“It sounds incredibly straightforward but you’ll be surprised the difficulty we all have in prioritising, letting go of things, and doing the things we’ve always known we should…”

– Faris Aranki

As the CEO of Shiageto Consulting, an innovative consulting firm that helps companies and individuals sharpen their effectiveness, I believe that Success = IQ x EQ x FQ. 

You may have heard of IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient) but FQ (focus quotient) may be new to you. So sit back, read and enjoy!

It’s probably best that I admit something up front and that is, I am an excessant — yep, as soon as I typed that, my computer put a giant red squiggle under the word to point out that it isn’t even a ‘proper’ word but hopefully you understood it as you read it.

The Faris Aranki Dictionary* defines excessant as someone who displays excessive/borderline addictive behaviors at certain times and with certain things.

Let me give you a few examples from my life:

  1. My childhood years — were certainly an excessant when it came to sweets and chocolate
  2. My teenage years — big excessant when it came to video games
  3. My university years — some excessant behaviors when it came to partying and drinking
  4. Early career years — definitely excessant on hours worked and perfecting Powerpoint slides until 3 AM (ah the joys of being a consultant…)
  5. Mid-career years — a pivot to be excessant on exercise as a counterpoint to all the partying and hard living I’d done previously
  6. Running my own business years — excessant on business development and chasing leads

I wouldn’t say that I have conquered all these excesses (I mean I still struggle when it comes to a restaurant buffet, for example, and I have been known to lose hours to candy crush on my phone) but I’ve certainly got a lot better.

Read More: The Paradox of Choice: What Is It?

How Improving My Focus Quotient Has Helped Me

A key part of that is that I have actively worked on my levels of FQ (focus quotient). If you haven’t heard of focus quotient before, feel free to check out my other posts herehere, and here.

Fundamentally it is the ability to focus on what is important to you (be that in your work or personal life). It is a big area that my company, Shiageto Consulting, helps businesses with.

The good news is that FQ is something you can develop and improve with practice. Let me outline 3 key components for how you can do this:

  1. It all starts with having clear goals, you can’t focus if you don’t know what problem you are solving or what you want to achieve.
  2. The next step is to identify the key activities that will help you achieve these goals. Once you have those clear then map out when you will do these activities (the big tip here is that routine helps). It’s also worth looking critically at everything you do to understand if it helps you achieve one of your goals; if not then you might want to stop doing it or do less of it.
  3. Next, identify any focus barriers that may stop you; these can range from distractors (such as the aforementioned candy crush) to things that add friction to your achieving your goals (such as a broken printer when you urgently need to get a document signed). Find ways to neutralize or overcome these barriers.

I have countless hacks that I have developed in my own life to overcome these dreaded focus barriers including:

  • Dividing my working week into six groups of tasks and timeboxing each of them so as make sure I spend time on each without trying to multi-task (e.g. if I have dedicated time to design a workshop which is part of my DELIVER task group then I don’t also dip into answering emails during that time which is part of my ADMIN task group)
  • Reducing friction for tasks that seem like an effort (e.g. setting out my gym kit in the morning so as to reduce one of the frictions of getting some exercise in)
  • Increasing friction on things that I want to do less of (e.g. double boxing all my chocolate and putting it at the back of my cupboard)
  • Combining activities wherever possible so as to get two outputs from one input (e.g. turning a new training course into a podcast)
  • Keeping a visual record to reinforce positive habits I want to develop (e.g. marking on a calendar every week where I need to write a blog post)
  • Increasing transparency and accountability to keep me honest (e.g. telling someone close to me about how I’ve spent my time or how I intend to spend my time so they can both challenge whether it makes sense and make sure that I actually do it)

So How’s Your FQ?

Hopefully reading all about FQ will help inspire you to question your levels of focus and to start thinking of ways to improve it.

When you start it may not be easy but I assure you that the more you practice the easier and better it becomes.

And, if you need a helping hand feel free to reach out to me or the team at Shiageto.com!

Read more: 5 Potent Steps to Cultivate Unshakeable Discipline

This post was contributed by Faris Aranki. He’s the CEO and Founder of Shiageto Consulting, an innovative consulting firm that helps companies and individuals sharpen their effectiveness. 

*Not a real dictionary