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Combating Dwindling Career Focus

February 27, 2009

It’s a trap! I’m labeling it the Quick Sand Phenomenon.

The situation I’m referring to is the diminishing focus and attention that goes into performing everyday tasks at a full time position. While I’m sure everyone here has fallen ill to this, it is seemingly most common in entry/lower level jobs where tasks don’t change much.

Essentially the Quick Sand Phenomenon (QSP) is when you get so used to what your position entails that you mindless go about it without error. Then, you start to see a typo here or a missing fax cover there – no problem. As the months go on, you start seeing yourself having more free time because you have successfully streamlined your work to take you half the work week (although there are multiple errors); and you look as if you’re slacking off to your superiors.

Combatants:

  1. Pace yourself – Set a minimum time limit for work so that you can focus on only one thing for a set period of time. Doing this forces yourself to check and double-check (proofing is another topic for another blog).
  2. Create new work – Whoa, whoa, whoa! Why do more? Well, besides the obvious career benefits, by doing more (even clerical duties) you keep time moving.
  3. Schedule meetings – Not just any meetings, but a review. Ask your superior if there is anything you can take on, or if they think you should rework what you have been doing. It can be a great motivator.
  4. Follow trade blogs – You could also subscribe (and actually read) trade magazines for either your industry or marketing in general. This shows initiative.
  5. Ignore Facebook – Not just Facebook; Myspace, Digg, StumbleUpon and all other forms of ‘Web 2.0’ that we’ve all become so accustomed to. Trust me – it’s not your lifeline.

If none of those work and you’re still being dragged down, then look at other factors:

  • Do you enjoy your job?
  • Are your coworkers all negative?
  • Can you handle your responsibility?
  • Are you on drugs?

Any of these are good reasons, but not really good exuses. If you’re still sinking, or don’t want to bother trying anything to get out of the trap, then you have two options: A. Dust of your resume and find a new position, or B. Stay sinking until you need to see A.

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