If we’re truly honest with ourselves, we are all involved in work that we love but aren’t necessarily the best at. Consider for a moment Florence Foster Jenkins, an American socialite who had dreams of being an opera singer. The problem?
She simply could not sing.
Her social standing, wealth, and passion allowed her to pursue an ill-advised career on the stage. However, she was routinely ridiculed by her peers and the press, with her story forever immortalized in a movie starring Meryl Streep.
This is a common issue. People waste hours on tasks they don’t have the skills (or time) for: CEOs micromanage and colleagues won’t stay in their lane. In all likelihood, we’ve all had a Florence Foster Jenkins moment in our lives. But think about what it costs you, your family, and your company if you’re putting time and energy into something that reaps little reward.
It’s time to eliminate these distracting tasks and achieve more by doing less.
The “Distraction Zone” is one of the productivity zones found in our Freedom Compass. (Take the time to fill this out, as it could revolutionize your approach to work.) The Distraction Zone indicates if you’re wasting time or contributing real value to your organization.
If you accidentally find yourself in the Distraction Zone, here are three questions to ask that will move you closer to your goals:
Question One: Do I Have The Skills For This Task?
As Michael Hyatt says in the book, Free to Focus, “Many people confuse proficiency with aptitude, but they’re not the same.” Unfortunately, passion can mask proficiency. If your work isn’t delivering results or you’re spending too much time on a task that you love, it’s most likely in your Distraction Zone.
Question Two: Does This Work Contribute to Future Growth?
Take a moment and think about why you are carrying out this task. Just because you have always done something, doesn’t mean you should still do it. Delegating is a key part of growth. If this task is no longer part of your job description or area of responsibility, it’s time to let go. Look forwards, not backward.
Question Three: Why Am I Not Letting Go?
It’s an uncomfortable truth, but ego can come into play in these scenarios. It's hard to let go of tasks and trust someone else to do something. Why are you holding on to this responsibility? Like Florence Foster Jenkins, we all have blind spots with our pride.
If you can’t see tasks that might be in your Distraction Zone, you may need someone like a colleague or a coach who can hold you accountable.
Ultimately, if you’re working in your Distraction Zone, you’re squandering time, money, and opportunities for growth. These three questions will enable you to refocus and move you closer to achieving your goals.
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