Focus on what really matters the most

Distractions are everywhere – multiplied and intensified by COVID. Full-time home working is again the norm. Schooling remains a painful juggle. Zoom life is eating us up.

It’s now dawning that there is no end to the blurring of boundaries between work life and home life. So, we are bombarded with a thundersnow of interruptions.

We are also faced with the realisation that COVID has exposed that so much of what we do in corporate life is unproductive work. These realities call for a new approach in the New Year.

That’s why at Black Isle Group (BIG) we have been working with clients on The Big Approach – a unique methodology to improve performance, based on delivering big goals through everyday actions and supported by our innovative NUDGE technology.

Here are our five tips for focusing on what really matters.

  1. Define the one BIG thing that you need to achieve to improve performance and carve out significant ringfenced time in your diary to progress it.
  2. Do not allow anything else to encroach on your ring-fenced time. Switch off phones, emails, laptops and ensure no other distractions can interrupt you. (Research shows that one annoying email notification can scramble your mindset for 40 minutes). Focus entirely on progressing that one BIG thing through everyday steps that will move you towards your BIG goal.
  3. Use at least one piece of significant ringfenced time each week for personal consideration of the Three Rs – Regroup, Reflect, and Reinforce what matters. You may want to do this with a coach or colleague.
  4. Give up unproductive work – COVID highlighted how much of what we do is not mission critical. Identify the many things that you do that don’t shift the dial. De-prioritise them or just don’t do them at all. Say “No” to lots of stuff that will distract your focus from the Big Goal.
  5. You need a clarity and a calmness of mind to be able to see clearly what the most important things are for improving your performance and the performance of the business. Look after your body and mind so that you are in the best of health to achieve what really matters.

These five tips are drawn from work we have been doing at Black Isle Group to radically improve performance in our clients’ businesses using The Big Approach and Nudge Tech. If you want to make a leap forward in your business contact us for a demo or click on the link below to find out more.

If you would like to find out how Black Isle can help you and your business with real change and a new approach click here; The BIG Approach (

Atholl Duncan is Chair of Black Isle Group and Author of “Leaders in Lockdown” – shortlisted for leadership book of the year 2021