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Focusing on the Task at Hand – It’s the Secret to Success, if…

     Focus on the task at hand. That’s easy to remember. Best way to get things done. Everyone agrees.

     You should see my desk! That stack on the far corner is stuff I have to take to offices in the other part of the building. The stack beside my computer is the stuff I’m focusing on. The stack behind me, on the credenza, is stuff that came in the mail yesterday and needs something done to it today. Or tomorrow. Definitely before the weekend.

     That stack over there by the phone is reference material for calls I need to make before the end of the day. The stack hiding in the drawer is stuff I need to take care of first thing tomorrow morning.

     Focus. The key to success. I reach for the stack beside the computer.

     Oh! Here comes Dirk. He’s got a big fat folder of ? in his hand. It’s checks. A batch of checks for me to sign. Aren’t we supposed to do this on Fridays? He ran them early this week. Gee, thanks, Dirk.

     And he wants to go over some of them with me. Most of them. Actually, all of them. He fills me in on the discrepancies, missing pieces and over-budget amounts. Okay. I got it. I’ll sign them this afternoon. Or tomorrow. See you later, Dirk. Time to…


     Brr-rr-ing!  Good thing about phones. You can let them ring and check the voicemail later while you...

     I never could. Too curious.

     It’s Teri. She just e-mailed me a document that needs to be downloaded, printed and signed.  By me - and by the Executive Director. Today. Is she in?

     I quick call the front desk. Is Sarita here? Yes, but she’s leaving in five minutes. Yes, for the day. Has a meeting off-site. Good thing Teri called.

     Just below Teri’s e-mail with the document attached there’s a message from the Executive Director. Curiosity wins again.

     Darn! She wants a break-out of this year’s expenses and she needs it by three. Today. If I can get it in time.

     Of course! Why not? But first I have to download Teri’s document so you can sign it before you leave.

     I download the document and print it out. Ahhhh, back to...

     Focus. So good to Focus.

     What was I focusing on? Oh yeah. The reports. If I work on them for two hours – no interruptions - I’m sure I can get them done and out. Gosh! It’s eleven o’clock…

     Sheesh! Gotta get that document to the Executive Director!

     I run to her office. I didn’t really. Run. I walked really really fast and I looked totally cool and composed while I did it. I learned this trick when I had four kids under six.

     Whew! Caught the Executive Director in time. Now I just have to fax the document to Teri and then I can get back to my office to…


     “Hey Kristin! How’s it going?” The fax machine is in the rear of the building, not too far from Kristin’s cubicle.  

     “Sure, Kristin. Come on back to my office and I’ll get that form for you.” Kristin comes along, we find her form, and I’m ready to...

     By the way, she has a quick question for me. After a lively discussion about the merits and demerits of changing a procedure, she leaves and now I can…

     Focus. The stack’s still there. Hasn’t moved. Wait! Wasn’t I s’posed to do something? What was it?

     Oh, yeah. The expense break-out. If I concentrate, I should be able to get it done before noon and then I can…

     Someone’s coming. Looks like Elena. Yep. And she has a handful of papers and she looks really worried. And so I guess I’m not gonna…

     Focus. But it’s a great concept, isn’t it?

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