Distractions can be the death of your entrepreneurial endeavors. The digital age has opened countless opportunities to grow and expand your business, but it has also opened a huge number of possible distractions. Looking beyond the screens in your life, there are also numerous aspects of your life that can negatively affect your focus on your business, and some of them may surprise you.
Let’s start with the obvious digital elephant in the room: social media. This seems pretty straightforward, but many of us lose track of the amount of time we spend engaging in digital consumptionism on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. The fact that social media has become an invaluable PR and marketing tool seriously complicates the entrepreneurial equation – but there is an answer in time management. If your business tasks involve using social media, try setting a time limit (and alarm) for yourself to complete the task. If your business tasks don’t involve social media, block yourself from using it during your work-time; this may require some mental toughness, but so does running your own business. Simply being conscious of the fact that you’re wasting time on social media can do wonders in helping your focus. All of this applies to uselessly refreshing your email, as well. Set a limited amount of times to deal with email each day, and stick to them!
A more abstract distraction lies in the self-limiting beliefs of others. The fear of failure keeps a lot of people from accomplishing what they desire, this is especially true in regards to entrepreneurship. It’s likely that you will encounter people who waste no time telling you how what you’re doing could fail and fall apart. You must always remember that this is generally coming from their own past failures, and they are completely separate from your life and business. Be conscious of people who have these attitudes and limit their influence and presence in your life.
Social media and, more broadly, the Internet itself can expose you to the business ventures of your peers and competitors. While it is healthy and productive to understand the state of the industry and/or markets that are relevant to your business, being envious of the entrepreneurial successes of others is a counterproductive distraction. Seeing someone announce a major “win” may leave you jealously over-analyzing their business model, perhaps searching for the “missing link” that is their key to success. Doing this can be a waste of time. Instead, view the “wins” of others as proof positive that what you wish to achieve is possible. Remember that it is important to concern yourself with what YOU are doing, first and foremost. Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time.
The largest distraction that lies within you is disorganization. This can be disorganization both in terms of your business and yourself. Let’s talk business disorganization first. Are your financial records up to date? Is your bookkeeping sorted out? Have you considered your financial forecast and planning? Keeping on top of these things can make your business operate smoothly and keep you out of sticky situations. Maintaining certainty of when, where, and how the workings of your business are happening can help you avoid distracting confusion and maintain your professional appearance to your customers.
Finally, let’s look at what we’ll call personal disorganization. Your mental state is intimately linked with the performance of your business. Sure, you’re an exceptional individual, capable of anything – but that doesn’t exempt you from practicing self-care.
Things as simple as eating well, exercising, and staying hydrated can do wonders to improve your concentration and productivity. You must also set boundaries for yourself, especially if you work from home. Separating your work space from your living and relaxing space is key. Designate a specific space within your home as your workspace. If you don’t have space in your home, find a café or library to do your work. Only do work in your workspace, and give yourself time constraints in which you are going to be working. If you worked in an office, you wouldn’t be running home to do laundry and get a snack. Don’t allow yourself to multi-task from your home office again, multitasking is a very easy way to lose focus.
Rather than just shooting from the hip on the tasks you want to get done, or only doing the easy ones, make a list and execute.
Having a list of things to get done on a daily and weekly basis and then using this as your guiding plan will keep you from simply handling an inbox or getting distracted in a way that you don’t get anything done.
Keep at it and build your dream!
Any other successful ways you have been able to keep focused in business or life in general? Feel free to comment below.