Distractions are one of the main things that lead to business failure and poor performance at your job. If you focus on everything that vies for your attention, staying focused becomes difficult. The only way to reach your professional goals, start building your startup, and grow your business is to keep your eyes on the end goal. You have to learn to identify and eliminate distractions as they come. That’s the only way you’ll succeed. Find out how you can eliminate distractions and stay focused so you can reach your goals and build your dream.
1) HAVE A PLAN
Have a plan and know what you want to achieve. Write down your vision and understand it so you can easily identify anything that distracts you from it. Know where you are going and write down your long-term goal. Answer key questions, “What’s my ultimate goal?”, “What’s my vision?”, and “How do I achieve it?” Plan your steps. Determine how you’ll go from where you are to where you desire to be. Figure out what needs to be done to ensure that happens and act on your plan. This helps you stay focused and avoid giving in to distractions. It makes it easy for you to identify things that hold you back or steal your time and keeps you moving forward.
2) SET CLEAR GOALS
Have clear goals so you can know what’s worth your time and what isn’t. Write down your goals and what you want to achieve in 5 years, 10 years, and 15 years. Where do you see yourself and the business in 5 years? What do you want to accomplish in those years? And what do you need to do to reach that goal? Do you want to expand your business in 5 years to 10 years? Do you want to tap into a different market and reach a different audience? What steps are you going to take to ensure that happens? Do you have enough resources?
Plan your steps and act on your plan. Make sure you do one thing that gets you one step closer to your goal every day. If you don’t have enough resources to get to your main goal, determine the best ways to get them. Setting clear goals keeps you focused on achieving them. It helps you constantly come up with ways to bring your vision to life and get to your desired destination. Making it easy for you to say NO to anything distracting you from where you desire to be.
3) FOCUS ON YOUR LONG-TERM GOAL
One of the most effective ways to eliminate distractions is to keep your long-term goal or vision constantly in sight. So, write it down and place it where you can see it daily. For example, on your office desk, mirror, or car. The goal is to be daily reminded of what you want to accomplish and where you intend to be.
Having your vision where you can see it helps you avoid distractions, keeps you working on your dream, and gets you closer to your ultimate goal daily. When you get a business offer or job offer, you carefully consider your long-term goal. For example, does the offer help me get a step closer to my goal? When you ask yourself that question, it becomes easy for you to only focus on things that help get you closer to your main goal and say NO to the rest. When you have two or more great offers and don’t know which one to take, ask yourself this: “Which offer benefits my business the most? What’s the one thing that I want to accomplish right now?”
Choose an offer that benefits your business the most and one that helps you reach your current goal. For example, if your current goal is to raise $5000 for your startup, go with the offer that enables or allows you to do that. If your current goal is to improve your skills, pick an offer that gives room for that and understand that everything else is a distraction.
4) SET S.M.A.R.T GOALS
One thing that makes it difficult to retain your focus and build your dream is setting unattainable goals. You want to do in 1 year what can be accomplished in 5 years. You set big goals and try to reach them in a short period. That’s not how things work. You have to take it one day at a time until you get there. So, set S.M.A.R.T goals to avoid frustrations, progress gradually, and ensure you keep moving forward.
Break down your ultimate goal into smaller and attainable ones. Have weekly goals, monthly goals, and yearly goals. Work toward your 5-year goal daily and set monthly goals and yearly goals that get you to your ultimate goal. Make sure your smaller goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Set time limits to your goals to create a sense of urgency and stay motivated to work.
5) CREATE A DAILY SCHEDULE
Create a daily schedule and stick to it. This is a great way to avoid distractions and make sure you never make room for everything seeking your attention. Have a to-do list and streamline your tasks. Set aside time to write down everything you want to accomplish on a given day. You can work on your to-do list each morning or right before you go to bed. All you need is 30 minutes. Even less depending on what your day looks like. Having a daily schedule and streamlining your tasks will help you stay focused and avoid wasting time. You can also use management tasks like Trello to plan more effectively and remain accountable.
Identify your productive hours and work on the most difficult tasks during that time. For example, if you are a morning person, work on your challenging tasks at 3 am or 4 am. If you produce great work and focus better in the evening, complete difficult tasks during those hours. You’ll save time and get more done.
Allocate time for checking your emails so you don’t get distracted once you start working. You can schedule 10 minutes daily to check your inbox as soon as you get to the office, for example. However, make sure you don’t exceed those minutes.
Consider delegating tasks if you have too much on your plate and not enough time to get it done. Hire freelancers or one of your team members to complete certain tasks. This helps you stay focused on critical tasks and ensures you keep things moving.
6) OVERCOME SHINY OBJECT SYNDROME
Shiny object syndrome distracts you from your work and causes you to waste time. Countless business owners battle with it because of the many opportunities or projects that come their way. That’s one of the reasons most businesses fail. If you always chase new opportunities or trends while you have piles of unfinished projects, your business suffers.
You have to focus on your most important work or the task at hand and complete it before taking on too many projects. Shiny objects take too much of your time, affect your productivity, and distract you from your goal. So, identify them when they come so you can avoid them, stay focused and achieve your goal. Some of the most effective ways to overcome shiny object syndrome are to set clearer goals, stop comparing your business or yourself, ensure accountability, and learn to say NO often.
