In times of frustration or lack of focus, don’t you sometimes wonder why you do what you do? We’ve certainly experienced that and, unfortunately, there are instances we still put ourselves through that angst!
Well, cheer up! We are here to address whatever frustration or lack of focus you may experience so you can make progress and be more fulfilled in your work. Heavens! We have certainly made mistakes. We are NOT perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But – we have learned so much and it is our hope that we can help you so you won’t have to make the same mistakes we have in the past.
We’re blushing here …
What kind of mistakes, you might ask? While we may blush to admit it, the worst has been the Shiny Object Syndrome. Okay, here’s the real embarrassment. Not just once, but repeatedly. Yup! We did it and if you haven’t, yay you! You are much more discerning, mature or stronger than we have demonstrated.
We have asked ourselves WHY?!!! No excuses here. We were tempted. (An apple anyone?) Tempted by the speed to increase cash flow, the promise of an easy system, even an automated system. We fell for it hook, line and sinker.
There is a cure for SOS. Sometimes the cost of SOS is high and it takes a loooong time to cure the itch. But it works. It’s called (wait for it…) find your calling. Did you expect it to be so obvious? So clear? So direct?
Finding how you fit into the world, the dream clients you want to work with and what your message for those special clients is makes a huge difference in your work satisfaction. It requires introspection and being honest with yourself, but it is satisfying to have that awareness.
It can also be a slow process, which further explains the attraction to those lovely, shiny objects, but be strong. The shiny objects rarely work.
There will be future articles dedicated to this topic alone.
Distractions, interruptions and serious time wasters...
What other focus issues have you experienced? One of ours has been distractions.
Whether you are checking email, stuck on Facebook or you catch yourself lingering on Amazon special deals, they all gobble up time.
Sure, you need to check your email, but not every five minutes! The same for Facebook, with the exception of updating your Facebook page or ads. And we won’t even begin to calculate the time sucking of shopping on Amazon! Whoever came up with the “customers who bought this item also bought” links was brilliant.
These are representative of one of the biggest issues entrepreneurs face, especially when they work alone at home. It is so easy to be distracted. Go start a load of laundry, pull something from the freezer for dinner and then spend "just a few minutes" (right!) on Pinterest searching for a new way to be creative with ground beef! None of them take more than a few minutes, but it is easy for those minutes to slip away faster than sand in an hourglass!
Your everyday duties can quickly take over the full day, so beware of that trap. At some point you will delegate many of those tasks to a VA, but in the meantime – you’re it! Steer clear of temptation to surf the web and remain focused on why you are sitting in front of your computer. Your objective is to create a product, course or site which brings you value for your efforts. When you don’t have any income, wasted time isn’t impacting your income. Hmmm, think that through.
Even the most routine tasks can offer challenges. And avoiding them only results in a lingering distraction as you dread confronting the unknown. When you start making it a habit of doing the tough stuff first, it is liberating. No longer are you needlessly lingering on a pleasant job just to be dodging something you find distasteful. It really is energizing to just get it done!
Let’s rephrase that, your focus needs to be on making income. Perhaps it won’t show up in your bank account immediately, but your efforts need to be toward reaching that goal.
One of the best pieces of advice for time management we’ve received over the years has been to plan your to-do list the night before. That may be a simplification of the guidance, but it works. At the end of your work day (do they ever really end?) grab your planner, calendar, post-it notes or whatever works for you and note your top three items for your next business day.
Typically, the top three to-dos should address Money, Marketing and Motivation. These will vary from day to day, but if you start your days focused on ensuring you are in control of your money, you are marketing your business and you allow time for yourself, you will gain more control of your day as well.
OMG! We still have trouble with this one. So much to do, so little time… Lesson after lesson has taught us a better way of being highly productive by remaining concentrated on just one thing. There are still times we falter. Sorry, we’re only human.
But what is the lesson here? It’s a learning curve of sorts. Once you avoid the multitasking and remain focused on the priorities, you eventually learn that it works! Wow! The progress that can be made with focus. There goes that squirrel again! No - focus!
Seriously, although we admit to still being in training with this, we know it works. We have evidence and we are working at being the best we can be. Like we said, it’s a learning curve. And it’s worth it.
Here are a few of the things we’ve learned in this process:
- You are working away, focused on your to-do list. Even patting yourself on your back! Then a thought pops into your head .. ruh roh!
- No worries – grab your notepad or a post-it and jot a quick note for follow up later. Now back to work!
- Break each task down into smaller parts.
- Now we already have reduced the focus to three main points (Money, Marketing, Motivation – remember?) but they each can be HUGE, so break them down.
- Now, back to work!
- Take a short (see the emphasis?) break every hour.
- Walk around, get a drink, stretch.
- Now, back to work!
Tied with a bow
As we’re wrapping it up now, we hope this was reassuring, helpful and maybe even enlightening. We’ve made all these mistakes, and sometimes continue to make them. But it is our hope that you have learned from this message so you won’t encounter the pain, expense or delays in your business!
Come back often, we’ll be sharing more – always with the intent of helping you be the best you can be. Oh! Was that a squirrel?