I am inspired by an email I received from one of my Black Woman CEO Intensive clients seeking help. She shared:
“I am having some trouble staying focused. I have completed the homework, but during the process my mind feels like I am all over the place. I start on one thing (looking for stats to support my expertise) then my mind wanders to the dirty dish that is in the sink and my daughter’s toys that need to be picked up. So I start doing the dishes and picking up the toys then I get a call from my mom which lasts longer than I want and I am side tracked. I am not happy with my progress and how I have spent my time. What do you do to stay focused?”
Do you have this same struggle?
Here are my 4 Effective Focus Tips
1) You must act as a “Professional” in your business & treat your business as a professional endeavor.
This means that the same restrictions and non-negotiables you followed in your job, you must extend to your business (i.e. no personal calls or handling of personal tasks during your work time).
2) You have to teach others how to treat you as a professional too.
Your momma probably knew you couldn’t take her calls during the day when you were working your 9-5, right? So, why should we do it now for our family and friends once we become business owners…think about it.
You set the boundaries! Of course you can explain in a respectful and loving manner that during the hours you’re working and unavailable for personal calls. Share that you will gladly return calls during your breaks or in the evenings.
If you work from home, this also extends to people just stopping by. Were you allowed company at your former job? No! Then, it shouldn’t happen within your business.
3) Create & follow a model business calendar
I help my clients with creating schedules that cover their 5 core business tasks. I suggest you outline when you plan to handle certain business items every week, such as Marketing, Sales, and Client Work.
The important part of this task is that you follow the schedule. Show up during your business hours No Matter What!
4) Leverage productivity tools
One method that assists me with staying focused is called the Pomodoro technique:
- Set a timer, say for 25-45 minutes
- Focus on a single task during that time
- Allow yourself a timed break
During your work day, you continue this cycle over and over. I try to do at least 4 to 5 45-minute Pomodoros during my work day.
I have this app on my mac computer: Pomodoro Timer by CannonBall
You can google search as there are tons of them, but here is a website providing online timers: http://www.marinaratimer.com/
Don’t allow overwhelm and procrastination to take over your life. You can focus. It’s a decision you have to make. Take charge!
If you would like more tools and strategies, I encourage you to sign up for my 7-day Mind Your Business Challenge for Black Women Entrepreneurs.
Over 512 women have participated in the challenge. Here’s feedback one participant posted to my Facebook page:
Tell me: What are some tools and methods you use to stay focused and productive?