One of the biggest hurdles you’ll encounter in getting started as an entrepreneur is ‘how do I stay focused?’ You’re not alone. Learning how to stay focused is not easy, and some of us struggle more than others–I know because I’m one of those people. It comes down to three tips on how to be properly and productively disciplined. Take a listen to this podcast, apply these strategies to your work habits, practice how to get focused and motivated, and then watch your productivity and focus grow.
Transcript of : How To Stay Focused On My Goals?
Welcome to the Project Ignite podcast. This is your host, Derek Gehl, and this is another Ask Derek edition. In this episode I want to answer a question that I get all the time from people that are just getting into the world of Internet marketing, trying to start businesses on the Internet. Part time, or full time, either way, I know this is a common question because I get this all the time: “Derek, I want to know how to stay focused on my goals when I’m starting out online and not get distracted?”
In this day and age, there’s so much stuff competing for our attention. Let’s say I have a job, and I get home from work–I only have x amount of time per week that I can dedicate to starting a business on the internet. There’s a transitionary period where time is being pulled in a lot of directions. So when you sit down at your computer to start building your business, how do you get the most out of that time?
Then, once you’re out there, how do you stay focused on the goals that you’ve set and not on all of the other things out there that are trying to attract you? I call it Entrepreneurial ADD. As an entrepreneur that’s actually ADD, I can really appreciate this. There’s always opportunities out there that are vying for your attention. It’s hard to figure out what to focus on.
Look, I know it’s a challenge. I want to share a few tips, tools, and strategies to really help you drill down and get focused; to get the most done in the time you have, and achieve the results you want as soon as possible.
Again, I should also mention, this is a video podcast, so if you’re listening to this on iTunes or anywhere else, you should head over to my Youtube channel, Youtube.com/Derekgehl, and you can see all of the video episodes of Ask Derek.
Conversely, if you’re watching this on Youtube, make sure you’re subscribed on iTunes if you’re an iPhone user and Soundcloud if you’re an Android user. You can have these delivered automatically.
Let’s dive into the three tips I have to get more done and stay focused.
The first thing you need to do if you want to be successful at staying focused and not getting distracted is create an environment that promotes focus.
What’s a good environment? If you’re sitting at the kitchen table, and the kids are running around, and the dog is barking, and people are coming in and out and talking to you, and the TV is on in the background, I can almost guarantee that unless you have some superhuman ability to block noise out, you will not be as productive as you could be.
The very first rule of becoming an entrepreneur is creating a productive environment where you can focus. I know not everyone has the opportunity to dedicate an entire room to being your home office. But I’d encourage you to find a quiet space. Once you’ve found it, create an environment that is distraction free.
As I said, I’m ADD, so this is super important for me. If I’m on my computer, and I’ve got all kinds of distractions on my desk and my workspace is a mess, my mind can’t focus. Some people are better at blocking that out, but keeping a clean and organized space that is quiet and distraction free is ideal.
Your desktop is another place that has tons of distractions. You really want to make sure that your computer is also configured so that you’re not always being pulled away by notifications and popups and Facebooks and stuff like that. “When you sit down to focus on building your business, make sure you block out distraction. Use headphones or earplugs to block noise out. Shut down Facebook. Focus on the stuff that will be meaningful.
If you’re writing a blog post, make sure you set aside a maximum amount of time and forget everything else outside of that until you’re finished. Create an environment for productivity.
Then, my second tip: set goals. Most people think of goal setting in terms of, where do I want to be five years from now? One year from now? We set New Year’s resolutions, which are essentially goals. As an entrepreneur, I’m asked all the time–how do you get so much done? You’ve got so many websites, and podcasts, and videos. Businesses in other niches, you speak at conferences all the time, plus you spend every summer in Whistler and take multiple vacations every year. So how do I stay focused with so much going on?
How do you do that?
This way, when you sit down to create something, there’s no question about what you need to work on. It’s clear that this thing is the most important thing.
There are lots of people that follow the “one thing” philosophy, and that is, every day, what is the one thing that I have to get done? Everything else waits until that gets done. Personally, I always have more than one thing on a day to day basis, but on a monthly or quarterly or yearly basis, I never have more than four or five key things to focus on.
Anything more than that, and I probably won’t have time. If you’re starting your business in your spare time, trying to focus and get something meaningful done is hard to do.
So again, set goals. Every day. What are the things you have to get done? Nothing else matters. Block out the noise.
This brings us to tip #3. This is really important. Accountability. Human nature can be a real bitch sometimes. Some people, and I have friends that are so uber focused, if you give them a goal, they don’t need anyone to hold them accountable to hit that goal. They’ll do everything in their power to hit that goal. They’ll get it done.
Most people aren’t like that, though. But here’s the deal. As an entrepreneur, you’re not reporting to anyone. So when you’re getting started in your spare time, you have to find ways to hold yourself accountable. If you don’t, life will get in the way.
It’s easy to say, well, that can wait. Until you make this a priority, set your goals, and hold yourself accountable, there’ll always be stuff getting in the way.
So when you’re getting started, you need to make yourself accountable. The way to start is to come up with your goals for the quarter or the year, and then tell anyone that will listen. Here are my goals!
Just speaking and sharing those goals with the people you care about adds a whole new level of accountability. I know it does.
I’ll meet new entrepreneurs and they’ll say, I have goals but I don’t want to tell anyone what they are. Why not? Because what if I don’t hit them?
If you do tell them, the pressure is on. You’re gonna try harder to hit those goals.
Another great strategy for accountability is to find an accountability group or partner; someone else that’s in the same space and is setting goals. Meet with them on at least a monthly basis. Share your goals, check in with each other to measure your progress.
And finally, reward yourself! Once you hit those goals, reward yourself. Get a massage. Buy those new headphones. Anything. Celebrate when you win.
So how do I stay focused? Guys, there’s no magic pill. There’s no secret. It comes down to discipline.
It’s a weird transition to go from being an employee with instructions on what to do everyday to being the person setting the goals and working on your own problems. It’s a real shift. If you can successfully make that shift and be your own boss, and hold yourself accountable, you can create incredible things.
The people that don’t make it as entrepreneurs are usually the people that can’t hold themselves accountable. They’re the ones that let life get in the way. Until you’re willing to make this a priority, and to create an environment where you’re going to be productive, to set goals, to hold yourself accountable, no one else can help you.
You have to take those first steps.
There’s the answer! Hope you learned something.