Hi, and thanks so much for reading my blog. I really do appreciate that you’re here. So, let me just tell you. I’ve been working with small businesses for quite a long time, and I’ve worked for corporate America for quite a long time; those of you that know me know that I’ve been an executive in some pretty big companies and I’ve also owned several small businesses.
There are a couple of things that people always say to me, particularly small business owners, and one of the most prevalent ones is that they have a really hard time focusing on their business, but that happens in corporate America, too. I always say to them, “Don’t let all that outside noise distract you.” But then it occurred to me that maybe they don’t quite know how to eliminate all of the outside noise…or maybe not eliminate it, but keep themselves from allowing it to distract them. So, I came up with three ways to maintain your focus.
First of all, you’ve got to identify — what are the distractions? You need to ask yourself some questions. If you know me as a coach, you know I’m going to have you ask yourself these questions, and I want you to think about them, and I want you to answer honestly. The only one it hurts is you, if you don’t. How many times, for those of you that worked for me, have you heard me say that? A lot. Because I say it to myself. So, ask yourself, honestly, why do I get distracted so easily? The opposite of focus is distraction, right? So, why do I get distracted so easily?
I could tell you why I get distracted so easily: If my environment is not conducive to whatever it is I’m working on. Let me explain to you what I mean by that. I recently had to move my home office from downstairs to upstairs. Why did I do that? Well, I’ll tell you. I would be sitting in my office, which was downstairs in my living area, which is where my dog, Max, and I spend 80% of our living time. The rest of the time is when I’m up here working, or up in the bonus room where I have a big sectional. We might be up here playing X-box or watching football games, whatever we’re doing upstairs. But you get the point. For the most part, I’m downstairs.
So, I would be sitting in my office looking almost directly into my kitchen and I’d think, “Did I wipe that counter top off this morning? Let me go do that,” and I would get up and go do that. By the time I got to the kitchen, I would see something in the master bedroom that needed to be done. You get my point, right? My environment was not conducive to keeping me focused on the business.
Here’s what’s miraculous about that. Once I moved the office upstairs, I was really able to focus. I’m starting work at 6:30 in the morning and I’m working until 6:30, 7:00 at night, and I’m not feeling tired. It’s because I’m energized again. And I’m focused, because distractions will drain this energy. Focus will keep us high energy. I just told you one of the things that distracts me – clutter, or if there’s anything that needs to be done, in the house. I will also tell you that, because I work from home, and some of you may have this same situation – some of you may not; some of you may go to the office, and there’s some distractions there, too – but let me just talk about my home office first. I have a precious little five pound Yorkie that’s two years old. He’s the heart of my life, but he also will distract me like nobody’s business. This is the second time I’ve had to start this video, because he’s been over here wanting me to play with him because it’s early morning and it’s his playtime. I decided to take a break and play with him a little bit so that he doesn’t distract me.
Now, what if you go into an office? There are a lot of things that distract you in an office. One is social time with coworkers. If people come to your office door, do you always let them in and let them distract you? If it’s business, then yes, you should do that, but if it’s just to talk to you about “oh, that game last night,” or “did you see The Bachelor?” Whatever it is that they want to talk to you about, you need to ask them to come back at a later time.
And then…is there a specific time of the day that I get distracted? That’s a very good question, and I’ll tell you why. I’m a morning person, so I do my best thinking and creative work early in the morning. That’s why I want to start at 6:30 in the morning, because once I get started, those creative juices just plow me right through until lunchtime. But then I have a slump, usually between 3:00 and 6:00 in the afternoon, because I’ve been up so early that, by then, I’m feeling a little energy slump. So, I consulted someone about that, an expert in body clocks and when is the best time for you to do certain things. What this person told me is that I should go to the gym around 4:00. Have my workout then, around 4:00. Now, that was completely opposite from what I thought. I always wanted to go first thing so I’d get it in and not forget to do it. But what I found is that what he told me works.
Three Ways to Maintain Focus on Your Business Video
As a morning person, I’m up at 5:00 or 5:30 every day, so by 8:00 or 8:30, I want to fall asleep. If I do that, I only need six hours of sleep, so once again I’m waking up about 3:00 in the morning and can’t go back to sleep. So, he said go work out, get a good workout in for at least an hour, which I’ve been doing, and then I’m not ready to fall asleep at 8:00. I’m really not. But by the time I’m ready to get in my bed—I try to get in my bed between 9:30 and 10:00, because it does take me a little bit of time to shut my brain down, so I’m asleep by 10:00, 10:30, which is great because now I’ll get my six hours in, and I wake up—I don’t even have to set an alarm, I’m always up between 5:00 and 5:30, every morning. And then Max and I start our daily routine.
So, ask yourself, is there a specific time of day that you get distracted? And then, know also when you successfully maintain focus. This is also important, not only to know where are the distractions, what are the distractions, when am I distracted, but also know there are times when you can successfully focus. We all have those. So, ask yourself, are there areas in my life that I always maintain focus? Good question, isn’t it? I’m going to come back to that one in just a minute. Then ask yourself, are there areas of my life when I can easily lose focus? What are the differences between the two?
The reason I sort of skimmed over this is because here’s what I want you to think about. Are there areas in my life that I always maintain focus? That’s a very good question. I want you to think about that, and as you’re thinking, think about how it makes you feel to think about those areas, internally. How are you feeling internally? Are you feeling energized? Do you feel, like, “I want to get up and go do something right now” or “I want to sit and read that article” or “I want to make those phone calls that I need to make.” Whatever it is, does it get you energized? If so, now when you think about the areas in your life when you can easily lose focus, pay attention to that as well. What happens with your energy level? What happens with your desire to take action?
