The Power of Distraction!
Could you be looking in completely the wrong direction?
Are you polishing your website to add that extra 10% when instead you should really be trying to find new customers?
Are you putting all your efforts into generating leads and prospects when your products are tired and off-target?
Or, maybe you’re busy building up a fantastic network of strategic partners to deliver new leads to, but failing to bring in business for yourself?
Why do we do this?
Well, there are a number of reasons. Often it’s the little things that have the greatest power to divert our attention, like an unexpected visitor, an intriguing email, and all too frequently the invitation for a tea break.
But we also do it to ourselves. How many times have you spent a Monday morning or Friday afternoon skimming your emails rather than tackling anything big or new? Perhaps it is a form of self-sabotage when we delay in tackling difficult projects, or answering unpleasant questions; preferring instead to let them stew while we graze on easier tasks.
But while it is true that we all need (and benefit from) a breather every now and again, it can lead to a false sense of security. We are enticed by the lure of a comfortable place away from challenging tasks and decisions. And once there, we fail to innovate and grow, settling instead to tread water and busy ourselves with less important things.
How can we combat it?
Be conscious of the risk of distractions and instead become more self-aware. If you know the common culprits that tend to derail your attention, you can take steps to manage or remove them.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Set goals: What do you want the business (and your life as a business owner) to look like in 6, 12 or 36 months’ time? What do you need to do to get there? With some defined goals you can plan and organise your daily activities to support your vision of the future.
- Prioritise: Ask yourself, what’s the priority? What are the key things I need accomplish (or fix) in my business right now? Consider this alongside your goals and use a list to outline what you need to accomplish each day or week to realise it. But remember to evaluate your competing priorities as you go.
- Say no: Be clear on what you want to achieve and learn to say no to things that don’t align with your vision. The more time you spend engaged in non-mission-critical activities, the longer it will take to reach your goals.
- Plan: When do you work best? Most of us find we are more productive at certain times of the day. So, whether you’re an early bird or night owl, develop a schedule and tackle harder or more demanding tasks at the time of day you are most focused and have the most energy.
- Remove temptation: How many times a day do you check your phone, email or social media? For many of us, the ‘I’ll just take a quick look’ appeal of modern technology can be hard to resist. So, eliminate temptation and simplify your working environment. Set your phone to silent, hide your email, Facebook or Twitter feed and close any programmes you don’t need for the task at hand. Surround yourself only with what you need and maybe even schedule some ‘don’t disturb time’ in your diary.
Distraction is a common problem, but it can be overcome. The key is to concentrate on the bigger picture, remember your mission and keep your goals front of mind. It is unlikely you will enjoy every task that comes with running your own business, but with your attention focused on the job at hand you will at least power through it quickly.