“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Focus is everything. If you learn this single skill of focusing on a relevant task, you can perform miracles with your life. In this article, I’m going to show you the different ways in which you can increase your focus and get more stuff done.
When I first started in business, I found myself being scattered with lots of projects to do. I would launch a website and begin tweaking it, I then had another idea and worked on that idea. I would then have another idea and work on that one as well.
No matter what I did, I always loved starting businesses but hated staying in them. The excitement of starting a business was very enjoyable. The thought of starting a brand new business with new and exciting possibilities was always on my mind.
It wasn’t until I realized several years later that not focusing on one single project until it was complete was a huge weak point in my career. After looking at nearly all of the things that I’ve done, the ones that were the most successful, were the ones that I finished.
I found that the ideas that were developed but was never finished were never successful. It didn’t matter how good the idea was, the idea was nothing until it was implemented and finished.
I finally discovered the power of focus and completion. Nothing happens until something is complete.
Over the years, I’ve tried various different types of techniques to stay focused. I’m still training myself every day to stay focused and the skill of focus is a technique developed for many years.
My story of focus
For example, several years ago, I started my first blog site. I wrote a blog post every few days. After several months of blogging, I had a total of around 12 articles. About 2 years later, I started another blog promoting my web design business. I continued my same strategy which was to write a blog post every few days. Once again, my blog ended up with only 20 blog posts. I gave up.
Fast forward till today, comes www.secretsentrepreneur.com since the launch of this website only 30 days ago, I’ve managed to focus and complete close to 90 articles already. I could never write so many articles every single day without the skill I developed of focus.
I’ve also seen the power of focus in action. For example, last year I focused on losing weight. I weighed 89 kilos at the start of the year and at the end of the year, I weighed 68 kilos.
I also focused on writing and completing a book. A personal finance book I wrote several years ago was never finished until this year. I finally sat down, picked up my old manuscript, focused on it for 1 month and finished it. That book would of never been complete if I never focused on it.
I also focused on creating another book on public speaking. I wrote the book in exactly 30 days and sold copies of it. I would of never sold any copies of the book if I never finished writing it.
Entrepreneurs need to focus on being focused
Being an Entrepreneur is all about coming up with new and exciting ideas. That’s what Entrepreneurs do, we love starting new businesses and have the greatest ideas. However, sometimes we suck at focus.
Lack of focus can be the kiss of death for Entrepreneurs.
We live in a world of constant distraction. We have Facebook, Twitter, Mobiles, Computer, TV, Email and more. There’s so much tools out there that seems like it helps us but it makes us less productive.
The ability to focus is a key fundamental we all must master in order to get anywhere in life.
It’s not easy but the more you work and build the habit of focus, it gets a lot easier.
Nothing is more painful that looking back and thinking, I should of written that book or I should of launched that project instead of playing on Facebook all the time.
The different ways in which you can increase your focus
Over the years, I’ve refined my ways in which I focus and get stuff done. Here they are:
- Build the habit. You must build the habit of focus. It’s incredibly tough focusing on a single activity. I still sometimes go off and do something else but later on I regret avoiding the high value paying activities. In the end, I realize that I’ve just wasted time and procrastinated.
- Force yourself. It’s tough. It’s hard. Therefore you must have the discipline to FORCE yourself to focus. Take extreme measures. If you are trying to write a chapter in your book, you must open up the page and begin writing without distraction. If you’ve allocated 1 hour to write and you’re not writing anything, then force yourself not to open up Facebook, look at your phone or anything that distracts you. Make a decision that you’ll be staring at the writing screen for 1 hour if you have to.
- Work through the pain. Once again, it’s hard to be focused. However successful people do the things that most people don’t like to do. If you’re used to being connected to all the social media sites and very active with communicating with them, then it gets tough. You must work through the pain of not logging on and checking your emails every few minutes. Just feel the pain and focus until your work is finished. It’s tough.
- Disconnect the Internet. This is a biggie. When I’m working on my laptop and writing a book, I make sure that I turn off my wifi so I can’t go off and browse the web if I come across a block. By disconnecting from the internet, you force yourself not to be distracted and be tempted to stay online. If you do stay online, you’ll open yourself to popups, alerts and messages.
- Have a timer or set a time. I like to work in 1 hour blocks. If i’m writing a blog post or working on a project, I always tell myself that I’m going to focus on this single activity for the next 1 hour and make sure I finish it. I don’t care whether it’s the best of work, I’m going to work on it for 1 solid hour. I’ve discovered that this is the true skill of success. Make sure you build the habit of 1 hour of high focused work. Once you’ve accomplished that, you can move onto 2 hours etc.
- Have blocking software. On my PC, I used to surf the internet and log onto Facebook quite a bit. I realized that I spent so much time on Facebook and even though it didn’t look like much, I added up the minutes and it turns out to be around 5 hours of Facebook per week. If you spend at least 1 hour of Facebook per day, that’s 7 hours of Facebook per week. That’s 362 hours of Facebook per year! If you find yourself logging onto a website that does not contribute much to your life, you can install software on your computer that will limit you to log onto that website.
- Think of it as a challenge. When you picture yourself trying to stay focused as a challenge, you’re more than likely to stick to it. Being Entrepreneurs, we love challenges, therefore if you set it up as a challenge to stay focused for one hour of work without distraction, you’ll do it. Challenge yourself every day.
- Just do it. Period.
No matter what happens in future, technology, business, economy and everything else will change. New tools will arise. New information. New technology.
However there will always be a need to get stuff done. You may finish things faster by using new tools but the key fundamentals will always stay the same.
If you want a result from an idea, you must focus and finish it.
Good luck and remember to stay focused.