I’ve been thinking of writing a blog post on the power of focus for quite some time. Truth be told, I have a pet peeve: people who multi-task while I’m on the phone with them. The sad thing is, the person on the other end thinks I or others on the call can’t hear all the multi-tasking, but that’s not the case.

It seems we are losing the ability to focus for reasonable periods of time to get things done right. I know I have difficulty focusing on anything for more than 20 minutes. An article I came a across on Mashable absolutely confirmed my gut feeling on our growing inability to focus and the array of distractions in the work environment.

Most of us who work in front of computers are distracted every 10 minutes. You read right, every ten minutes. What’s more, multi-tasking causes a 40% drop in productivity, resulting in a loss of 2.1 hours daily or 546 annually per employee. Some quick math shows that 68 days of business development are lost each year!

So now I come to the “F” word in the title: in order to accomplish any objectives competently that you have set, you have to focus. This is common sense, not rocket science.

Specifically, you have to be able to focus on the things that are essential to the success of your firm. Simply put, that means getting things done right and on time.

So just how focused are you? Take a moment and think about the following questions:

  • Do you find it difficult to focus on a single task for more than an hour? Time yourself, I dare you.
  • Can you sit and read a long document or scholarly article for work without glancing at email or reaching for your mobile device?
  • Do you run out of patience with long, in-depth, nuanced discussions?
  • Can you have a conversation on the phone for 20 minutes without multi-tasking?

If you said yes to any of these questions, you may look busy but you’re likely not as productive as you think you really are. You may feel like you’re accomplishing things, when in reality your lack of focus may be allowing mistakes to creep into your work or to overlook important client or court deadlines. So try to stop spending time juggling activities of little importance to your ultimate success.

If you’re struggling with this, resolve to get some advice and perspective so that you keep your clients satisfied and maintain the trust of your peers.

Mastering the ability to focus is critical to your success and in maintaining the good reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.


Paramjit Mahli is with The Rainmakers Roundtable, a training and consulting firm that helps attorneys and other professionals become profitable by increasing lead generation and conversions to clients. For more information visit: http://www.therainmakersroundtable.com. Feel free to contact Paramjit directly for a free, no obligation consultation at: (646) 763-1407.

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