DREAM BIG, focus small

Thursday Feb. 28th, 2013

As an entrepreneur, I’ve found one of the toughest things to do is focus. If you are anything like me, you constantly brainstorm new business ideas and get distracted by everyday occurrences. To help increase my effectiveness each day, I’ve sought advice from others and work to implement the recommendations as much as possible.

Here are a few tips that I hope will help you become more focused as well.

1. One Thing at a Time
Instead of trying to do everything at once, zero-in on just one project at a time and dive into it 100%. If you try to multitask and do everything at once, you’ll be running in all directions, spreading yourself too thin, and you might not finish any of it. As an old high school trigonometry teacher once said, “A step at a time equals a piece of cake.

2. Plan Your Day
Before sitting down at the computer you should grab a piece of paper and plan your day. Create a list of everything you want to accomplish. Each item on the list is a project that should be completed. After completing each project, make that satisfying check mark on your list and move on to the next task. Instead of reading your email right away, focus on accomplishing one of the harder tasks on your list. Since your brain gets tired as the day wears on, it is important to use your strongest brain power where it is most needed. Though this can vary, email and administrative tasks generally require less focus and should therefore be done later in the day. As a similar device to lists, I highly recommend mind-maps to help plan your day and various projects.

3.  Set Goals and Remind Yourself Why You Want to Accomplish Them
Goals are an essential motivational force to stay focused and successful.  Write down your goals and why you want to accomplish them, and to really make each goal more powerful, associate an image of you completing the goal and exactly what that includes.
Perhaps your goal of starting a business is to be able to spend more time with your family in the long run. Write this down, take a photo of your family, and put it where you will see it everyday. It will be a constant reminder of why you are working so hard to build a successful business.

4.  Work Straight and Narrow: Just Say No
While your mind may be racing with a million business ideas or your friends may share new opportunities with you, sometimes you just have to say ‘no’ in order to get more done and be more efficient in the long run. You can’t be all things to all people. Many entrepreneurs tend to be a Jack of all trades and try to take on everything that comes at them. But the problem is that there is only so much time in a day. Instead of trying to run ten mediocre businesses, first try running one very successful business.

5. Eliminate Distractions
As we all know, the advancement of technology can be both good and bad. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and email—all accessible on our smart phones—have greatly extended our reach, but they can also make us less productive. Schedule a few minutes each day to manage your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Do not constantly check your email throughout the day. Batch all of them together and respond 2 or 3 times each day. For example, while I do enjoy the amenities of an iPhone, I turn off all notifications except calls or text. My days are much more productive when I’m not constantly checking email and other notifications.

6. RGA VS MWA: Revenue Generating Activities Versus Minimum Wage Activities
Keep your eye on the big picture. Sales and marketing tend to be some of the most productive projects in terms of creating actual sales. Sitting in front of a computer responding to emails and filing or organizing your desk are not going to help build your business. Look into the possibility of hiring out certain administrative tasks—many entrepreneurs increase their RGA by using a college intern or a virtual assistant to help with the more menial MWA.

7. Automate
Repetitive tasks can usually be automated. Every month I get phone bills, utility bills, and invoices that need to be taken care of. Instead of manually sending a check to pay each one, I’ve set up each account with automated bill paying online. It makes my life much easier and I don’t have to worry about forgetting to pay my bills. You can also apply automation to other routine tasks like email marketing.

8.  Get Organized
Keeping things clean and organized can be tough, but it will help you become much more productive and focused. Know where all your tools and supplies are. When I’m not working on business, I absolutely love to spend time out in the workshop. If the shop is messy though, my projects take three times as long to complete. I’m constantly searching to find the right tool and can’t remember where I left it. Build shelving and buy furniture that will help you stay more

9. Study the Characteristics of Focused and
Successful People
Characteristics to look for in focused business people:
•      Patient
•      Consistent
•      Dependable
•      Disciplined
•      Persistent
•      Resilient
•      Makes Decisions Quickly
•      Admits Faults
•      Asks for Help
•      Takes Action and Steps Toward Achieving Results
10. Take Action and Go for it!
The ability to take action and work toward your goals is part of getting focused. It’s great to read and always be learning, but make sure that you take action on what you’ve learned and really go for it. Sometimes I think we have a little information overload from all the resources available and focus more time than necessary researching and talking about things. Instead of just talking about your ideas forever, take a step forward and start to GET STUFF DONE.

I hope these tips will help in making you more focused each and every day. I know they’ve helped me and relieved me of some of my Entrepreneurial ADD.

Pete Sveen owns an E-commerce store named SignsoftheMountains.com and promotes entrepreneurship through his blog found at ThinkEntrepreneurship.com