My guess is going to be that the difference in energy level is dramatically different from the areas that you maintain and the areas in which you easily lose focus. So then, check your motivation and your confidence. After you’ve asked yourself all these questions, think about them specifically.
Remember, we’re peeling the onion and you know me as being my typical coach self, so I’m going to ask you a lot of questions, because I do want this to really help you and give you some tools that you can use regularly to maintain your focus. So, think about that. Are there specific triggers that cause you to lose focus? What do I mean by that question? I’m going to relate it to something else so that maybe you can relate it, too. I used to be a smoker – years and years and years ago. There were specific things that would trigger me to want to light a cigarette, things that I did every single time. So, in the morning, when I would sit down to have my first cup of coffee, the first thing I wanted to do was have a cigarette with that coffee. Or, I might meet my girlfriend for a cocktail after work. First thing I wanted to do, light a cigarette. Those are triggers. Somebody called me and got me really upset or stressed out? The first thing I thought about was lighting a cigarette. So, those are the triggers that caused me to want to smoke, but the same types of thing—not exactly the same triggers, but the same types of things cause you to lose focus. Ask yourself that question honestly. If you can’t answer it today, pay attention to that over the next week or so, and answer that question and figure it out. That will become important for you to learn how to maintain your focus.
Now, how confident are you that you’re in the business of your choice? That’s a tough one. That’s why I give you that little pregnant pause there. How confident are you that you are in the business of your choice? One of my favorite, favorite sayings is from Mark Twain. He said, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.” I feel so blessed because I absolutely love doing this. I love talking about things that may help you. I love facilitating my mastermind groups and seeing my small business owners grow and increase their confidence and take their businesses to the next level. I love it. So, I’m 100% confident that I’m in the business of my choice. But are you? So really ask yourself that question. And the answer may very well be “Yes.”
But then there’s the third question. Are there parts of your business that you like better than other parts of the business? I easily can answer that. Yes, there are parts—this that I’m doing right now, absolutely, I love this. I love any of the creative work. I love being with my mastermind groups, each and every one of them. I love all the participants, I love helping them, even the challenging people that don’t want to do their work. And those of you that work for me know that I will give you a hard time if you don’t do your homework. I love this part of the business.
But then, are there parts I don’t love? Yes. I don’t love administrative work. I don’t love having to make sure I’ve charged somebody’s credit card on the right day and at the right time and for the right amount. I don’t love having to keep the books. I don’t love any of those sorts of operations stuff. I don’t love maintaining any of my accounts that I need to do my business. I don’t love any of that operations stuff, so I know those are parts of my business that I don’t like as much as other parts of my business. Think about, and let’s have a little introspective now (as if we haven’t already done, right?). Understand those triggers that cause you to lose focus. Really understand them. We’ve asked those questions, but really understand those triggers. Get clear about what you really love about your business. Get really, really clear about that. What is it that you really love? And I cannot tell you. You’ll find out in just a minute why that’s very important. The very next bullet is why.
Outsource any activities that you do not love doing. I’m a really big believer that, if you don’t love doing it, outsource it. I have a partner that does all those back-end operational things. He does all the research on the products we get ready to use, like Camtasia, that I’m using right now to record this on. He did all that research. It’s not my thing. I love using it, but it’s not my thing to do that. And I also recommend, highly recommend, you get in a mastermind group to get some accountability. That’s one of the things I think small business owners lose is some accountability, because who is in your business that can and will hold you accountable? Really accountable. And I don’t mean just saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t have said that ugly word. Put two dollars in the swear jar.” That’s not what I mean. I mean, truly hold you accountable for making smart decisions, for staying focused – all of those things. Joining a mastermind group is like having a board of directors.
So, let’s review the three things you can do to maintain your focus.
Number one: do all of the things we just talked about in introspection. Go back and do all of those things. And really do them, guys…don’t just give lip service to it.
Number two: understand the times of day that you’re the most focused, and work during those times of day. I know that seems obvious to some of us, but it is not obvious to others. That’s why I’m working right now. It’s early in the morning here, I do my best creative work early in the morning; remember I told you that? I get all of this done, because then I can enjoy a stress-free day because I’ve accomplished a lot already. And then I can do those mundane tasks the rest of the day, that maybe are not my favorite things to do, but that I have to do.
Number three: during your most productive times of the day, have that list of priorities and just plow through them. Hold yourself accountable for doing one to three things each day that move your business forward. One of the things that I really try to hold myself accountable for, during my peak time of creativity and focus, is doing one to three things that will impact my revenue in some way or another – positively impact my revenue in some way or another. So, will a blog impact my revenue? No, but what it does is keeps me out there in the public eye, and what it will do is to possibly draw someone new to me, to follow my blog and read my blogs, and then, at some point, they may decide to join a mastermind group, or maybe get private coaching from me. Guys, you know one of the things I love doing is helping people. So, do these three things to maintain your focus.
I have some slots open for coaching in both my individual coaching and group coaching sessions. As always I offer a FREE 60 minute coaching session so that you can see if coaching can benefit you. If you are interested, go to my online calendar and choose the date and time that works best for you. Once you have done that, both of us will receive an email invite with the JoinMe conference call details included in it. That’s how easy it is! So go do it now before all the slots are taken!
Thanks, guys, have a great day. Stay focused. Answer these questions well, and do yourself a favor and actually take some action.