that your life has been fashioned from what you’ve paid attention to and what you haven’t.” – Winifred Gallagher, ‘Rapt, Attention and the Focused Life’

  • http://www.howardgreenstein.com/blog Howard Greenstein

    Excellent reminder for the day, Chris. Thanks.

  • http://www.howardgreenstein.com/blog Howard Greenstein

    Excellent reminder for the day, Chris. Thanks.

  • http://www.inboundrecruiter.com Brian Kevin Johnston

    Chris- Thanks…I NEEDED to hear that, so thank you for the gift.. Best, Brian-

  • http://www.government-mailing-lists.com/ governmentlists

    Chris, that’s why I keep changing the default start tabs on my chrome browser, it’s for this same reason. Attention to growth, attention to learning. As always, thanks Bro.

  • http://TannerChristensen.com tannerc

    I like this. Would leave a longer comment full of opinions and potential insights, but I have five other things that are requiring my attention RIGHT NOW. Thanks Chris. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/3rhinomedia Don Stanley

    too true @tannerc. I find this to be the biggest question/concern/issue of everyone I know who is engaging in social media. When we talk, everyone tends to feel behind, scattered and concerned about missing something. So they feel like they NEED to have TweetDeck open and gmail and check their phone and … or else they are left in the dust.

    Barry Alvarez, athletic director at UW-Madison (Go Badgers!) taught us the WIN philosophy when he was rebuilding the Wisconsin Football program. WIN stands for What’s Important Now. I guess I have forgotten to keep my eye on the prize as I haven’t been asking myself this lately. I’m going to be putting up some WIN post-its thanks to this Chris. Thanks for the kick in the pants to remind me where to focus my energy.

    Keep sharing the productivity tips too … I find them very useful! Grazie

  • Elly Terhaar

    Excellent blog post for the day. It helps me to put what my goals are in perspective. Graduating college is my main goal right now. After I watched your video I wrote down my goals and what I need to do to achieve them. I have the problem with distractions during the day. Checking my email 20 times a day just because I do not want to start homework is not a good idea. Great reminder to keep myself motivated! Thanks Chris.

  • http://twitter.com/GrangeWeb Kieran

    What is actually written on your post it notes?

  • http://twitter.com/GrangeWeb Kieran

    What is actually written on your post its?

  • Anonymous

    This is such a simple yet powerful concept. It is super easy to get distracted by the things that do not produce value or move us in the right direction. I too find myself falling back onto hootsuite and gmail rather than my biggest goals and objectives.

    A great reminder on what will make my business grow and prosper.

    Brandon

  • http://twitter.com/PeterPaluska Peter Paluska

    Classic wake-up call! Thanks, Chris. Right on the money.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterPaluska Peter Paluska

    Classic wake-up call! Thanks, Chris. Right on the money.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Chris,
    Simple message but probably one of the strongest messages.
    Do what will move you forward.
    It’s easy to fluff around because it takes no effort but constantly working towards your goals does take effort but has huge rewards.
    Thank you once again.
    Mat

  • http://twitter.com/rogerdooley Roger Dooley

    Great advice, Chris. The biggest problem most of us have in achieving our goals is getting caught up in the seemingly urgent but not really important chaff that fills our day – emails, phone calls, social media pings… Anything that keeps the really important stuff in front of us can only help.

    Roger

  • http://twitter.com/rogerdooley Roger Dooley

    Great advice, Chris. The biggest problem most of us have in achieving our goals is getting caught up in the seemingly urgent but not really important chaff that fills our day – emails, phone calls, social media pings… Anything that keeps the really important stuff in front of us can only help.

    Roger

  • http://twitter.com/rogerdooley Roger Dooley

    Great advice, Chris. The biggest problem most of us have in achieving our goals is getting caught up in the seemingly urgent but not really important chaff that fills our day – emails, phone calls, social media pings… Anything that keeps the really important stuff in front of us can only help.

    Roger

  • http://twitter.com/rogerdooley Roger Dooley

    Great advice, Chris. The biggest problem most of us have in achieving our goals is getting caught up in the seemingly urgent but not really important chaff that fills our day – emails, phone calls, social media pings… Anything that keeps the really important stuff in front of us can only help.

    Roger

  • http://twitter.com/rogerdooley Roger Dooley

    Great advice, Chris. The biggest problem most of us have in achieving our goals is getting caught up in the seemingly urgent but not really important chaff that fills our day – emails, phone calls, social media pings… Anything that keeps the really important stuff in front of us can only help.

    Roger

  • http://twitter.com/rogerdooley Roger Dooley

    Great advice, Chris. The biggest problem most of us have in achieving our goals is getting caught up in the seemingly urgent but not really important chaff that fills our day – emails, phone calls, social media pings… Anything that keeps the really important stuff in front of us can only help.

    Roger

  • http://mombeams.com Erlinda Shen

    I’m not alone when I say that I have a horrible time trying to stay focused, especially with two babies at home. Writing things down really helps and keeping all my notes consolidated in one place works very well. I use three different note taking apps on the iPhone. Sound crazy? I think it keeps me far from it.

    Simplifying and going old school (pen and sticky notes) is really useful advice to keep tasks on track. Thanks Chris, I will be giving this a shot.

  • http://twitter.com/BrandiSchoch Brandi Schoch

    Great advice something I didn’t even think about thank you

  • http://www.ianmrountree.com Ian M Rountree

    Interesting – Just now noticing your video style has changed a lot since the Overnight Success video (You could trot that out and play it against this for an example of progress).

    Progress makes money. Interesting side-benefit, I think.

  • http://www.ianmrountree.com Ian M Rountree

    Interesting – Just now noticing your video style has changed a lot since the Overnight Success video (You could trot that out and play it against this for an example of progress).

    Progress makes money. Interesting side-benefit, I think.