Are you hardwired to be focused or off task?
My gut tells me it’s both. Our tendencies lean more towards one side or another, but our habits are what push us over into organized and focused, or unfocused and off task.
When you are accountable to someone – a boss, project deadline, school, etc. we tend to get stuff done. We all need a little accountability.
When we are functioning on our own, such as when we are our own boss, we might not be as efficient as we once thought. On our own, we tend to mess it up a little and not stay accountable to ourselves. Entrepreneurship can be tricky this way.
Having a team and clients do not always cut it. Sometimes those are the things we get squirrelly on because nobody is looking over our shoulder and telling us when and where to be and we think oh I’ll work on it tomorrow. Now, I don’t necessarily like to have someone telling me what to do and looking over my shoulder, and you probably don’t either. It’s likely a huge reason you became your own boss. I am also not suggesting you need this. It’s just what a lot of us are used to having and when we go on our own we just have to adjust.
So as an entrepreneur to get my stuff done, I have to put a few things in place to keep me on task. I am a driver and a self-starter more naturally. I like to get things done. But that doesn’t always mean I’m efficient as can be. I still tend to push things off I don’t necessarily feel like doing or don’t like to do. You know that whole “eat the frog.”
There are so many ways to keep you on track. Different strategies and tactics are out there. We have to find the things that work with our life, personalities, schedules and priorities, and our work. How do you stay focused, get things done, and not get sidetracked? These are the things I do, to find ways to hold myself accountable and make space to get things done. These things will guide you in finding YOUR special formula.
Make space to do the things you need to do. Don’t intertwine it with the other things in your life – family, self-care, etc. Make the time for the work that you need to do.
Set aside hours in the day that you know will not interfere with your family and personal time, the time you know you are at your best mentally. Set that time and make it non-negotiable and put it on your calendar. Turn off your ringer, turn on so music (if that works for you) and work off a list. (we’ll talk about brain dump and scheduling below). The key is to set yourself up for success and give yourself space for it to happen.
What I found with making space is that I don’t feel so scatterbrained and overwhelmed. There are a time and a place for all the things in my life. Emergencies come up, but if I can stay on track during the times I need to get it all done, I have fewer fires to put out.
I feel lighter, less bogged down and that means my mind is more clear. I was getting to the point where I was not giving my attention to the things in front of me because I had too much going on in my mind. It was mind clutter. I felt sad when my daughter told me I was probably sidetracked when she told me something I didn’t remember her telling me. That is when I knew I HAD to make space.
Once I realized I needed to make space I told myself to go easy on me. Because I tend to be hard on myself.
Don’t over schedule yourself. Don’t give up just because things went off the rails. Start small and work your way into your ideal schedule. I tell myself these things in everything I do. This is a lesson I try to pass along to my kids as well. Don’t try to do it all at once.
I tend to be very impatient with myself along with expecting a lot. I often try to put too much on my plate and go from floundering to perfect in a day, but I am learning to set realistic goals and build up. It’s a work in progress.
For example, I wanted to get really good at creating weekly content, posting regularly on social media, sending an email out weekly and doing a FB Live weekly. I tried to implement that all at once. I failed, hard, and then I was SO down on myself. Not only did I overcommit myself but I set myself up to fail. I asked too much of me. I needed to get the hang of one of those things before adding another.
So if you are looking to go from randomly posting on social media to posting 3x a week, on three platforms, maybe start with one platform 3x a week. Then add in another platform once you have the first one down. Break it down into bite-sized steps, then add in another. Trust me, trying to do it all may seem like it’s necessary but in the long run, easing in will be much more productive.
One of my favorite things. I usually start all my projects and my weeks with brain dumps.
What needs to get done this week…
what are all the steps in this project…
what are all the things I want to do in my business…
or what vacations do I want to go on this summer?
I brain dump it all. Personal, family, goals, business, projects, clients, etc.
It gets all the things in my mind out of my head and on to paper. Then I can see it all and start sorting.
Most of my processes begin with brain dumps. When I am brainstorming a process, an event coming up, a project, packing to go on a trip even. I write out the things I can think of that need to be done, or the steps I need to take, then I organize and sort. This is the process of distilling information! I like to call it turning chaos into flow.
Distilling: “the fact or process of extracting the essential meaning or most important aspects of something.” – Oxford English Dictionary.
SCHEDULE IT OUT
Once you have all the things out of your head and started to organize and sort it all, the next step is to schedule it out.
If you follow Marie Forleo, you know if it’s not scheduled it’s not real. If you follow Amy Porterfield you may have heard if it’s not in Asana it’s not going to happen. I love both of these women, they have taught me so much in business and in my organization process. I have always been a process/systems creator and follower, Marie and Amy have helped to reinforce the importance of that in business. By the way, Asana is a kick-ass project management software that you can start using free. Trello is another one I have used and like. I do recommend a good project management software to help with this.
So my advice here is to start scheduling things. Schedule the time that you know will not interfere with the things that side-track you…family, self-care, personal stuff. Also, the time where your brain focuses the best. Focus is important. I know if I try to do anything hard I have to do it in the morning. It’s my best focusing time. After 2 pm and I know I’m not doing my best work.
Everyone has a different level of productivity. Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to the things you need to get done and whether you are truly making time for the RIGHT things.
Are you REALLY making time?
- Are you making excuses?
- Be real and honest with yourself. Are you doing your best?
- Are you scheduling time?
- Are you scheduling time of day for you?
Are you giving it your full attention? If not, why?
What can you adjust for success?
Have you set the right interval of time that you perform best?
What is the number of things you are trying to achieve right now?
- Are you adding too much at once?
- Are you trying to make too many changes at once?
Are you just being too hard on yourself?
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