Do you ever get that feeling that you have been busy all day and not achieved a thing? I know I have. When I first started trying to set up my new business, I would sometimes get to 6/7 o’clock and wonder what I had actually been doing all day!
When I looked back, I felt that I had been busy, but wasn’t really sure what on.
I would start each day with my To-Do list and start to work from the top of the list. I would perhaps tick that one off, and maybe even the next one. But somewhere along the line, I would get distracted. I would start one task and then do a bit on another task, so that I had a gazillion tabs open on my laptop. When I got to the end of the day, I wasn’t able to tick much off…. And so, the cycle would continue.
I knew I couldn’t go on like that. I was being a busy fool and not getting anything of importance finished, so I sat myself down and asked myself what was going on. Was it because I was finding setting up a new business too difficult, was it because I didn’t actually want to succeed.
I knew there was something that was stopping me from getting more done, but was struggling to understand. So, I did a bit of research, experimented a little, and then it came to me!
THE REAL REASON
The real reason I wasn’t getting more done was because I wasn’t focused, not because I couldn’t do it. I was spending too much time procrastinating, going down rabbit holes and generally doing anything other than work on actually building my business. If this feels like you right now, here are 7 tips that I used to help me focus on what was important.
1. Set your goals
Its important to know what you want to achieve and by when. Look at both your business and personal life and think about where you would like to be in say 1 year, 3 years and 5 years. Brainstorm everything you would need to do to reach those goals. This will help to motivate you to work on the right things and to focus on the task at hand.
2. Create a plan
Once you have set your goals, you should then create a shorter-term plan. I normally suggest 90 days. This gives you a good list of stuff to work to but not so long as you feel overwhelmed with everything you need to do, or feel that you need to stick to it rigidly if something changes in your external environment. From this set your priorities. Know what you need to do this week and month, set deadlines for the tasks and hold yourself accountable for doing them. After all, when you were working your 9-5, your deadlines were set for you and you always achieved them! Perhaps give yourself a treat or some time off, if you achieve your deadlines. This will help to motivate you to stay the course if it starts to get difficult.
3. Batch your work
You can get more done if you batch up your tasks into similar things. For instance, I always work on creating content on a Wednesday. Friday is my strategy and personal development day. This way, you are only working on 1 priority at a time. Your brain doesn’t have to spend time switching from one task to another, so you can focus more clearly and get more done.
4. Set the timer
If you’re still finding it difficult to concentrate, use the Pomodoro technique. Get yourself a timer…. If you haven’t already got one there is a chrome extension called Marinara Timer. The idea is that you set it for 25 minutes, work solidly for those 25 minutes. Have a short break. After the 4th working period, take a longer break. This helps you to minimise distractions and focus more solidly, knowing that you have a short break coming up.
5. Get an accountability partner
You won’t be the only business person who gets distracted, so why not find a kindred spirit who also wants to get more done. If you tell them what you want to achieve over the next month and they tell you their goals then you can hold each other to it. You can help to motivate each other and to lean on each other if one of you are having a difficult time. Just saying it out loud will make you focus more and sharing it will make you more determined.
6. Tell your friends and family
The more people you tell the more likely you are to succeed. No one wants to be a failure, especially if it’s just because they spent time playing games, or reading irrelevant articles! Plus, if they know about it, they are more likely to leave you alone to get on with it.
7. Turn off notifications
There’s nothing more distracting that a notification going off. Is it an important message, do you need to drop everything to read it…. Not usually. Its generally one of your friends or peers posting on social media, wanting to chat to you on Whatsapp, or an email coming in. All of these can wait for one of your breaks. Turn your wifi off. Close down those apps. Whatever it is that you need to do to turn them off. If someone needs to get hold of you urgently, there’s that old fashioned method called the phone!
Am I more focused now? Do I get more done? Well, sometimes I get distracted by an interesting read, or if I’ve forgotten to turn off my notifications! But having a plan, batching my work and setting non-negotiable deadlines for myself, have all made me much more able to concentrate on what I’m doing. So, I do get much more done in my working day!
If you’ve enjoyed this article, then please feel free to have a nose around the rest. In particular, if you are just setting up your business, this might be of interest Which task management system would you choose
And if you need support or are feeling a bit demotivated and want to join a facebook group that offers advice and will be there for you if you need it, then why not join up below