Because you are your own boss, you can usually establish your own work schedule and daily agenda. As wonderful as this can be, it can also be challenging to resist all the distractions that come your way. These distractions can stem from your personal life, the abundance of convenient technology available at your fingertips (checked your Facebook and Twitter feeds lately?), or even the feeling of being overwhelmed with how much you need to accomplish. In order to keep these distractions to a minimum, follow these tips for staying as focused as you possibly can.
- Establish clear and concrete goals or benchmarks. Yes, this means putting them in writing. Keep a file on your computer listing your goals along with realistic deadlines. This list can be short term (daily, weekly) or long term (monthly, yearly). Find a system that works best for you to not only make the most of the hours in a day, but also to reach your overall professional objectives. For instance, a music teacher who gives private lessons from his home studio wants to expand his business by acquiring five new clients each month for the next six months. His list of goals includes seeking referrals from existing students and giving free weekly workshops at the town’s youth center. By referring to these goals regularly, he will be on his way to achieving it in his desired time frame.
- Track your results and continually make adjustments to reach your target. When you do become focused, it is important to stop and evaluate your progress every so often. If you fail to do this, it’s possible you may not be using your time as efficiently as possible. The music teacher trying to acquire new clients finds that seeking referrals has been more successful in helping him find new students than his workshops have. So he decides to cut down his workshops to once a month instead of once a week, and invest more time in following up with his referrals. Tracking your results will allow you to make the most out of your time and increase your chances of reaching your goals.
- Have someone hold you accountable. Even the most disciplined person can give in to distractions and lose focus. To prevent this from happening, reach out to a trusted family member, friend or colleague to hold you accountable. Find a creative way to do this that will help your cause. For example, while training for her first 5K race, a novice runner decided to post each of her morning runs to her best friend’s Facebook timeline. If she was ever late in posting or didn’t run at all, her friend sent her a motivating message via Facebook and text. This simple task kept her focused and motivated to continue because she knew someone else was expecting something from her. Increase your chances of success by holding yourself accountable.
These tips for staying laser focused can be customized to fit any of your professional and even personal goals. Establish clear objectives, track your results and make adjustments, and find someone to hold you accountable. What else would you add to our list? Please share your ideas below!