The Two Levels of Focus You Must Master to Produce Great Work

We live in a time where doing focus work can be a challenge. There are so many sources distractions, one of which—our mobile devices—we carry in our pockets wherever we go. It takes discipline to tame those devices as well as other sources of distraction so we can focus on producing great work.

If you aspire to produce great work, you must master two levels of focus.

1. Attention

The first level of focus can be summed up by this: when you work, work. That is, when it’s time to perform your work, it’s not the time to check email or phone notifications; it’s time to focus on your work. You give all your attention to the task at hand.

If you don’t master that level of focus, a task that should take you 10 minutes will take you 1 hour because you keep getting distracted. It can cause a drastic loss of productivity. Without focus, completing a simple task takes forever, when it didn’t need to.

Whenever you have to stop what you’re doing and tend to a distraction, you waste time: the time to handle the distraction and the time to return to the initial task and get into gear. If you start and stop too many times, you’ll feel drained and find it very hard to complete your task.

To master this first level of focus, you must learn to eliminate distractions from your environment before you start working. And when a distraction assaults you by surprise, you must resist its appeals.

2. Concentration

The second level of focus is encapsulated in this Chinese proverb: “The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” The idea here is that if you pursue too many goals at once, you’ll spread yourself too thin and end up failing both.

If you want to produce great work, you must limit the number of projects you tackle at the same time.

Tackling too many projects, although tempting, is counterproductive; you usually end up not having enough resources to allocate to all the projects. It would be preferable to concentrate your resources on one project. And once you complete that project, you can allocate your resources to the next project and the next one and the next one, until you complete all your projects.

You can get all your projects done, but you must discipline yourself to focus on your most important one until it’s done. It isn’t always easy, especially if you’re someone with many interests and ideas. But it’s preferable if you want to do great work.

When you combine the two levels of focus—i.e., when you give your full attention to your most important project until you complete it—you put yourself in the best position to produce great work—and lots of it.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.