I hear over and over again from my clients how difficult it is to FOCUS. I feel it, too. IMHO when you are self-employed there is nothing more valuable than your ability to focus, and nothing as easily squandered.
Since I have the pleasure of working with people to help them overcome this very problem, I have some suggestions to help you.
3 Strategies for Increasing Your Focus
- Time blocking – This can work in two ways. You can block out time to take a deep dive into a creative project that requires more attention than 30 minutes here or there. Or it can be the opposite. It can mean scheduling in a block of completely free time. Personally, I thrive knowing I have free time in my schedule so it makes it easier for me to buckle down and focus when I need to. I have many clients who like to take 1-, 2-, or 3-hour blocks where they don’t do anything but work on one task. I suggest starting with a shorter block and adding from there.
- Write out how you would like your day to go – Business a mess? Find yourself perpetually going sideways? Have all the wrong kinds of clients? This is a great way to add intention and focus to your day. You simply take a few minutes at the beginning of your day (I like to do this in a Google doc) to write out how you’d like your day to go — as if it’s already happened. It’s a mini-visioning exercise that works wonders for honing your energy and your focus on what you want and not what you don’t.
- Accountability – This could be as simple as writing down a list of 1-3 things you want to get done at the beginning of the day and then checking in at the end of the day and checking them off. It could mean having a partner you email or do call-in with. Or it could mean going #allin and being part of an AW group. Regardless, the keeping track of your commitments and goals either by yourself or with another person will help you stay focused.
Bonus: When in doubt, block it all out.
I tend not to be very good at blocking out all calls, texts, and social media because I have two young kids, a team, an online business, and full client load. Just based on my kids alone, the thought of turning off my phone gives me anxiety. But you know when you’ve crossed the line between being connected and being obsessed. I find that a regular digital detox is a great way to reset the system and make sure you are focusing on the right things. I’ve got a vacation coming up which makes for a great time to disconnect, especially with plenty of time to prepare and set expectations ahead of time.
Being in the zone around our work feels so good, so it’s not surprising that so many of us crave focus. If you are feeling particularly overwhelmed or distracted, try one or all of the strategies above and let me know which, if any, worked best for you. Also, if you have any tips for our Accountability Works community, I’d love to hear what’s worked for you!!