FOCUS your way to a great fourth quarter

I wasn’t feeling well this weekend, so I rested and watched a lot of football. 

The endings of two games stand out. 

On Saturday, Tennessee Volunteers drove the ball 45 yards in 13 seconds to set up a game-winning field goal against Alabama Crimson Tide. On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills put together a 12-play, 76-yard game-winning drive in the fourth quarter to beat the Kansas City Chiefs.

Why can football teams do so much so quickly at the end of games? 

Yes, strategy is involved, but I attribute most of the success to FOCUS. Teams have limited time, limited resources, and an obvious goal. FOCUS leads to success.

In our modern world, focus is constantly under attack. 

A recent article in Entrepreneur magazines illustrates the point, “Researchers at the University of California at Irvine found that after you’ve been distracted, it takes 23 minutes to re-focus on what you were doing again. Study after study says the same thing. Interrupting what you’re doing for 30 seconds to answer a team member’s question may not seem like a big deal. But in reality, you haven’t just lost 30 seconds. You’ve lost 30 seconds plus the 23 minutes it will take you to get back on track. So, if you answer 3 “quick questions” every hour, you’ve blown the whole day!”

Add in the distraction devices we call phones, and you know why we have trouble focusing. (By the way, we need to give younger generations a break on their phone use. Most older people are just as bad, if not worse.)

There are books, blogs, and videos for dealing with distractions. I have read and tried many of them, but I often feel like trying to recall the tips is a distraction in itself.

So what works?

Focusing on a worthwhile goal. 

One key takeaway from the 1956 recording of The Strangest Secret is to write a worthwhile goal on a card and carry it with you for the next 30 days. 

A friend looked at his calendar at the beginning of the fourth quarter. He estimated that he has thirty-eight focusable working days (304 hours) remaining in 2022. That was after he subtracted weekend days, holidays, travel days, and standing obligations. He focused 100 of his hours on his two top priorities, 100 hours on his following four concerns, and 100 hours on his other eight projects. He is hoping this strategy will help him focus on what matters most.

If you read this on the day it comes out, you will have 75 days until 2023. What do you want to accomplish in that time? What is your focus goal?

Make the goal worthwhile. Make the goal meaningful. Make the goal something that will make you stretch. 

Earl Nightingale says that when we focus like that, not worrying about HOW we will achieve it, our minds will become more alert to noticing opportunities that will help us reach our goals.

So, maybe the key to being distracted is to focus on the worthwhile goal and then let our minds be distracted by opportunities to achieve that goal. 



Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is Director of Content and Product Strategy for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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