Growing a business is a roller coaster. Good days, bad days, good months, bad months. As you grow, the balance can tilt to the bad side if you are not careful to protect your strategy, your direction and your “why.” Nothing kills the desire to get out of bed on a workday than if you have lost track of why you are doing all this in the first place.
Keeping focused is a skill that needs to be worked on to improve. It’s similar to meditating – you get better at it as you do it. Here are a few focus killers that you want to be aware of:
Looking over your shoulder at your competition – You are where you are in your business. Hopefully, you have mapped out a strategy for the next 3-6 months that will provide a guide for you. (If not, please email me asap and let’s set up a time to chat!) There will always be competitors, and there will always be other formats, techniques, tricks that others are doing that you are not. Should I be starting to podcast? Why aren’t I doing a weekly Facebook Live? Should I start a YouTube channel? What are they doing that I should be/could be doing? The list can be endless.
As my fabulous son, Sam says. “You be you, mom.” So often this is a lack of confidence in the road that you have chosen for your business. Or you have not clarified what makes your business stand out from the others.
If you are haunted by your competition, I highly recommend the book Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing – Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth by Kim and Mauborgne. The authors walk you thru the process of defining who you are and how you are different from all the others in your field. It’s a great read – not a distraction, I promise!
It’s not a bad idea to be aware of new ideas, formats, and channels. But save this for “info gathering or self-education” blocks on your calendar. And it’s just that. Not a signal to question what you are doing. Stay strong in your current strategic direction, but set aside possible tests for the NEXT planning cycle.
What are the latest trends? What’s newest that I could be incorporating into my biz model? This is a productivity killer, and I won’t spend too much time on this. Being on the bleeding edge is rarely good for revenue generation. It’s good for PR buzz, media attention, and distraction. Don’t be diverted by what is the newest and greatest. Even the newest iPhone has bugs and needs time to be tested out. Stay open, but not consumed by the latest trends.
Too much input – I find this is a BIG one for the entrepreneurs I work with. We are all inundated with too many emails, podcasts, YouTube videos, and ADVICE. My advice: Cut down the clutter to preserve your clarity. Be ruthless! Pick an hour to go thru your inbox and unsubscribe from any email newsletter that does not provide REAL value to you. Same with YouTube channels and Social Media connections. Pick a guru or two to follow, ignore the rest. Make a short list of e-newsletters, blogs, podcasts or YouTube channels that are really worth following. Unsub from the rest. Cut deep. You will be so happy not to have all those voices coming at you. (Coming soon, my list of favorite podcasts and books.)
As you get more traction in your focus, you will start to notice when you are getting distracted and it will get easier to pull yourself back on track.
I have blocks in my calendar to check email and social media 2x a day. But I notice that I slip back into checking more frequently if I’m doing something that is hard, or I don’t want to do, or I’m just plain bored with what’s on my desk. I find if I take a small break, even a short walk around the block, I can get back on track pretty quickly without the distraction of more thoughts coming into my brain.
Bottom Line: Cut back on all sources of distraction that you can control to maintain your focus on your business and the goals you have established. It’s not always easy, but with practice, we all get better.