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Do you or your business suffer from DisFocusTraction as I do?

Focus is good. Right? Distraction is bad. Right? Well maybe.

Just ask my wife, and she’ll tell you I can be too focused—focused to the point that she cannot get my attention. If I were working on something dangerous, that focus could be necessary to prevent injury. When it’s because I’m watching some inane commercial on TV, that focus is not so good. She rightfully sees me as distracted by the commercial instead of focusing on what she is saying. All too often, I’m guilty of being distracted and focusing on the wrong things. Do you suffer from this same malady? How about your business?

I deal a bit with safety for all types of motor vehicles and power tools. Driver or operator distraction is a serious issue that can cause death in the worst of circumstances. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published some guidelines for driver distraction in 2013 and updated them in 2016. You can view a copy at NHTSA’s website. The situation with driving is only getting worse. How many times have you tried backing out of a parking spot only to have someone whiz by in the lane to get past you before you ram into the side of their vehicle? Aren’t many of us guilty of having the person in the passenger seat hold the steering wheel while we do something briefly, even if it is to deal with a coughing spell? Now, vehicle OEMs are creating larger and larger screens as recently reported in a Wall Street Journal article on the 26th of November.

Last week I took a scroll saw class. The former high-school band teacher and driver instructor was extremely patient. To create a smooth arc that does not require sanding demands that you look ahead, not just at the blade and the line. You need to make micro-corrections often versus big ones that look wavy as if you are wrenching from one path to another. Focus on the end goal, even if you go off the  line, and you’ll make a smoother transition from  . He often referred to looking ahead on the road, rather than focusing too much on the lines on the road near the car. 

It’s all too easy for our businesses as well to get too focused on the here and now rather than the long term goal. We can easily get distracted and veer off the path before making a gut-wrenching change in direction. I created a new word to describe this—Disfocustraction. It combines the concepts of distraction, focus, losing focus, maintaining traction on the road to our future, and having an action plan.


Here are seven take-aways:

    1. Keep focused on the long term
    2. Make small corrections often, especially to behaviors related to your culture
    3. Don’t get distracted by unimportant, non-strategic items
    4. Don’t ignore distractions that portend bigger issues
    5. Remove distractions in the workplace, especially ones that can cause harm
    6. Eliminate notifications and unsubscribe from emails (even this one if of limited value to you)
    7. Pay attention when someone is talking with you, especially your spouse