Feel like you’re juggling too many projects and struggling to get anything finished? There aren’t enough hours in the day? There’s just too much happening and it’s flat out exhausting?
Perhaps it’s time to step back, assess your priorities and get focused?
Go-getting entrepreneurs often have a new idea every minute, each one more exciting than the last; each one seemingly something that needs to be implemented immediately. Unfortunately, all too frequently those ideas can be all over the place.
It’s easy to get distracted and divert your vital time and energy into the latest and greatest inspiration that lures you away from your main purpose.
It’s essential, therefore, to take stock of your entrepreneurial activities and target those endeavors that are going to pay dividends. And discipline yourself to stay on track. Don’t butterfly around.
There are some brilliant people who have flitted from concept to concept having got bored with their original idea and fallen in love with a new one. Result: they never had the kind of success they could have enjoyed if they’d only stuck with and relentlessly pursued the original plan.
My success has come through focusing on the world of internet marketing. With each new business, and especially my new company, Gravity4, I have launched “new and improved” products and services. Each company has become bigger and better than the one before because I play to my strengths and stay focused. I don’t want to be the next General Motors. I don’t even want to be the next Amazon. I do want to be the very best in my industry.
How do you stay focused?
First of all, you need to prioritize. Separate what’s truly important from what seems to be urgent. Don’t get sidetracked into working on something because you’re under pressure from someone—the “squeaky wheel” if you like. Keep true to what really matters.
Second, don’t get caught in the technology trap. Yes, I’m absolutely saying this. I’m a firm believer in using all of the incredible communications tools that are available to us today. But you need to prioritize what’s relevant to you and even more importantly what’s going to help your business grow. Texts aren’t always urgent and don’t always require an instant response. Don’t spend your day responding when you could be initiating—and initiating something that could send your business into the stratosphere. Become a master of time, not a waster of time. When you have a critical project turn off your technology and focus on the task at hand without being distracted by pings and bogus alerts.
Third, burn your bridges. Here’s what I mean by that: If you keep all of your options open you haven’t made a commitment to anything. If you’re keeping your options open you’re not wholeheartedly focused on the business or the project that can help you fulfill your highest goals. Make a commitment. Get passionate. Get dedicated. Stick to doing what you do best. Don’t be tempted by false opportunities.
Fourth, don’t settle for second best. Don’t aim high, aim higher. Seek to climb your personal Mount Everest. Why settle for ascending the highest mountain in North America when there’s a bigger mountain the other side of the world? If you don’t establish that loftier goal you will always have that nagging voice in the back of your head whispering that you could have done better. That is the voice that reveals the true purpose for your existence. Don’t let your focus switch from the big goal.
Fifth, learn to say no. You can often get drawn into the position of never wanting to turn away a client. You need the business. You need the cash flow. Or perhaps you’re too accommodating and you say yes to requests from colleagues because you want to help them out. All you’re doing is saying yes to work that may cause frustration and aggravation. You can get trapped into taking on too many projects and burn out. You might be good at doing a hundred things when you could be sensational at doing a few. Learn to pick and choose.
As Steve Jobs said, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Sixth, spend your time wisely. We live in a world of limitless possibilities but limited time. The most successful and the least successful people on this planet have one key thing in common: 24 hours a day. Focus on maximizing not frittering away your time.
Seven, de-clutter your mind. Refuse to let the demon of distraction overpower your day. Pay attention to what’s important. Concentrate. Focus. If you can’t focus you’re not thinking. If you’re not thinking clearly, you’re not making good decisions. There are bound to be items on your calendar that you don’t have to work on today but can do tomorrow or next week.
Eight, get rid of the bloodsuckers. Sometimes you’ll end up with clients, colleagues or partners who don’t bring anything positive to the table. In fact, they can turn out to be a financial and emotional drain. For the sake of your personal sanity and business survival you need to know when to cut them loose. It may sound harsh, but it’s for the good of all of the good people around you.
Nine, don’t look back. Focus on looking through the windshield and not the rear view mirror. Your focus is on the future. What you can do to achieve greater success and help more people than ever before. Don’t dwell on past problems and issues. That’s the past.
And, finally, number ten: Focus on what is going to make you happy. What is your purpose in life? What do you want to do that will make you look back on your life with an authentic sense that you have made a valuable, worthwhile contribution? What do you want to do to display the fact that you’re a giver and not a taker? What do you want to do that will make your family and friends proud?