If you want the prize, you gotta keep your eye on the prize

Don’t be distracted, be determined

Your success in business depends on many things. Financing. Marketing. Product design and innovation. The skillsets of your employees and you. And a million and one other things. To be successful, you must be strategic, setting goals and focusing on them. 

A challenge that many entrepreneurs face is that it is easy to become distracted. Partly, this is because of your entrepreneurial mindset. Partly because you are the boss. Distractions also arise from your homelife.

Various studies have shown that distractions are a major cause of lost productivity and lost opportunity to business owners. Research has shown that distractions cost an average of two hours of each day for each employee on a company’s payroll.

Focus protects your company’s direction

The damage that distractions can do to a business could be even worse when the subject of those distractions is the business owner – you. If your focus is taken away from tasks at hand or it causes you to neglect your business’s strategic plan, your choices can be clouded and your decision-making less purposeful.

A distracted entrepreneur lacks the focus needed to drive their business forward. The result is a need to work harder and faster, confusion among employees, and poorer service to clients. This is in addition to the harm that distractions do to effective time management, causing your work/life balance to become unbalanced, and leading to increased stress. 

5 major distractions and how to avoid them

While there are many distractions that upset an entrepreneur’s focus, these ones we discuss here are among the most common.

1. The magnet of new opportunities

As an entrepreneur you are naturally curious about the world. You’re creative, and continually on the lookout for solutions to problems. As Ken has told us when discussing the definition of an entrepreneur, “An entrepreneur does not operate well in the status quo. Always looking to shift things up.”

Kate Jaramillo agrees. Entrepreneurs see opportunity in everything, she says.

You see opportunities and become distracted from the opportunity on which you are working. You get excited by new projects, and your focus is further dulled by working in the (temporary) status quo of your current project.

Effective time management is needed to avoid such distractions. Focus on completing tasks in sequence, and stop trying to multi-task different projects simultaneously.

2. You get side-tracked by small problems

It’s easy to get dragged into micromanaging your business, but essential that you don’t. Small issues mask bigger problems, and they take you away from the big-picture focus that your business needs.

The art of delegation is an essential skill for an entrepreneur. Learn who has the skillsets to sweat the small stuff so that you don’t have to. Building a values-based network will help you grow the pool of talent and expertise available to you.

3. The need to make decisions

Everyone wants a piece of you. You’re expected to make multiple decisions every day. This becomes emotionally draining, and you become fatigued. This damages your ability to concentrate, and leads to less effective decision-making when it matters most.

The answer here is to limit the decisions that you need to make, and arrange your day so that your most complex tasks are taken care of when you are at your most alert. Again, delegate smaller decisions to your managers and team – coach them to manage, and you’ll be able to take the time out of your business that you deserve.

Eric Malzone says that it’s imperative for entrepreneurs to, “sit down and think, ‘What do I want out of this life? Where’s all this going? What do I want for the people around me?’ Having clarity of vision of where you want to go starts to dictate the choices you make, the actions you take, and why you are doing them. And that’s powerful.

4. Digital distractions

Email. SMS. Instant messengers. Social media. A host of other digital tools that you now use. All of these distract you from your big rock tasks – the things that are going to propel you to where you want to be.

Set times of the day when you are prepared to be disturbed, and turn off your digital distractions outside of these times. The difference to your productivity will astound you.

5. Family and friends

As an entrepreneur, it’s likely that you spend time working at home. It’s also likely that you get disturbed by your family and friends. 

There are various ways to remove these distractions. First, make sure that you are working away from the hubbub of your home. 

Second, close the door and lock the world out – if you were at work away from home, your family wouldn’t be able to just drop in. Give them the power to afford you the same privacy when you are working at home. 

Third, dedicate time to your family when you won’t be disturbed by work. 

When we coach entrepreneurs, we provide guidelines to structure your week; but it’s important to learn what works for you, and how you become most productive – how your time is most effective. 

The system that we talk about revolves around three types of intentions at work (new projects, strategy, big rocks) and gets you out of reactionary mode. It also gives you buffer days away from work and doing the things that you love to do.

Are you ready to focus?

What are your biggest distractions? Have you ever measured how much damage they are causing to your business and your life? For advice in developing strategies that will help you avoid distractions, retain your focus, and accelerate you toward your entrepreneurial life goals, book a free call with Level 5 Mentors now.

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