It’s a struggle for most people to stay focused during work.
Actually, there seem to be a few super humans out there with the ability to stay really focused on what they’re doing. I’ve been trying to hone my skills at being focused on the single thing I’m doing when I’m doing it.
I used to have the mindset that multitasking as the best thing to do for productivity. But more on this later.
Here are some entrepreneurs hacks for staying focused and productive. It’s more important for entrepreneurs because there are a ton of tasks you have and that can get overwhelming.
I’ve found that the following hacks can help to make it seem like you have way more time than you used to. I think they can help you too.
1. Kill Multi-Tasking, Embrace Single-Tasking
This is the biggest one that has worked for me. As I mentioned earlier, I used to try to be the multi-tasking king. I thought it was a badge of honor to do everything at once.
Then I realized that I wasn’t getting things done and the work I was doing was not good.
Now I try to have a laser-like focus while working on something. If I’m writing a post, i’m only writing a post. If I’m working on emails, I’m only working on emails.
And it extends to other areas of my life. If I’m driving, I’m driving. If I’m talking to my wife, I’m talking to my wife. The same with dinner and all other things.
It can be an adjustment for you and for those around you, but once you’re used to it (and they’re used to it) you’ll notice the results. The quality of your time improves.
2. Start With A Big Picture View
When you’re working in your business it’s usually all you can do to get to the next day. There are so many little tasks and they can consume your day. You’ll be busy just getting through each day.
That process can kill your business.
Take a step back and look at your company from the big picture view. Start at the “end” of your business. Think about where you want to go. It might be $1 billion in revenue or maybe it’s $200,000/year in income for you.
Start there and work you way back on what you have to do to get there. You’ll find that once you have the vision in place it’s easier to fill in the big and small things you need to do to get there.
You’ll work all the way back to your day-to-day work and that’s when we get to the next step.
3. Prioritize Daily Tasks
When you work all the way back to your daily tasks you’ll probably realize that you’re doing some things that just aren’t necessary.
One of the biggest challenges as an entrepreneur is that you can only do so many things. You can only do so many online marketing initiatives. I’d like to think that it would be a business blog, but that’s not the case for every business. For you, it might be investing in email marketing and online advertising.
For GBW, it’s blogging, but we really only focus on blogging. It’s the top priority for us.
With this step you’ll learn that some things are really important and other things aren’t.
Parts of this will be hard. I realized that I didn’t have time to talk on the phone with clients. Some clients liked this and I liked talking with them, but email was the most efficient and most important for most clients. So I had to cut out calls and stick only with email whenever possible.
That freed up lots of time and improved the business too.
4. Work In Short Bursts
This one is kind of unique, but it works for me.
It started when I was blogging. I would put in a good 20 minute session of researching or writing. Then I’d kind of take a breather. I would literally exhale and go read a news article or watch a YouTube video or something. I like checking in on the PGA Tour highlights and videos on YouTube.
That kills about 5 minutes. Then it’s back for another 20 minute burst with more on the blog post or maybe answering an email that popped in the inbox.
This seems to keep me refreshed. Otherwise I would be working nonstop and would get worn out faster.
5. Only Work During Work Hours
This one was the toughest to do, but it’s had incredible return. I basically am punched in from about 6 AM to 4 PM. The biggest change was that I don’t check my work or personal email before 6 AM or after 4 PM anymore. It’s been incredible. It was really tough, but it has been great.
I used to check email right before bed.
All that resulted in was me seeing work emails and then thinking about it. Then I wouldn’t sleep.
Don’t check your email at night. The work can wait until the morning when you’re ready to be “on” again.
Sleep is very important to do this and energize yourself in the off hours. You’ll do much better work when you’re refreshed and ready to go. You might have to train your clients with this, but they’ll live. They’ve just become used to you being available 24/7. Let them know about the change. They understand.
These can be difficult to make happen. It’s like with any routine or habit, you need to push through the challenge of change, but after even a few days you’ll get used to it. And when you notice the results (more things getting done and a happier you) you’ll find it’s easy and you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the change sooner!