One of my more tiresome characteristics is that I occasionally have a hard time with distraction. It’s not a huge problem for me (that issue would be my complete lack of patience) but it still creeps into my days more often that I’d like it to. I often have to say to myself out loud: Stay Focused, damn it.
The thing is, it’s not things like I want to go watch TV or something. It’s more like: I got a really cool email at 11am that got me totally pumped and now I can’t concentrate on the blog posts that I need to write. Or something didn’t work out exactly as I’d hoped and I get bummed out and just want to close my computer. Or sometimes I’ll be working on something and I’ll get an idea for something else and rather than just jot it down and go back to my work, I start thinking about it in depth and getting all flustered about everything I’ll need to do to make that happen.
Distraction is one of the most annoying business-busters we as entrepreneurs can experience.
Would you agree?
If you’re someone who doesn’t battle with distraction much at all, I’m so envious and please email me with your tips! But if you’re like me and you could use all the help you can get, here are three things that I do to remedy the situation.
One is use workbooks. I freaking love workbooks. They help me in a lot of ways in business but when specifically talking about combating distraction, they allow me to write out my plan for something in a very step-by-step manner and then keep it with me as I’m working on the tasks. I can see what I need to be doing and when, as well as what will be achieved if I stay focused and remove distraction. It’s so much easier to get back to my groove and flow after being distracted when I have my plan workbook right next to my computer.
The next thing I find helpful when distracted is a scribble session. Do you ever do this? I don’t give a crap what any digital lover says, good ole fashion notebooks are one of my favorite things. I always have one on my desk and when I cannot seem to stay focused because a million other things are running through my head, I open up my notebook and just scribble down everything I’m thinking about. Personal, business, ideas, questions, notes, whatever. When I do that, I find that I’m able to get back on track with what needs to be done.
And the last thing that helps me with distraction is accountability.
At one point I realized that if I was really going to grow my business I needed help with making sure I stay focused. And there’s no shame in that.
A lot of us need help with this sometimes.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t love what we do. It doesn’t mean that we don’t work really really hard.
What it does mean is that there is so very much to do, and so many goals to reach, that sometimes we become distracted by what’s next rather than focusing on the now.
It means that having someone in our corner to listen, give feedback, cheer us on, or console us, is a key need in our businesses.
That’s why I’m a huge fan of accountability partners and accountability groups. I think when we know that someone is going to be asking us about our progress, we tend to up our game and stay focused. This really has been of the most effective ways that I’ve handled distraction.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do believe in giving ourselves a break; shit happens and plans are sometimes wiped out and sometimes we just need to embrace those “all over the place” days and let our minds go in different directions. Those are the days when you dream and imagine and explore and those days are so very valuable too.
But right now I’m talking about the “no excuses” kind of days. The days when you have a lot to tackle, when you know better; when you’re allowing yourself to be distracted and not owning up to it.
These are the days when nothing really gets done but it could have, if only we’d stuck your butts in our chairs and stayed focused.
But that’s not always easy. Sometimes something happens in the early part of the day that totally throws us off our game and we have the most difficult time re-focusing. This is problematic because, as entrepreneurs, this happens a lot. When we’re the ones doing the majority of things in our business, we’re pulled in different directions often. And we need to get good at not letting those things completely turn our days upside down.
So the next time you’re feeling distracted, I hope one or all of these will help you stay focused.
All my love and encouragement,
P.S. I’m not sure if you’ve heard yet but the Independent Designer’s Community membership opens on Wednesday February 10th to our VIP list. Workbooks and accountability partners are two things we offer our members. Get on the list VIP waitlist here and we’ll let you know the second it opens.