The other day, I heard a new definition of the word focus that really inspired me and caused me to reflect on my daily work grind. EOFire’s John Lee Dumas defines focus as an acronym:
F.O.C.U.S. = Follow ONE Course Until Success
Isn’t it funny how easily we seem to loose our focus? How easily distractions can swipe away our drive to succeed in one area of our business or of our life and take us down paths we never should have explored? Distraction is the enemy of focus.
Today, I am going to talk about 5 different kinds of distractions and give some advice on how to overcome them. Many of these are things we have struggled with in the past or struggle with currently. Some are easier to overcome than others… but our hope is that we can begin to help you put systems in place to overcome distraction in order for you to Follow One Course Until Success.
5 Types of Distractions and Tips for Overcoming Them
1. The Desire for Change
This type of distraction is one that not everyone faces. Some people are hardwired to resist change, while others are just opposite.
Maybe you are like us, growing tired of the day to day tasks in your business and constantly looking for the next great thing. All the while, accomplishing nothing in your rush to move on.
If this is you, we totally understand.
Sometimes, it’s really difficult to keep doing the same things over and over again in our business. Seriously, the amount of time we spend cutting, ironing and sewing…! Eventually, it really gets to us.
In these moments of weakness, we find ourselves making decisions that pull us away from our business and cause us to step backwards. A little over a year ago, we struggled with a major “change” relate distraction.
In the past, we found it really hard to talk to others about what we do. (I mean… “I make and sell aprons” doesn’t sound all that impressive.) It took us some time to really understand WHY we are in the apron industry and to take pride in that.
In the meantime, we had always been passionate for children’s clothing and design – which sounds a lot more impressive than apron design. So, we tried our hands at it – not just once, but many times.
While we were able to design and create beautiful children’s clothing, we always found that the children’s clothing industry was WAY harder to break into than our apron industry.
So we always went back to the aprons – which was the thing we did the best anyway!
Now that we understand our purpose, we are no longer faced with this distraction. We have found our focus and are committed to driving our apron business forward.
Tips for Overcoming the Desire for Change
1. Ground Yourself in the Purpose of your Business
When things become monotonous, the desire for change surfaces. It is in these moments when it is incredibly important to reflect and remember why you do what you do!
2. Create a Mission and Vision Statement for Your Company
When you are feeling frustrated with your company and are looking for quick fixes or changes, you can go back to these statements to remind yourself why this business is important to you and why this business is important in the world.
3. Evaluate if Your New Idea or Product Fits into Your Current Business Purpose
If you find that your idea does fit, then it may be worth a shot – but NOT at the expense of the parts of your company that are working for you now.
If your idea does not fit into your business purpose, then disregard it. It is not worth defecting your time to something you cannot incorporate into your current business.
2. Content Overload
In today’s world, information and new ideas are literally at our fingertips. It is super easy to obtain information on anything you want at any time.
This helps us learn how to work better, more efficiently, and more creatively. However, when we are constantly consuming content from others (i.e. podcasts, blogs, etc.) we are not allowing ourselves to sit with our own thoughts and let our own creativity flow.
Sometimes, we are so concerned with what everyone else says is important, that we don’t take the time to reflect on what we believe is important for our own businesses.
I am not saying that the content out there is bad. Most of it is actually pretty great! However, the constant stimulation and content from others can be a distraction from your own ability to create solutions, products, content, and more.
I have struggled with this form of distraction a lot lately.
I am obsessed with podcasts, especially entrepreneur podcasts, and can seriously binge listen to them ALL. DAY. LONG.
However, I have found that when I take the time to sit in silence, I am able to reflect on what I have learned and allow my OWN creativity to reveal itself. It is these reflections and ideas that have had a much larger and more positive impact on my business.
Tips for Overcoming Content Overload
1. Write Down All of Your Ideas (aka “brain dump”)
When you have ideas swarming around in your brain, you are unable to truly focus on the task at hand. If you simply write everything down as your day goes on, you will free up more space in your mind to be able to focus on what’s important.
2. Create Quiet Time
This is probably the MOST important thing you can do. Turn off all of the stimulation around you (radio, t.v., phone, etc.) and just sit in silence.
Really reflect on what is important, focus on your business and where you want it to be, and let the ideas flow from your mind. I especially love doing this in the car.
3. Define Your Niche
By narrowing down who you are trying to talk to and what kind of product or service you want to put into the world, you will find that you don’t need to be everywhere all the time.
Instead of using all the space in your mind to create content for your readers to consume on every platform, just pick one or two platforms and focus your energy there.
3. Work-Life Breach
As a mompreneur, I find that my roles of mother and wife are constantly distracting me from my business throughout the day. Even if you do not claim one of these roles for yourself, running a business from your home can really complicate your day.
If you are not careful, your daily chores, meal prep, and everyday distractions (Facebook anyone?) can infringe on your business focus. Let’s not forget about interruptions from your children if you have any at home. Once your focus is lost, it is super hard to get it back and going again.
As a mom of a 2 year old, interruptions are an expectation. However, setting up routines with my daughter has helped to alleviate some of these and has opened up a greater amount of hyper-focused time in my work day.
Tips for Overcoming Work-Life Breach
1. Set Up Guidelines with Family Members
If you struggle with your family members butting in on you during your work day, then consider setting up guidelines for when you are and are not available. This is especially good for older kids.
If you have toddlers at home, then schedule your day to spend time engaged with your child, time working while they play, and time hyper-focused working while they nap. This is the approach I have taken – and it works great!
