As I was watching Andrew Luck work his magic at the end of a Colts (loss) game, I was struck by his ability to see the whole field and then instantly switch to a laser focus on the person he was passing to. In this case, unfortunately, a Denver player was able to sneak up on him and interrupt the play. Had he been seeing the whole field at that point, he might have been able to avoid the tackle. However, he would likely not have been able to accurately make the pass. Great leaders intentionally pick what they will focus on. Bad leaders let every interruption interrupt their brain.
Our brains are not built to jump between multiple points of focus. Write down 25 random words. Give yourself a minute or less. Turn the list over. Quickly write down what words you remember. You'll notice a couple of things from memory theory:
- You'll remember the first and maybe last word you wrote down.
- You'll remember any strange words.
- You'll remember emotional words.
- You'll group words together that make sense.
- Words that don't have pictures (for example, love) will be more difficult to remember.
Focus requires intention. Chunking, pictures and other memory techniques are required for our brain to remember more than 7 +/- 2 things. Bad leaders have a to-do list that has 100 items on it to get done today. Great leaders have 1-3 imperatives for the day.
NOTE: More details on mitigating busy-ness in the September Learning Flash