May 19th, 2015 by IX Web
Developing your focus as an entrepreneur can be one of the greatest challenges you’ll ever face starting a business—all the talent, creativity, people skills, and funding in the world can’t help you succeed if you lack concentration. Fortunately, the art of staying focused is a skill, or perhaps a muscle—one any motivated individual can strengthen over time. Here are six ways to do exactly that, and start your path to focused, effective entrepreneurship.
1. Start the Day with Challenges
Though this may seem unnatural, those who start their days with the most difficult tasks have proven time and time again to perform better throughout the day. Perhaps it’s a matter of establishing expectations first thing in the morning, or maybe it’s because you’re more energized at the beginning of the day, or clearing a difficult task could generate a jolt of endorphins. Whatever the mechanism, it works. Getting the difficult tasks out of the way first thing motivates you to stay focused on finishing everything you need to get done.
2. Allocate Time Mindfully
Though you don’t need to schedule every minute of every day, when you spend time on a task (or a break), it pays to be attentive to how much time you are dedicating toward that particular thing. Avoid working aimlessly—anticipate how long it will take you to do certain tasks, then schedule yourself throughout the day so you don’t spend too much time (or get distracted) thanks to your set time limits. When you have a schedule, even a loose ad-hoc one, you’ll find it far easier to ignore distractions and stay on task.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Simply trying to focus for a few minutes each day can make it easier to do so in the future. Studies suggest concentration is somewhat like physical stamina: With regular effort, you can train up to Herculean feats. Try this easy concentration exercise: Set a timer for 10 minutes and slowly count to 100, forward and backward, until the timer runs out. Something as simple as focused counting can help you stay alert and more concentrated throughout the day.
4. Rest and Recharge
The smartest entrepreneurs know the importance of a work-life balance. Working hard all day may sound enticing, but an entrepreneur who tries to focus for eight hours straight will have less done at the end of the day than one who took a few breaks. The trick is to find your best method of relaxing. Maybe you need to take a lap around the office after each call, or step away on one noon break to go for a nice lunch. Experiment and find the right way to resets your focus.
5. Organize Everything
Clutter distracts from focus, so keep your workstation tidy. Few things kill concentration and build frustration faster than hunting for some vital document, a sticky note, or a pen to jot down an important piece of information.
6. Consider Why You Lose Focus
One of the biggest things behind building concentration is noticing when you lose focus and then figuring out what happened. Did you put off tasks or open yourself up to surprises in your schedule? Get sucked into reading emails or browsing Facebook? Wander down the hall to speak with a co-worker? Anything that distracts you from your focus can be overcome, put aside, or avoided. Acknowledge those distractions and make a concerted effort to minimize them.