I've seen it time and time again; high-flying entrepreneurs at the helm of their empire, trying to do everything and getting little done. Business owners are constantly trying to multi-task, and although we all know that trying to do so makes us less focused and less productive, it's an inevitable outcome of the real world we do business in. There will never be just one task. Here's some simple advice on how to remain focused and in control.
This is the first thing I advise my mentees to use when deciding which tasks to embark on. Keep a Task list (Task Backlog) of anything and everything that you need to do and keep updating it with new tasks. Prioritize your tasks into critical Must-Do, Should-Do, Could-do and Won't-Do categories. Above all, keep in mind your strengths and delegate tasks that are not your strengths. Understand what you can realistically achieve in one day. A simple process like this, combined with some discipline, will make a big difference to your mindset and productivity.
Use Technology to Make Your Life Easier
There are tools which business owners can use to improve their overall focus. I use Asama to set my goals, targets and tasks and it enables me to share and delegate jobs to other members of my team. Mind mapping software is helpful in defining goals and targets that you can prioritize and focus on.
Of course, tools are only as effective as the person using them, so make sure you have adopted the right mindset and implemented the best processes before you resort to these.
Change your Surroundings
Environment is a key factor in improving focus. The more comfortable your work environment is, the greater your ability to concentrate. I find that purposefully changing my location during a long day, for example, from my home office to the sunroom, helps introduce a new impetus to my work.
It sounds obvious, but removing and avoiding as many distractions as possible, is one of the best ways to improve your focus. It's astounding how personal issues can creep into your work zone. Adopt Digital 'Do Not Disturb', by turning off your mobile phone, closing your emails and chat programs with the intention of dealing with them later.
Plan around your energy levels
You know when you're at your best, whether it is early morning or late at night when you have peace and quiet. Do your hardest tasks when you're most alert and the less intensive tasks later on in the day when you have less drive.