Have you ever been to one of those big, wonderful framer’s markets?
You know, the kind where you can barely squeeze through the pathways between stands because there’s always someone in front of you, stopping to buy a scone or check out the freshly-picked strawberries or scope spices by the ounce into little baggies?
I’m always afraid I’m going to miss something, because every stand is crammed with so much good stuff!
At times, running my business makes me feel the same way. There’s so many good ideas I have, that I’m afraid I’m going to miss implementing something!
And, sometimes I do. Part of being a business owner is making mistakes. Sometimes, things fall through the cracks. You learn from those mistakes and you move on.
What I’ve found, though, is that I have to have laser focus on the things that are important in my business, so the rest of the daily grind doesn’t distract me from my goals.
If I’m going to the farmer’s market for a pumpkin, I don’t want to walk out of there with cheese and muffins and zucchinis…only to get home to find out that I forgot the pumpkin.
Today, I want to share with you my very best tips for staying focused. If you want your business to be successful, eyes on the prize! These tips are especially important when you are starting your new business.
Most businesses fail in the first 5-10 years…and this is due to, in part, a lack of focus!
- Tip #1: Get rid of the day job.
Quitting a dependable job – even a job you hate – can be scary.
I think every business owner has been there though, stuck between reliable money and their passion. I want to encourage you to close your eyes and take that leap!
Don’t do it without planning. Don’t do it without a bit of a safety net if you have a family to support.
But realize that if you don’t quit your day job, it’s going to be really hard, if not impossible, to build a successful business, because you don’t have time to focus on it. Your business needs your full attention if you want it to grow. Otherwise, your really just have a hobby that makes you a little money on the side.
- Tip #2: Set working hours.
This is so important. I can’t tell you how many times a friend has stopped by and completely distracted me from my work.
When you own your own business, people just assume you can drop what you’re doing to chat with them or run errands or babysit their kids. For some reason, because you’re working from your home or from your own office, they think that you’re not actually working. Or at the very least, they think your work isn’t a priority.
Set clear working hours every week and stick to them. Yes, being flexible if there’s an emergency is great, but your best friend wanting to get coffee or your neighbor wanting someone to walk their dog while they’re on vacation…those things are not emergencies.
At first, it takes some getting used to, especially for your immediate family (and especially if you work from a home office). But eventually, everyone will get used to your working hours and leave you alone so you can focus.
- Tip #3: Chunk your time.
“Time chunking” is a term I first heard a few years ago, and I love this method for focusing. It essentially means that you do all related tasks at the same time, so you aren’t jumping from project to project.
Our brains take time to refocus every time we switch gears. And that time is wasted!
So, instead, don’t jump around a lot during your work day. Focus on one thing at a time, and you’ll get everything done a lot more quickly.
- Tip #4: Prioritize.
This seems like a no-brainer, but so many business owners aren’t doing it! We tend to do the things we want to do first – fun tasks – and push off everything else.
The problem? You might not be prioritizing your tasks the right way.
Start with the tasks that are most important, even if it’s stuff you don’t want to do. Focus on knocking those things out of the park so you can move on to tasks that you enjoy more.
- Tip #5: Use a task manager.
Here in Molly Marie HQ we use Asana as our task manager, and I can’t tell you how helpful this tool is! We load EVERY TASK that needs to be completed into Asana and check things off our to-do lists as we get them done.
Instead of feeling scattered and worried you’re going to forget something, you can simply focus on your to-do list, which you have, I hope, prioritized! 🙂
A task manager like Asana also allows you to assign tasks to other people on your team, rather than having to call or email every time you need something to get done.
- Tip #6: Get into healthy daily routines.
Yes, I know it seems counterproductive to take time away from work, but healthy daily routines really can help you focus.
I like to start my day with a cup of tea, take break for a healthy snack mid-afternoon, and go to the gym or for a walk in the evening. I get to sleep at a reasonable hour, and take time for yoga or quick meditation on days that I’m stressed.
When I need an extra hour of sleep, I take it. When I need a break, I walk away from my desk for a few minutes. Doing this helps me focus so much better when I start working again. If you’re not healthy, mind and body, your work will suffer.
- Tip #7: Use background noise that works.
I’m not a fan of working in complete silence. However, turning on the television isn’t really a great option. When you do this, its really easy to get sucked into a show or movie. Suddenly, you’re binge-watching The Walking Dead on Netflix instead of doing work.
Not that I’ve ever done that. It’s just what people tell me could happen…
Anyway, choose your background noise carefully. Sometimes, especially when I’m writing, I even find that the radio is too intrusive. So, I turn on some instrumental music instead.
- Tip #8: Optimize your Work Space.
If your work space is messy, your work will be messy.
How can you optimize your office to get the most work done during the day? You want to be able to focus on tasks, not spend time digging for a file or dealing with clutter.
For me, duel monitors works best, and I keep my immediate work space clear. Items I need, like staplers and pens, are in drawers and easy to find, and I make sure that I spend the last five minutes of my workday cleaning my space, so that I’m setting myself up for a good start the next day.
- Tip #9: Make sure your goals are realistic.
I’ve seen new business owners run into this trap quite often – setting goals that are way too lofty.
I mean, shot for the stars, everyone. I don’t want to squash your dreams.
But I want to encourage you to be realistic.
Because if you aren’t, not only will you fail, but you’ll be trying to accomplish so much during your day that you’ll find it impossible to make any progress.
- Tip #10: On Going Education
Lastly…on going education is so important to your productivity and motivation!
Productivity isn’t something there is an end master goal to. You don’t wake up one day and say, “WOW! I’ve mastered productivity!” It’s something that is on going and you’re always striving to be better at.
One way to combine on going education with on going productivity with my Productivity Formula Ebook & Companion Videos.
Having a successful business does not equal how many hours you work. You can actually work LESS and become MORE profitable. Check out Productivity Formula here now.