3 Tips To Help You Improve Your Ability To Focus

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Whether we are reading a book, driving, speaking or creating, focus makes it possible for us to accomplish tasks.  Focus is our ability to concentrate on a thought or task and this ability varies from person to person and from task to task.  When we love something and are deeply interested in it, focus comes easy. The real challenge lies in what happens when we don’t love the task.  This is the mark of a successful entrepreneur.

Whether you are starting our your business or working to grow it to the next level, your ability to focus will be one of the determining factors of whether or not you will achieve your goals.  I can recall many times where I have drowned in my pool of new ideas. One idea comes, then the next and then the next… and before I knew it, I really hadn’t accomplished much. For those of you who are starting out in your business – beware.  This loss of energy is a business killer. You will be pulled in a million directions, will try to market on every channel possible and will try to be everything to everyone. And the truth is, you can’t – at least not effectively well. The one thing entrepreneurs need to remind themselves is that it is not always the best idea that wins the race, its the best idea that is properly implemented that does.   

Our current world praises our ability to multitask, but more and more studies show that multitasking is not as effective as we think.  In fact, neuroscience has shown that our brains are wired for mono tasking, and that the majority of the population are actually very ineffective when it comes to multi-tasking – and here’s why.  We may think we are seamlessly moving from listening to a conversation while scrolling through instagram and thinking about dinner plans, but the reality is, every time we shift our attention to a new task, we stop the previous one and start the new one.  This consistent stop/start process actually takes up more energy and brain power than if we were to just focus on the conversation, then attend to instagram and dinner plans afterwards.

The ability to focus on the daily tasks of your business are an important factor for al entrepreneurs.  The good news is, we can train ourselves to focus better. Here’s 3 things you can start doing today.

First, don’t text and drive.  Really. For the sake of safety, put your phone down and out of your hands.  I get that driving time is valuable time. But you can’t be productive if you crash your car.  If you must get back to people, call them. Or use Siri to dictate your message. But the shear act of holding your device, trying to look at the road and your phone, while also thinking about what it is you need to text, causes a bit of brain overload and puts you (and others) at risk.  

Second, log your thoughts and tasks.  At the beginning of your day, make a list of all the things you need to accomplish.  Everything from the immediate needs like calling back your client, to the fleeting thoughts about how to generate more business.  Once the thought comes, write it down. Here’s why. As entrepreneurs, our minds are constantly “on”. We are thinking about everything we did yesterday, while trying to complete everything we need to do today, while also generating new ideas for things we need to look at tomorrow  Our brain’s storage capacity can only hold so much. In order to be effective, you need to get the thoughts out of your mind and onto a list and free up the brain to perform its executive functioning tasks.

Third – time block.  Once you have a list of all the things you want and need to accomplish, you can start prioritizing your tasks.  Time block for each activity so that you focus on one thing at a time. Once you complete the call to your client, cross it off and move onto the next. Time blocking allows you the capacity to focus on a single task rather than being distracted by a million things.  

An entrepreneurs ability to focus is critical to success.  It ensures that you are not wasting time, that you are doing the tasks that matter most, and that you are giving proper attention to the tasks that will drive your business forward.