How to Improve Your Focus as an Entrepreneur
March 21, 2019
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As an entrepreneur, one of the worst things that you can struggle with is having shiny object syndrome, or as I like to call it, s.o.s.
It is so hard to move your business forward if you're constantly jumping from idea to idea, project to project or worse, never actually completing anything.
And honestly, it can be detrimental to your business and kind of your sanity as well. It can feel overwhelming not knowing what to work on, feeling really caught up because you're not able to focus. And if you are struggling with this, know that you are so not alone. So many entrepreneurs struggle with focus and productivity, and that’s what I want to talk about today.
If you don't know a lot about my story, I started my business with a one-month-old baby.
I quickly returned to work two months later was working a nine to five, figuring out this whole mom thing and launching this business from scratch. So optimizing my time, being really lasered in and being productive when I was working on my business was so, so important.
I hear from entrepreneurs all the time about the lack of focus, the lack of productivity, not actually feeling like they are moving their business forward in a way that is allowing them to break free from their nine to five or support their family or travel the world..Whatever that desire might be for you.
Today, I wanted to chat with you about my favorite tips for improving focus, especially as an entrepreneur.
#1 FLEX YOUR FOCUS MUSCLE
The first thing that you need to know when it comes to focus is that focus is a habit. If you don't currently have a great method for focusing or you feel like you have squirrel brain (you're all over the place), then it has to be a conscious decision that you make.
To change this habit, you have to make the decision now and create an awareness around it so that you can start flexing that muscle. I often say that focus and productivity is like a muscle. The more that you do it, the more that you practice it, the stronger you will actually become.
It's really easy to stay in this same cycle, to stay in a bad habit. It's like a wheel you're constantly on over and over and over again until you make the conscious decision that you're going to step off of that. The same goes with the habit around focus.
If you struggle with this, then you have to be super aware and on it, on those moments when you're not lasered in and focus and pull yourself into that different mindset. Every single thing that you will create around a new way of focusing and productivity will require daily action on your part.
It can be really easy to slip back into old habits, but I really encourage you to make the decision now to start taking those small actions and you will eventually see that this just becomes second nature to you and you're able to not just get more done, but actually be productive in your business.
#2 BRAINSTORMING SESSION
Your girl right here constantly, has ideas. And if I just let those ideas flutter around in my brain, I would always feel overwhelmed. So the key that I have initiated from the very beginning is a brain dump. Like didn't we all learn how to do this in elementary school? We're getting ready to write a report or write a short story and we have to do a whole brainstorming session.
That's exactly what you're doing here. I call it a brain dump because we're taking everything that's going on up here that's driving us freaking crazy and we're dumping it into a list and getting it out of here so we can focus on what we actually need to do.
If you are a creative entrepreneur or a creative person than I know those ideas are constantly coming at you and you can't quite figure out which one you should be focusing on to actually see results. The spinning, the constant spinning back and forth is what's keeping you stuck because you can't see a clear plan of action to get from here to here.
Oftentimes those ideas that we have might not be right for this moment, but we're so hung up on him. We're so clouded by all of the ideas floating around in our head that we can't actually map out our own step-by-step.
So getting these ideas out on paper; I prefer to use Trello for this. You can do a complete brain dump in Trello to get you started and you'll be able to see with your eyeballs the things that you need to do and the things that aren't needed in this moment.
My tip for you, after you do this brain dump, is to actually pull out the pieces that are going to make the biggest impact for you in the next 30 days.
This is a great habit to start getting into because you're looking at the bigger picture of your brand. I'm not going to overwhelm you and be like 90 days out. Like let's just focus on 30 days at a time. By brain dumping all of that information, pulling out the pieces that you think are going to be the most important in the next 30 days, and then starting to prioritize.
Again, I love Trello and for this next step after our initial brain dump, I recommend using some sort of tool like Trello. There's also Asana out there, monday.com, tons of options for you, and organizing those individual pieces into smaller actionable steps.
