Focus is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “the center of interest or activity”. When business owners feel focused, their time can be used much more productively. Taking time to increase focus as a business leader produces more long-term results. But – in a world full of distractions, how can a business owner stay focused? Here are some tips.
Tip #1: Establish a Daily Routine
Typical day-to-day as an entrepreneur and business owner can be chaotic. Most successful entrepreneurs start the day with the same routine. This allows for the ability to mindfully set intentions and start with an “easy win”. Whether it’s coffee on your porch while reading a book, a regimented workout, or a sunrise walk – build something into your schedule that’s always there on working days before you start your day in the office.
Tip #2: Time Block your Days
Do you feel like you always have an endless to-do list? Research suggests that around 41% of tasks on a to-do list are never actually completed. Take 10 minutes in the morning to time block your calendar in a minimum of 15-minute increments. This method helps to break the work down into realistic chunks of time and can help you to prioritize what matters.
Tip #3: Tackle the Scary Tasks First
It can be oh so tempting to schedule all of your meetings and complete administrative tasks first thing in the morning. However, data shows that most people experience an increase in focus in the first few hours at work. This is when you should be tackling those big, creative, or lengthy tasks that you’ve been putting off. Don’t open your email inbox the moment that you get into the office. Cleaning out your inbox is the illusion of productivity. Instead, focus on one large task that will move the dial forward that day!
Tip #4: Determine your Goals and Re-prioritize (as needed)
Your goals for the next week, month, and year of your business can be a major way to increase focus as a business owner. Be sure to display those goals prominently to yourself (and your team) so that you can be reminded of your “why”. If you find that your focus has been on tasks or projects that don’t push those goals forward – it may be time to re-prioritize. Every task and idea that you’re working on as an entrepreneur should have a connection to your short-term or long-term goals.
Tip #5: Be Efficient with Meetings and Calls
Meetings and phone calls can be the ultimate time wasters if they’re not properly structured. Increase the efficiency of your meeting schedule by prioritizing your time. Communicate clearly with those who are asking for your time to ensure that there is a focus for each meeting that’s scheduled on your calendar. If possible, ask for an agenda for longer meetings to ensure that things stay on track. Every meeting or call should end with action items and clear goals for staff, business clients, or other parties. As a business owner, you should never leave a meeting or call feeling like you did not give or receive direction.
Tip #6: Build in Mental / Physical Breaks
Neuroscience shows that burnout rates are higher in people who don’t take mental and physical breaks throughout the day. While it may be easier to skip lunch (or eat at your desk while working) – make a point to take the breaks that you need throughout the day to feel rested and recharged. Your brain and vascular system require movement during the day to stay alert, increase focus, and feel energized. Even a 2-minute walk on a set of office stairs can improve overall mental clarity and function! If you can, get outside during the day for a walk – your body and mind will reward you for it.
Tip #7: Leverage your Team and Talent!
Finally, you’re the boss for a reason! Remember that as a business owner your greatest talent is leadership and vision. Be sure that you’re leveraging your team and their talent to accomplish all of the goals ahead of you. Entrepreneurs can be reluctant to hand over the reins to projects – but it’s worth it to free up more time and mental capacity. Finally, for those staff members who are doing a great job be sure to give credit where it’s due. Compensation, benefits, and time off can be a great way for a business owner to retain talent and ensure that you’re able to be as focused as possible!