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