The world we live in bombards us with multiple beeps, sounds, dings, flashing lights, pictures of food, thoughts of coffee, kids needing us, grocery lists to make, dry cleaning to pick up, dogs needing to be walked, etc… etc… etc… You get the idea. Then, if you throw in the challenge of being an Entrepreneur and trying to rock the world with your product or opportunity – then… Oy!
So, we need a way to keep our focus in the face of all of these things that are constantly being thrown at us.
Enter a list of helpful tools and tricks to put in your briefcase and use in practically every application. We must “starve our distractions and feed our focus.”
To do this we need to define what a distraction is, so that we can successfully recognize them and know what to do when they come up. Oh yes, they will come up – ALL THE TIME.
To start “starving your distractions” you need to reflect on what the top things are that make your attention wander from the tasks at hand. In addition, you will want to get out your work schedule and block out a portion of your day to make it your concentrated “focus time”.
Is a big one Social Media updates? Set aside a time slot to be Social Media Free. Turn off your notifications. Sounds, badges, banners… turn them off during that time period. Just click on the specific App in your phone and flip a switch – Voila! Major distraction eliminated during your focus time!
What about text messages and calls from non work related parties? Put on an auto reply – “Can’t talk right now – Will get back with you in _________ hours/minutes”. Most phones and services have that option – Once you enter your chosen message, you should be able to save the message for easy implementation whenever you have your appointed focus time. In no time at all, your friends and family members will become accustomed to not trying to reach you during those time slots unless there is a genuine emergency. After all you are working on making their lifestyle level improve and they will not want to get in the way of that endeavor!
If you are working from home it can be a distraction mecca. All of the sudden things you have been putting off doing for weeks, or months, maybe years – become of paramount importance and are suddenly 911 emergency level tasks. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in a misguided sense of what you “should be doing”. Once that snowball of “shoulds” starts rolling it can be hard to stop it before it becomes an avalanche of distraction from working your business. Trust me, dusting the ceiling fan can go another few hours without being done – you have waited this long, a few more hours will not change a thing. We need to train ourselves to “focus on where we want to be – not where we are.”
Carve out for yourself a work space that is just for that, work. Whether you are fortunate enough to have a home office, closet, desk, or table – make it for work. Only have things in that area that directly pertain to your business. Separate this place from the rest of your living area. Let the family know that this is a “no go zone”. If you treat it that way, they will too. Plus, when they see you can focus on work and not have outside influences disrupting you – they will see your example and it will help them to learn new habits too.
None of this is easy when you start – there is a changing of ingrained behaviors and that is never simple. Working is a term that has it’s own connotations – that’s why it is sometimes referred to as “The Grind”. Think for a moment why you want to work your business – Find your “Why”. Is it so that you won’t have to work for someone else, not have to commute and sit in traffic everyday, have extra money for things and experiences that you want to have for your family, or yourself? Write out your “Why” and let that be the only artwork taped to your desk or computer. When you feel yourself drifting, or distracted – review that statement to get your focus back.
“You get what you focus on. So, focus on what you want.”
Write out a “to-do” list. Every day let compiling that list be the last thing you do before you stand up and enter back into your day to day life. When you do that in advance, you have your focus lined up for the next work session. Always make sure that there are at least three items on that list, that they are true to your “Why”, and point you to where you want to go. There is a very true quote to keep in mind, “The successful man is the average man, focused.”.
When you decide to work from home, you are embarking on a whole new adventure. One that you can, and will, be successful at – by keeping your focus and not letting either your mind wandering, or other things (sights, sounds, and random thoughts), get between you and excelling at your chosen profession.
You have taken initiative, made sacrifices, and are filling up your already full plate even more. While this path is not for everyone – this choice to follow your dream is “worth it” and you will be counted as successful by keeping laser sharp focus on your goals.
So – In Review:
* Eliminate distracting sounds
* Limit Social Media that is not directly related to your work
* Create a “reply message”, on phone and email, for friends and family that are not prospects and schedule it for a specific time period so, you can work undisturbed
* Make a “distraction free zone” for your work area and keep it clear
* Find your “Why” and write it out – Keep it in a prominent place
* Compile a “To – Do” list before stopping work everyday
By doing these things, you will be continuing to keep your focus. You will train yourself how to not be distracted. Your friends and family will have more respect for your time and workspace. Dreams becoming realities will start being a normal everyday occurrence.
Now… about folding that laundry…