Improve Focus to Achieve Mastery

Mastery is defined as: comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment.

The benefits of mastery include self-discovery, personal fulfillment and the opportunity for growth.

Similarly to the way a medical specialist can command a higher premium than general practitioners, masters of their craft are able to narrow down how many others can compete with them for that specialist work.

The pursuit of mastering your craft is a continual journey; however, reducing distractions to improve focus is the first step.

“The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of our focus.” -Robert Greene

Here are three other things to keep in mind on your pursuit of mastery.

1. Devote more time to the craft v. the prize

For most of us, the prize is more appealing than the craft. We are often advised to, “start with the end in mind.” Problem is, many of us don’t move past daydreaming about the end, or the prize.

It’s easier to do all the ancillary things that surround the real work.

However, to achieve mastery, spend more time on the craft than the prize, on the process rather than the product. Embrace the process and the work you’ll do to achieve the prize.

Unmistakable Creative says it this way: Your greatest work emerges from your deepest and most intense levels of focus. And in a world where this ability is being gradually damaged and destroyed, those who develop and maintain this capacity will have a substantial competitive edge over others who aspire to master their craft.

2. Practice monotasking

Also known as single-tasking, monotasking is the practice of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the task is completed or a significant period of time has elapsed. This idea contrasts with multitasking, which is the ability to divide one’s focus among multiple tasks. Monotasking is simply another tool in your time management toolbox.

Try to identify your peak performance time in the day. Then during this time, set aside two to four hours where you can focus on a single project without interruption.  For more on building habits around monotasking, check out Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris.

3. Read (a little, first)

We all know reading is important. Yet, many of us may admit that we do not crack open a book as much as we should.

Roughly a quarter of U.S. adults (27 percent) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey.

If you struggle making time to read, start small. Try just one book a quarter to start. Then scale up from there.

Opt for print or digital forms first, but if you aren’t a big reader yet, audiobooks count. For a free option, check your local library. Many public library systems offer access to free, downloadable audiobooks that can be “checked out” to cardholders for a set number of days.

Reading offers the opportunity to focus, while gaining more insight into your craft. Start with an achievable goal of one book a quarter and build up a habit of reading more.

For more on the topic of mastering your craft, check out Robert Greene’s Mastery.

“Most people don’t have the patience to absorb their minds in the fine points and minutiae that are intrinsically part of their work. They are in a hurry to create effects and make a splash; they think in large brush strokes.

Their work inevitably reveals their lack of attention to detail – it doesn’t connect deeply with the public, and it feels flimsy.”
― Robert Greene, Mastery

Kelda Senior is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. She is a business development and accredited public relations professional from Florida. For the past 10 years, Kelda has served as a communications and community outreach specialist in local, state and federal government, with an emphasis on the transportation sector since 2012. Kelda is the owner of Senior Communications LLC, a boutique public relations firm focused on helping emerging brands cultivate their message and move their audiences to action. Kelda holds a B.A. in journalism and a master of public administration – both from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. You can read her posts here.

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