Focus – One of the Keys to Success by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Distractions are an inherent part of every day life, but these can be one of the biggest time wasters in your day. Business success requires focus and an ability to stay on plan, even when life is trying its hardest to get in your way. When you allow the distractions to derail you, it causes you to slow down and impedes your progress. Here are some ways to stay focused in spite of all the things life throws at you.

  1. Have a plan. It’s hard to stick to a plan that doesn’t exist. Writing down an overall all plan for your business, as well as having a written plan and schedule for each day will help you to stay focused. As you check off each accomplished item, you’ll see your work having results and be motivated to move forward. Knowing exactly what and how much you have to get done each day will help you to avoid distractions, as well.
  1. Know in advance the distractions you’ll face. Some distractions are unexpected, but many are repeat offenders. When you’re planning your day, include expected distractions in your plan, so that you can be prepared to deal with them in some way. Do your kids come home from school at 3:00? Then, plan for a break at that time. Give them a few minutes to download their day to you, get them started on homework and get back to your duties. When a distraction is something you can plan for, it’s less likely to prevent you from accomplishing your day’s goals.
  1. Learn to say “no”. Those unexpected distractions can really get in the way. Avoid answering unexpected calls, and stay off email and texting during the times you’re trying to get work accomplished. Media and technology’s instant gratification can cause a lot of distractions, so learn to turn them off to increase your productivity.
  1. Delegate when possible. Having someone who can deal with some of the unexpected distractions that do need attention will help you to stick to your plan for the day. When someone interrupts you with a work issue, it’s important to determine if it is an issue you really need to handle personally, or one that can be delegated.
  1. Give yourself permission to be distracted when the work is done. Some of the distractions are fun; so don’t eliminate these altogether. Instead, plan to indulge yourself at specified times. This eliminates your feelings of deprivation and ensures you stay in touch with the people and things that matter to you.

A focused, productive day is critical to building a business. Learn to plan your day in a way that allows you to minimize distractions when you need to be working, and that allows you to enjoy some down time when the day’s work is accomplished.