How Focus Can Be Used To Increase Your Success

Success at nearly anything requires a great deal of effort. One study showed that it typically takes 10,000 hours of effort to achieve mastery in any area of human activity. We all have a limited amount of time to devote to any activity, even if it is aimed at mastery and success.

The Pareto Principle – Focusing on What Counts

Your time can most effectively be used to attain success and to develop mastery if you focus your time and effort on what counts most. To understand this you must apply what is called the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule. This principle is that you will achieve 80% return on about 20% of what you do. This is because many things we do bring little relative return. Everyone is required to do a lot of busy work that brings little in return.

The key then to maximizing your effectiveness then is to focus your time and effort on the 20% of the activities that will bring you 80% of the return. To do this you need to carefully observe and record the return on what you do. One way to do this is to track your activity over a period of two or three weeks. Keep track of every minute you are engaged in any activity and record how much time you spend. Go back at the end of the recording period and observe how much return you achieved on each activity.

Identify the areas of activity that accomplished the most toward what you are seeking to achieve. You will invariably find that you can identify about 20% of your activity that provides about 80% return. The numbers are not exact, but it is a good general measurement.

You then want to focus your efforts on that 20% of activity that gives you the greatest return. This applies whether you are training for a marathon, building a business, developing a major project, writing a book, selling, or anything else.

Limit Distractions

One of the primary reasons we engage in the other 80% of activity that brings us little is that we are easily distracted. Television and other amusements are non-productive distractions. Idle socializing is a distraction. Devoting too much time to planning and agonizing over things is a distraction.

Often as we are trying to focus on one activity we get email, phone calls, and other interruptions. You must evaluate the interruption immediately. If it is important, like a hungry child or a call from your boss, you must give up time to it. But most distractions are not priority activities and can be delayed or even avoided altogether.

The more you can focus on your task and especially the key and most productive aspects of that task, the more productive and effective you will be.

Sometimes distractions come disguised as opportunities. Many times while using the internet for example to research a project you will stumble upon “opportunities” to do other things. If the opportunity truly appears to have some merit, bookmark it for later review and move on. Most such opportunities however will only distract you and dilute your focus – ignore them.

This kind of focus requires discipline. It comes from practice. It comes from a sense of dedication to a goal and a single-mindedness of effort. By keeping the end in mind, focusing scarce time and effort on the goal to be achieved, success, if not assured, is far more attainable in any pursuit.

Wishing you success and prosperity,

Daniel R. Murphy
Helping People Learn to Build Wealth

Wishing you Success and Prosperity,

Daniel R. Murphy

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.