[This is part 6 in the RPG Productivity Player’s Guide series.]
In RPG’s, dungeon crawls are about as simple as it gets. Oftentimes, there’s only one goal (survive, or a variation thereof) and no megaplot. All you need to do, is hack and slash your way to the finish line, whatever that may look like.
Some gamers look down on dungeon crawl games, because they crave a more complex game. They want an overarching subplot, the option to develop multiple characters, they love the conflicting info and puzzles, trying to figure out the next course of action.
There’s something to be said for the simpler games though.
They have focus.
All you need to focus on is one goal and one goal only. That makes the game relatively simple, even if the route to the finish line is still a challenge in terms of getting there. But you know where you’re going and you know how to get there. All you have to do is, well, do it.
There’s incredible power in focus. And focus does not come easy nowadays, with distractions luring our attention away from every possible source. It can be tough to stay focused and keep our course. So how do you do that? How do you keep focusing on what really matters?
What Brings the Most Value
I could give you a 6-step program to get focus, but that would sort of defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it? After all, you can’t remember 6 steps, let alone execute them. The good news is that you don’t have to. All you need to ask yourself every single day is this question:
“What do I need to do today that will bring the most value to me?”
If you’ve read the previous posts in this series, you know that I’m big on goals. Setting specific, measurable goals for yourself is the indispensible foundation for creating focus. What do you want to accomplish and how are you going to do this?
Value, then, is whatever brings you closer to your goals. But there’s value and there’s more value. That’s where priorities come in.
I can’t say this enough: you don’t automatically do the right things. As humans, we’re wired to do what comes easiest, what we enjoy most, or simply what’s at the top of our list. Literally. So use whatever method(s) fit you best to determine what will bring the most value at any given moment. What is the one thing you need to do first, the one action that will result in the biggest step forward?
Let’s say your to do list has 50 items on it. Sound about right, doesn’t it? Now ask yourself: which of these to do’s bring the most value to me and bring me closer to my goals? That’s what you have to focus on.
The Power of “No”
How’s your focus? A simple way to check this, is to make a quick list of all the areas you’re active in, all the projects you’re involved in, or all the roles you have. The more you have, the longer your list is, the less focus you have.
Focus means being somewhat ruthless in saying no, even to good opportunities, in order to focus on the best opportunities. Focus may mean getting rid of all the bells and whistles, sometimes even the ‘fun stuff’. I’ve cut down on blogging for other sites for instance, even though I loved it. If I spread myself to thin, I’ll never realize my own goals.
If you want to survive that dungeon crawl and come out victorious, focus is the name of the game. Don’t let anything distract you, no matter how cool, or interesting, or alluring. Focus and you’ll reach the finish line.
Quick gut check: How’s your focus right now?
In what areas do you need to cut back, re-prioritize, or simply say no?