Monday Mornings with Madison


What do you do when the economy starts to resemble a rollercoaster gone wild? You stay focused. The dictionary defines focus as “the concentration of attention or energy on something.” Attention, energy: it’s true that these two qualities are essential. But if you want to build some forward momentum in this economy, no matter how wild the ride gets, you need to replace the word “or” with the word “and.” You need both attention and energy.

Energy relates to how much you focus. How long and how consistently can you concentrate on something without getting distracted, or without distracting yourself? Attention relates to how well you focus. How deeply and how intelligently can you concentrate on something, without getting bored or giving up?

Management guru Peter Drucker once wrote, “Success comes from focusing on one thing for a long time… because it takes time for the brain to really get into something…”
We have become so accustomed to multi-tasking that we don’t even know what focus feels like anymore. How many meetings have you sat through with people who are constantly checking their phones and BlackBerries and PDAs, reading and texting the whole time? How many ideas are you working on at once, giving every project just enough thought to keep it afloat but not enough to come up with a clear, coherent plan? When was the last time you took the time to actually concentrate on your business, your future, your life?

Multi tasking is a great tool for minor responsibilities but no long-term success comes from a distracted mind. Look around you: every successful business arises because someone takes the time to focus on a problem or opportunity long enough to design a product or service that responds to the need. And then they follow up, attentively and energetically. They stay focused!

There certainly are enough opportunities around to inspire new businesses. How about this one: BusinessWeek  recently reported that 10,000 Americans reach retirement age every 24 hours. What kind of service or product could you successfully offer these new retirees if you gave it all your energy and attention?

“Multi-tasking arises out of distraction itself.”  Marilyn vos Savant

© 2008 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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