O'Reilly logo

Can I Have Your Attention? by Jonathan McKee, Curt Steinhorst

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 19Can We Get an Extension?

I don't hate all birds. Just the one that chirps relentlessly outside my window each morning at 6 AM. My dog, on the other hand, indiscriminately chases every bird, except the one I wish he would.

One morning, that bird cost me more than just sleep. It deprived me of the focus I needed to write a blog, an article, and a speech—tasks I had blocked out on my morning calendar. I was so tired that I simply couldn't get them done well.

As leaders, we don't need any help losing sleep. A survey in the Harvard Business Review found that 43 percent of us feel sleep-deprived at least four nights a week.1 This makes not only the end of the day a total loss but even the middle of the day a serious battle, no matter how much we have to get done. Marathoners expect to hit the wall at mile 20. If they are hitting it at mile 8, they have a problem.

As we learned in Chapter 6, our ability to focus is a limited commodity. Like any commodity, our success is dictated by how well we allocate it. But how do we do that well? Let's look at some simple ways to maximize focus expenditures for ourselves and our people.

Cut Bad Expenses

How many choices did you make this morning before even stepping into work?

  • Should I get up now or hit snooze? Snooze.
  • Which shirt would look best? The one that's least wrinkled.
  • Which coffee should I brew? Screw it; I'll stop at Starbucks.
  • Eat a big breakfast or something on the run? Depends. Can I con my partner into cooking?
  • Should ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required