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Your Business: Focus or Fail

You may have been successful in keeping up with a lot of things in your life, but as sure as the sun rises every morning, there will be times when you’re just plain scattered: your mind wanders around, you miss your deadlines, your work becomes mediocre, and your morale is down. You sit on your favorite chair, take a deep breath, and then you look up with your eyes closed, and then you ask yourself,” What’s happening to me?”

So how can you keep yourself focused on your business or anything else that you should be focusing on? There are some great tips that really do make a difference.

Let’s begin shall we?

1. Clarify your goals.

Everything starts with the mind. You get things done because you have a goal and have thought about it. Your business is no exception. You need to be able to imagine yourself doing the thing that you want to do. Where do you want to be in the next year? Your imagination is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to stay focused.

In order for you to keep focused, you have to create things that constantly remind you of your goals. There are a lot of ways really, depending on your personality, but I’ll just mention two:

*Create a List of Goals and place it in your wallet or on your desk so that whenever you open your wallet or go to your desk, you’ll be reminded of them.

*Create a little book where you can place pictures that symbolize your goals. Add small captions near the photos that describe them. Take the time to go through this book every single day. Trust me, it works.

The more you see it in your mind, the more it becomes real.

There are a lot of ways to visualize. Be creative and use what works best for you.

2. Set measurable goals.

If you want to focus on something, you must measure it. Another way to look at this is: whatever you measure, you focus on and whatever you focus on grows. Make sure that these goals are measurable so that your mind will have a clearer picture of what you want. Put numbers and descriptions, add a time-frame—anything that measures and quantifies your goals.

Here’s an example:

Instead of just writing, “I’ll earn more money,” you should write: “I’ll earn an additional $1,500 each month through an income-generating side business that focuses on web design by December 2010.”

Now that’s measurable. And it’s more real, right?

3. Set your priorities.

Prioritizing doesn’t necessarily mean doing what’s urgent. Think about it. Urgent things are actually things that were never really prioritized. You should have taken care of them earlier.

It’s like this. Imagine yourself as a juggler. There are two kinds of balls in front of you: crystal balls and rubber balls. You start to pick them up at random and juggle, continuing to add one more ball at a time. Then it gets too difficult to juggle all of them so you have to let some of the balls go.

Which ones will you choose? Will you let go of the crystal balls that shatter into pieces once they are dropped? Or would you rather let go of the rubber balls that can bounce on the ground?

What are the crystal balls in your business? And which ones are the rubber balls? Juggle wisely.

4. Stick to your plans and carry them out.

For you to remain focused, you need to be persistent. Nothing ever happens in this world without persistence. If things don’t happen the way you want them to, don’t be discouraged. Stick to it! If scientists gave up after one failed experiment, you wouldn’t have the things that you’re enjoying now, right?

Another important thing to take note of is that the root word of the word persistence is “act”. OK, it isn’t really. But you get the point! Unless you act on your goals and focus, those goals will just remain in your list or will just be cute pictures in your book.

Don’t be too hard on yourself though. You have made very persistent moves many times in the past. How else would we be where you are right now? Just keep on going and you’ll get the hang of it.

5. Be flexible.

Flexibility may seem to contradict what I’ve just discussed above. But if you just look closely, the two are actually twins! Why? Because they both have the same root word, that’s why. :)

Being flexible is all about acting accordingly. Yes you should be persistent, but when the going gets rough and your means don’t yield the results you want, you need to do something different. And do it fast.

Flexibility allows you to find other ways to achieve your goals. When this happens, your goal is put in the spotlight which will allow you to focus on it even more. The more you think about something, the more you focus on it/.Remember that? Sometimes, in order for you to focus, you just really need to review the things you’re already doing and change the way you do them if you need to.

Keep the goal. Change the tactics. That’s flexibility.

6. Clear the clutter.

I’m not talking about what’s on your desk, inside your closet or about the things in your living room. That’s nothing! I’m talking about the clutter in your life.

Sure, it’s easy for you to manage the clutter on your desk, inside your closet, and all the other clutter that you may have elsewhere. But how about the clutter in your relationships? How about your finances? Your spending habits? Your debts? How about your attitude towards your job? All these things and many more can become clutter in your life unless you manage them well.

It’s overwhelming, right? I know. But here’s the thing: because this type of clutter is different from the regular clutter (mess / junk), you also have to manage it differently. The ways are endless. And everything that you need to know has been written by somebody. You may also have friends who have managed this type of clutter well. Learn from them. The most important thing is that you are constantly trying to manage it as best as you can. There’s no need to hurry (unless of course if there are major problems in one or more of those areas). Just be consistent.

Once you manage this “life-clutter”, focusing on your goals will be much easier since your mind won’t always be thinking about all those problems you have. It makes you healthier as well. But that’s another topic…..

7. It’s best to rest.

And when all else fails (after doing all of the above) and you still can’t focus, it’s best to take a rest.

Resting should not be a footnote to your agenda. It should not be an option. It should be a part of who you are. Work and Rest go together. Separating them will spell disaster! Take care of your body. It can only take so much at a given time. It’s best to take a vacation in a place that takes your mind and body away from anything that says work. If you’re not quick to listen to the cues like headaches or fainting spells that you may be experiencing due to working a lot, your body could shut down. You’ll be lucky if you only collapsed.

Once you’ve taken ample time to rest, you won’t just have vigor, but you’ll have a clearer mind. And this will allow you to keep focused so you can do more and be more.

So next time you feel you’re not focused enough, ask yourself, “Have I taken enough rest?” Then rest if you really need to. It’s that simple.

Your Thoughts

What do you think? Is there anything specifically that you do to help keep yourself focused? What are the main things that distract you from your goals? Let us all know in the comments!

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About the Author

MKMohammed is a project manager and business consultant. He's an avid reader and loves to write.View all posts by MK →

  1. Stephan NellasStephan Nellas05-16-2010

    I love this post. It’s very insightful and I’ve learned a lot. I agree with the last tip: to take a rest. I tend to really make myself busy that I sometimes forget to take enough rest. This post confirms my need to take some time off. Thanks!

  2. Great article – simple yet concise!

    Procrastination as well as lack of time are common excuses many people use to put off goals and other aims in life.

    I guess the actual purpose behind the goal(s) (point 1) has to be somewhat firm for the actual drive towards that goal to be strong and persistent, don’t you think?

    Sometimes we need to take action and not focus on those things which yield no benefit towards attaining the final goal.

  3. WKWK05-17-2010

    Great post…

    We come across a lot of people who preach “how to be more productive, time management, goal setting, etc…” But its hard to come across someone who actually practice what they preach to its full capacity.

    I am looking forward to a post which would have to do with “reaching your full capacity”

  4. artwrter2010artwrter201006-02-2010

    Wow, love this post. Especially when you talked about no. 7. I need that.