The Main Thing…

I’m back in the office this week between two business trips. Last year, I decided to cut back on travel, and I’m now away less than a week each quarter – not counting my annual 3-week vacation. Being in the office more than out has highlighted the importance of staying on task in a few ways.

When I have more time available to be at my desk, I find that it’s easy to get pulled into non-essential busywork. Email is a terrific example. When I’m on the road, I’m ruthless about clearing out my email. I read, act, and delete as quickly as possible. But if I’m not attentive, that pattern slips when I’m in the office. Decisions get delayed (no time to read it now, but I’ll save and read it later… really!) and email piles up.

I’ve also noticed that a long stretch of time in the office increases the risk of scheduling my work around others’ priorities. When traveling, my flexibility is naturally limited. When I’m in the office, my scheduled is less fixed – if I don’t have a client meeting, it’s easy to reschedule blocks of time I’d intended to dedicate to long-term projects.

A friend often reminds me, “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”And so I ask myself each morning, what’s the main thing for today? Whether I’m in the office or on business travel, asking that question gives me immediate focus.

In this week’s post…“I’m sharing a few favorite quotes about focus. We all talk about it.

What’s your main thing?

Quotations of the Month

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

— Alexander Graham Bell

“An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.”

— Edward de Bono

“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.”

— Aesop

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