The Dangers of Distraction



"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." -Seneca

There's a famous study, often referenced in business focused productivity/success books and podcasts that you probably have heard about in some form or another:

[Edited excerpt from Wikipedia]

Mischel's famous research study, "The Marshmallow Test," showed the importance of impulse control and delayed gratification for academic, emotional and social success.

In the 1960s at the preschool on the Stanford University campus, Mischel put marshmallows in front of a room full of 4-year-olds. He told them they could have one marshmallow now, but if they could wait several minutes, they could have two. Some children eagerly grabbed a marshmallow and ate it. Others waited, some having to cover their eyes in order not to see the tempting treat and one child even licked the table around the marshmallow!

Mischel followed the group and found that, 14 years later, the "grabbers" suffered low self-esteem and were viewed by others as stubborn, prone to envy and easily frustrated. The "waiters" were better copers, more socially competent and self-assertive, trustworthy, dependable and more academically successful. This group even scored about 210 points higher on their SATs.

Fascinating study. So what does this have to do with you, this election week?

The work of a business owner is about planning, focus and execution (and later ... harvesting) vs. chasing the fad of the week (the election aftermath, etc.), getting distracted and wasting time -- time you can't ever get back.

How many times did you look at social media today to gawk at political train wrecks? How much of your headspace is currently taken up with national concerns, rather than being business focused -- when your primary domain is your business, and your family?

But even in your business: How many "get-rich-yesterday-guru" emails did YOU get today? How many "pressing" client/staff questions did you manage, rather than focusing on revenue-generating tasks for your business? How much time do they waste? How many rabbits can you chase at one time?

Now, more than ever: Plan, focus, execute and harvest.

Be ruthless about your time. Don't let the 'guru-of-the-week' waste it by trying to convince you that there's a golden goose and only they know where it is. The real experts produce results for themselves AND help multitudes of others do the same.

The  'guru-of-the-week' produces results for the  'guru-of-the-week' and his insider buddies.

Don't bite.

The political concerns of the hour *are important*. But unless they are of specific relevance to your BUSINESS, and unless there is anything you can and should do about it right now ... chances are very good that they are taking up too much of your mindspace.

And, separately -- chances are also very good that you're executing tasks which could be easily-handled by a $17/hr employee (or $10/hr even) ... and keeping you from pursuing what only you, the owner, should care most about: growing profit.

There really is a tyranny of the urgent, the noisy, and the small. Fight against it.

Instead: Keep your business focused, and do at least one thing today to get, or keep, a customer. That's your most important task.

BE THE ROAR not the echo®


Janet Behm
Utah Real Estate Accountants
(801) 278-2700

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