2. Spend Time Away from Home
Sometimes to help your mind disengage from your home and family, and to completely focus on your business, you need to get out of your house.
Spend a couple hours each week at a local coffee house or the library and let your mind work over your current business model. Reflect on what is and is not working. You never know what you will come up with when you actually set your mind to it!
3. Think About Childcare
If you have small children, I urge you to consider some kind of childcare – even if it is only one day a week!
My husband and I are not in a position to put our daughter in part time childcare, so we reached out to our parents to ask for help. We came up with an arrangement to have a family member (my father-in-law) watch our daughter one day each week.
This has helped to create some focused, child-free work time for me AND allows her to spend quality time with her grandpa! It’s a win-win!
If you are like us and have limited resources, then I encourage you to think creatively about how you can obtain childcare from family, friends, or even your spouse while you work away from home on a weeknight.
4. Personal Drama
Unexpected and traumatic events will take place in our lives and in the lives of those we love. When this happens, it is really difficult to find focus in your business, especially when someone is hurting and you are always accessible to them.
We have had our fair share of family drama over the past couple years, and have lost a TON of time focusing on the drama instead of our business. The bigger issue, however, was the negativity that settled into our mood and our work environment.
When you allow drama to infiltrate your work space, you allow negativity to seep in. Negativity is the hardest kind of distraction to overcome. Once you head down that path, coming back to focus and motivation is often impossible – ruining your drive and efficiency for the day.
In our experience, we found that having rules for what we do and do not allow in our work space helped dramatically.
It gave us the ability to say no to problem solving a dramatic event rather than problem solving our business while we were working. We can still help and lend an ear, but not on work hours!
Setting up these guidelines for dealing with drama has helped us a ton, and can definitely help you too!
Tips for Overcoming Personal Drama
1. Make Work a Drama-Free Zone
Set expectations for you, your partners/employees, and your family members as to what can and cannot come into your work space.
Let your family know that you are there for them and that you will listen and help them, but will do so when you are not working. Explain that you need to focus your attention on your work at that time, but will set aside time specifically for them later in the evening.
2. Meditate Before you Work
If you are experiencing drama or trauma in your own life, then practice the art of meditation before you work. Center yourself and focus your mind on the work ahead of you.
If it helps, read a chapter of an inspirational business book or listen to an inspirational business podcast episode to help put your mind in the right frame. Once you feel your mind is in the right place, get to work!
3. Don’t Take Personal Calls At Work
When you are working, set the expectation that you are not available for personal calls. This will help deflect any calls during the day that would interrupt your regular ebb and flow as well as conversations that would be lengthy or upsetting.
This last type of distraction is one that everybody experiences. If you haven’t experienced it yet… you will and probably soon.
Overwhelm happens when we have a crazy amount of things on our plate and we feel like we don’t even know where to start. It can bubble up in the middle of a busy season in your business (i.e. holiday time) or can arise during a slow season when you are not even expecting it.
For me, I recently experienced overwhelm when our busy Christmas season came to an end. We finally had a chance to slow down and get to the lengthy list of to-do’s we had ignored over the two months.
I didn’t know where to begin and I couldn’t muster up the motivation to just do something. So I procrastinated and focused my attention on things that ultimately didn’t get me anywhere.
I went weeks without cracking open a business book or listening to a business podcast. I was flat out lazy for almost three weeks!
Until finally, I threw on a podcast that talked about setting up a blog editorial schedule for the year and felt those stirring of motivation and initiative beginning to take place. (Thank you Leslie for the motivation you gave me in episode 290 of Learning with Leslie!)
That’s all it takes to get past this distraction – just doing SOMETHING that moves you in the right direction.
If you are in a slump, then open up a business book, listen to a business podcast, or maybe just sit and start writing. By being intentional about your time (using your time for work, rest, and inspiration), you can defeat this distraction time and time again!
Tips for Overcoming Overwhelm
1. Write Down Your #1 Goal for the Day
If you can decide on your #1 goal to accomplish in the day and do it, you will feel super accomplished and successful. These feelings are a great way to put a stop to overwhelm. If you don’t start, then you will never get anywhere.
2. Get Enough Sleep
If you are tired, your body and mind won’t be able to handle stress in a positive way. You will be less tolerant to the feeling of overwhelm and pressure to deliver.
If you are well rested, you will deal with change in your day better and will be able to focus on finishing your #1 goal.
3. Take Regular Breaks
If you are pushing yourself to work constantly without taking breaks, your body will eventually break down and lose any focus you had to begin with. I recommend taking a break at least every two hours.
The best thing you can do is to move your body and refuel with a small, healthy snack. Then, come back to your work refreshed and ready to focus again!
There are many types of distractions but all of them are detrimental to your business and to your work day. If you can work to minimize the distractions in your day, or to at least recognize and correct the times in your day where you are distracted, your work productivity will soar.
Nobody is perfect – we all struggle with some aspect of these daily, but I hope that we have at the very least shown you that there are ways to help minimize the time you spend not focused on your work.
Which of these distractions do you fall prey to the most? What other questions or comments do you have in regards to distractions? Let us know in the comments section or by emailing us at [email protected]!
Join us TONIGHT (Monday, February 20 @ 6pm) on Facebook Live for a Q&A Session and hear us give a little more insight into some of these ideas. We hope to see you there!
Next week on the blog, we will be talking about the different stages of our business evolution (from local business to online entrepreneur) and the lessons we learned in each phase of our company. If you have a handmade business, are interested in starting a handmade business, or want to learn about selling products online, you won’t want to miss it. Can’t wait to talk again then!