This blog post on focus has been going around in my head for months.
I wanted to share this with our audience in the hope that you too can achieve more focus in your business and your life.
These strategies may appear simple and that you probably know about them already.
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the most efficient, if and only IF they are implemented.
For those of you who know me, know that I’m pretty dedicated. However, focusing on the right things can always be a struggle for business owners when we’re juggling many hats.
Perhaps you can relate, isn’t there always so many things to do?!?!
Here are some of my top suggestions and how I have implemented them in my life to help me to focus, be more grateful and achieve more results.
Feel free to try one or all of them on and see if they work for you.
Focus On The One Thing
If you haven’t already read Gary Kellar’s book, The One Thing, I highly recommend it. This book has changed my life. In particular, for two simple concepts that I’ve known and heard before, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t ready to implement. Not the case anymore!
The first one is stop doing so many things. In our business, we offered a range of products and services to help small businesses automate their businesses, from online courses to custom implementation. In fact, we had over 16+ offerings! I constantly felt exhausted and that we have been fully stretched trying to deliver all of them to the highest quality.
What I got from this book and after looking around at successful businesses, including some of our best clients, they only focus on a few core products or services. They do this, and they do it incredibly well. So why don’t we focus on one or even a small few of core products? Wow! What a shift?!? Well at least for us, shrink down this list from 16 offers to a manageable few. It’s taken many months, but we are now there. Can I tell you, as a business owner, I am less stressed and we have dramatically increased our internal processes/systems, we’re offering higher levels of service delivery and adding more value to our clients?
Now I will acknowledge it is more one thing. But as with any book/resource, it’s the lessons that are relevant to you at that moment. This was ours. Stop trying to be everything to everyone and focus on a few core offerings and do them well. This was just one application from the many lessons of this book that created more focus for us.
The second major insight I wanted to share from The One Thing were time blocks. Again not a new principle, but a great one to implement. Now in the book they recommend dedicating 4 hours of blocking out time every day to working on your one thing. Don’t know about you, but I read that and said, “Hmmm… you’ve got to be.…kidding!!!!”. I’m a big believer of working my way up into something.
You may have experienced this or know others who have tackled something too full on, you lose interest or get overwhelmed by the task at the head. For example, think about a new year’s resolution to lose weight. We hit the gym four times a week the first week and then somehow two months later we’re not going at all. It takes some days to create a robust habit. I know for me introducing a 4-hour block focusing on my one thing would have caused more stress and possibly would have killed our business at the time. So for me, it was about starting with introducing a 30-minute block every day that I work ON my business and my one thing.
Can I tell you, things that I’ve had on my to-do list for months and in some cases a year are now getting done! I’ve achieved more in the last month since regularly applying these time blocks than I’ve made in the last six months! I’ll be honest; I’m still struggling to do this every day, but I’m committed to working at it to make sure that this habit becomes second nature.
Finally, to structure time blocks so that they work for you, make sure you remove all distractions where possible. Turn off your phone, email, skype, Facebook, etc., so you can be completely focused on your one thing that you’re working on in your time block.
Website Blocking Apps
To expand on how to introduce time blocks in the last point, if you haven’t already seen these apps, this is an excellent idea. If you are easily distracted online, checking Facebook or other websites, you might want to look at this. Did you know there are plugins/apps out there that you can nominate individual sites that you can block? I use one that’s called “Focus” and I can set a period that I can’t access designated websites. This can help!
We all have good and bad days. Back in April 2014, I decided after watching this Ted talk by Shawn Achor, that it was the time I introduced a daily gratitude practice into my life. Every day for over two years now before I go to sleep, I reflect on the day that was and write down at least three things that I’m grateful. Even on a terrible day, where it might seem like there is nothing to be thankful for, I promise you; there is always something. Whether it’s a stranger smiling and acknowledging you in the street or being able to help a client out by answering a question that you know was causing them stress. It’s these moments, small or big that define us. By focusing on what I’m grateful for, I am the most positive and present I have been in my entire life. Not only that, in a world where there is so much to do as a business owner, I am also more present to what I am achieving along the way. That my commitment to focusing on my business and goals, it’s translating to progress. I get to reflect, remind myself and be grateful for the little steps being made every day towards my bigger vision.
As John Assaraf says, “You become what you think about most… “ Having introduced this gratitude practice, if my experience is anything to go by, if you want to try it out, you too will most probably be more positive and focused on the things that matter most in your life.
Ok… now that was pretty deep. Alright, one more!
I was contemplating not sharing this one in here at all. But concerning a blog post about focus, it would be an absolute lie if I didn’t credit this important decision that I made.
Three years ago I stopped drinking alcohol. Many people ask me why and there are a number of reasons for this. The main one being it was no longer serving me. I had been in business for many years, and I wasn’t achieving what I wanted to. I wasn’t a huge drinker, but on the occasion when I did drink, I felt pretty miserable the next day. There wasn’t a particular day or moment that happened that I said, “Right, that’s it!” or anything like that, it was six months of only drinking a couple of times, then turning 30 that did the trick. Yes, I may have had a mini mid-life crisis, as I hadn’t achieved as much as I had wanted to by that time. That’s when I realized drinking wasn’t helping me get closer to what I wanted.
So here I am now, three years later. Although family and friends have slowly come to accept my decision (some not and are still trying lol), I can say by cutting this out in my life has certainly made me more focused. I’m not saying this is for everyone or that I am against anyone drinking. All I am saying for me, this is something I needed to do and for the moment, I’m sticking with this as it’s serving me. I am achieving more; I’m more present and happier than ever before.
I hope that you can take something away from this blog post.
There are no doubt 50 million ways to achieve more focus in your life.
These are some of the practices that I have in place every day. They have made a big difference in my life, and perhaps they’ll make a big difference in yours too?
Let me know; I’d love to hear!