All of you know how to focus your camera, but more of you need to focus on your business and do a better job of setting priorities. It's not an easy task, there is no AF button to hit. It's hard to stay focused on building a stronger business when you want so desperately to be working directly with clients and bringing in revenue.
Here are some tips to help you hold focus:
- You don't have to react to every distraction. There are people who will come into your life, often dozens of times each day, without "knocking." They just appear in an email or phone call and want instant gratification. Trying to please everybody is a definite path to frustration and eventually failure.
- Make a list. Personally, I'm back to hand-written lists. The app on my iPhone or my computer isn't enough. Writing it out longhand forces me to retain it longer in my memory. A written list helps me stay focused, and I cross off each item as I finish it, giving me these great little bursts of accomplishment.
- Establish priorities! This is the hardest of all. It's impossible sometimes to isolate the most critical aspects of your business on a daily basis, but if you knock off one significant thing every day, it makes a difference.
- Long term vs. short term: Everything in your business has value. Some items are just a flash in the pan and "low-hanging fruit"; others require the skills of a slow-cooker. Balance your day with projects that are both.
- Make decisions! The old rule I was given years ago with my first management job was, "Handle every piece of paper only once!" We're not shuffling paper anymore, but we are shuffling ideas, communications, and projects. You can't walk down the middle of the road without getting "squished like a grape." (Check out this one minute classic from the original Karate Kid, and it's still a great movie to watch!)
- Take time to step back. That could mean moving ten feet away from your computer screen, taking a walk around the block or taking a day off. You have to recognize when you're about to crash and burn and take steps to avoid losing perspective.
- Don't be afraid to start over! As my good buddy, Scott Bourne recently shared in a post - "If things aren’t going well – stop. Take a deep breath. Reset everything. Start from scratch. Don’t dig a bad hole any deeper. Get out of it and start over."
Nobody has all the answers. For me, the most significant challenge of the day, every day, is staying focused. I hate it when things get backed up, and at the end of the day, I feel like I've got nothing but a collection of unfinished projects. The most important thing is to remember, you're only one person. You can't do it all - just your best. And, for anyone who decides that's not good enough it's time to move them out of your thought process.
It's March 5, and for most of you, that means spring seasonality is just around the corner. Don't pass up the potential for new business just because you couldn't stay focused today.