In the beginning it's gonna feel like snail-like motion, but eventually you're going to really create a rhythm. The only way to do that is to actually get clear on all the little bitty nitty gritty details that you actually need to do in your business.
With each of these individual projects that you have prioritized, I use Trello to create different cards for those projects and add in all the tiny steps.
The key here is for you to take that big idea and break it down into all the tiny little details that are going to help you get that done. Remember, it is in the small actions, we start to feel really overwhelmed when we're just looking at one big task and we're like, how do I get there? What do I need to do now? And we're Ping ponging around.
If you can break it down into these small little actions, put a little checkbox next to it when you are completed with it and know that, oh if I do all 10 of these things, I will get that done.
#3 embrace your calendar + MAP IT OUT
Okay, let's talk about scheduling your time. I know you're an entrepreneur. I know that you decided to break free from the nine to five life or maybe you've gone part time or whatever because you want complete control of your schedule. You still need to use a calendar. I don't care if you are an entrepreneur, I don't care what you're doing.
You need to embrace your calendar by giving yourself time to schedule out these individual task is going to save you so much time and energy in the long run.
Remember, you don't always have to be scheduling every tiny little detail as you start to create this habit, but especially in the beginning, I want you to start scheduling and time blocking all of those individual tasks.
If you caught my post last week where I talked about content creation and the four tools and tips that I use, I talked about batch scheduling. This is also something that you need to get into the habit of scheduling, not just the tiny little parts, but also those batch scheduling sessions that you use in your business, whether that is creating content, filming videos, engaging with your audience.
Start putting those in your calendar as well so you can really see where you need to be laser focused and on which project and where you a little bit more breathing room and flexibility.
So again, being your most focused and productive self is a habit that you have to practice. You have to flex that muscle.
These tips are what's really going to help you get started in creating this habit. Remember, we need to get all of those ideas out of your magnificent brain, onto a piece of paper or some sort of computer software so that we can start strategizing how you're going to move forward.
After the brain dump, you want to identify the most important pieces, the ones that are going to have the biggest impact in the next 30 days. Then you went to breakdown each of those individual tasks into tiny little actionable steps and get them on your calendar. This way, you know every single day what you're working on, where your energy and focus needs to go and you know and you trust that each of those small actions is leaving to the bigger goal, the bigger picture and your business.
#5 PRODUCTIVITY HACKS
Another thing that I absolutely encourage you to do is use something that allows you to take multiple breaks. One of the ways that you can increase your focus and productivity is not staring at a screen for like eight hours. Get into the habit of taking frequent breaks while you're working on something every 50-60 minutes is usually a good mark, but if you're the type of person who needs every 30 minutes to get up, walk around, meditate, do something, then go ahead and do that.
My favorite thing to use is those little cute productivity cubes and finally one of my brand new favorite tools that I absolutely love is called habit lab. It is a chrome extension and it monitors the time that you've spent on various platforms.
Nothing will break your focus more than your inability to walk away from Gmail or your horrible obsession with spiraling on Facebook.
If you find yourself wasting tons of time on Facebook or Instagram and Gmail, then you are missing out on your focus and your productivity and therefore you aren't moving your business forward.
Putting a chrome extension onto your browser is going to help you get into that habit of not going to that platform every time you have a little bitty break. Utilizing these tools is only going to help you, you guessed it, flex that focus muscle.
You want regular tips and tricks on productivity. Be sure to follow me on Instagram at instagram.com/brandmerrycoaching.
I'm talking about all the behind the scenes of how I run my business, how I manage being a mother, how we're traveling full time, how I work with my husband, the communication that needs to happen. It really comes down to being super productive.
Don’t forget to grab my free content planner, which will support you in improving the focus when it comes to creating awesome content! You can get that at brandmerry.com/contentcalendar.
Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight
Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.
Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.
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