7) ESTABLISH POLICIES
Policies guide you, remind you of what matters and keep you on track. They make it easy for you to get rid of distractions, focus on your end goal, and manage your time wisely. So, create work policies and observe them. Set rules and determine what’s important. State how you want to work, what you’ll make room for, and what you won’t make time for. For example, not checking phone notifications and answering calls while working can be one of your rules. Responding to messages that aren’t work-related while checking your inbox or email can be another. The goal is to have rules and stick to them. Doing so improves your productivity levels, keeps you focused, and helps you work more effectively.
8) LEVERAGE TIME BLOCKING
Time blocking ensures you only focus on the task at hand, improve productivity, and avoid everything else that serves as a distraction. It helps you meet deadlines, keep producing exceptional work, and get closer to your main goal every day. Set aside time to work on a specific goal and ignore everything else that comes along. For example, you can allocate 2 hours to carrying out a certain task and switch off your phone during those hours. You don’t check your emails or entertain anything that has nothing to do with what you are working on. You dedicate those 2 hours to completing the task and progressing. Disconnect from everything else while you work to stop distractions from interfering with your work and performance. That means not thinking about something that upset you or that new opportunity you’re considering.
9) AVOID MULTITASKING
Multitasking is a form of distraction you need to avoid. It takes too much of your time and makes it difficult to accomplish tasks on time and produce great work. So, focus on one thing at a time before moving to the next task on your list. Pick a task and give it your undivided attention. Don’t think about the next task on your schedule because it affects your productivity and accuracy.
Use the Pomodoro Technique to ensure productivity and remain focused. The Pomodoro Technique states you allocate between 25 minutes to 50 minutes on a specific task and focus on it without making room for anything else. Take a short break when the timer ends and move away from your seat. This helps you relax your brain and rejuvenate so you can work more effectively once you continue.
10) DECLUTTER YOUR WORK AREA
A messy desk is one thing that distracts you from your work and lowers your concentration levels. So, declutter your work area to improve your focus and work more effectively. Control your work environment and get rid of anything that has nothing to do with the task at hand. Declutter your work area daily after you leave your office to prepare for the next day. Keep items you use often on top of your desk. Place ones you need but don’t use often inside your table drawers. That way, you’ll have quick and easy access to them whenever you need to.
11) INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS
The only way to build your business is to invest in it. If you make room for everything that comes your way but fail to make time for your business, you won’t succeed. So, invest in your business and do at least one thing that helps you build it. This is especially true if you have a 9-5 job and want to build your startup but never find the time to do so.
Determine what’s preventing you from launching your brand or taking it to the next level and come up with a solution. If you barely have time, make time. If you need money, raise it. If you need new ideas to improve your marketing strategy, set aside time to conduct research and apply what you learn. Dedicate an hour or so to your business and do one thing that helps you launch, improve, or expand it. The goal is to invest the required resources into building and growing your business daily. For example, your time, money, and so on.
12) ENSURE ACCOUNTABILITY
Be accountable to someone to avoid distractions and stop them from hindering progress or interfering with your work. Have regular meetings with your team or business partners to ensure accountability. When you know there are tasks you need to complete and people to share your progress with, you can easily avoid interruptions. So, hold regular meetings and talk about your progress. Focus on set goals and make sure everyone attending shares progress. Give team members at least 5 minutes to state what they’ve achieved and highlight the challenges met along the way. Talk about the progress you’ve made as well and goals reached. Doing this ensures you work to the best of your abilities, remain focused, and meet deadlines.
13) NETWORK WITH FOCUSED PEOPLE
Surround yourself with like-minded people and people who want to accomplish similar goals. This is because you always think and act like people you spend most of your time with. So, network with focused people and people who know what they want in life. People who are constantly improving themselves and working toward their dreams. You can also have a mentor to help you increase your productivity and grow. The right mentor motivates you to become a better version of yourself, realize your dream, stay focused, and grow in different areas of your life. Your mentor can also be your accountability partner. So, every time you are about to give in to distractions and lose your focus, think about your accountability partner.
14) CREATE WORK ROUTINES
Creating routines around your work trains your mind to stay focused and ensures you are always at the right place at the right time. So, create work routines and let them guide you throughout your day. If you know what you are supposed to do at a given time, you won’t waste time on things that don’t matter. You’ll easily identify interruptions and make smart decisions without going around in circles. You won’t spend too much time on small decisions because you’ve created routines and understand what needs to be done and how it should be done. Create work routines to reduce the number of decisions you have to make every day so you can spend more time doing and less time deciding the next move to take.
15) FIND WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Your social life is as important as your work life. Learning to balance the two ensures overall health, increases your productivity and helps you stay focused. That’s because when you know what you need to focus on in a certain period, you concentrate on it, eliminate distractions, and work to the best of your abilities. So, improve your work-life balance.
Prioritize your physical health, mental health, and social relationships as much as you do your work. Have a workout routine, eat healthy, rest, and make time for friends and family. Doing this also helps you stay rejuvenated, avoid burnout, and ensure healthy relationships. Distractions always find their way into your work and life. If you are not careful, they will make it difficult for you to constantly work toward your dream, progress, and reach your goals. So, use the above-mentioned tips to identify and eliminate every distraction that comes your way, stay focused, and live your best life possible.