In a recent interview with renown psychiatrist Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, he described how many entrepreneurs have some form of short attention deficits. At first hearing this comment many people would find this alarming. However, Dr. Hallowell made it clear that this was not entirely a bad thing as it allowed these creative and innovated individuals to quickly move from one task to another.
But what happens when there is too much distraction going on, and it become difficult to focus on specific tasks and issues? I am referring to the type of issues that require sustained periods of focusing such as analytical tasks and strategic planning. Now, that same agile and flexible mind can actually become a detriment the business.
The old adage is true, “too much of a good thing is bad”. There are times when all entrepreneurs have to focus their attention for extended periods in order to address certain aspects of the business. Ignoring or avoiding those tasks will not make them go away, and instead, they may become worse.
So let’s take a look at some simple tips any entrepreneur can do to help get into the focused mind set.
Turn off the Technology
Our technology has become both our slave and master of our time. In many ways our technology has allowed us to be extremely productive. We are more accessible and able to communicate with customer and clients better than ever before. Just about all of us use : email, cell phones, texting, instant chat, twitter, Facebook, and of course, the phone on a daily basis.
The problem is we are trying to focus our attention when at any moment one of these communication devices can go off causing us to lose focus. The only solution is to turn them off during the time that has been set aside to do focus work.
This may mean disconnecting the email instant refreshing, and forwarding all phones to voice mail. Likewise, logging off all social media sites and any other electronic system or device that can interrupt you.
Get out of the office
One thing that works well with turning off your communication devices is to simply to get away from the area you normally work at. Simply closing the office door and asking everyone to leave you alone for a specific period of time doesn’t always work.
There are always the “emergencies” that suddenly pop up and just need to be taken care of. Interestingly, when you are out of the office these same “emergencies” either get fixed by the personnel or can actually wait until you get back. However, when you are physically present it is just too tempting for anyone not to bother you.
Getting away can mean any place where you can feel alone and not distracted. For some that might mean going outdoors to a secluded place. For others it may mean renting a quite office space to do this type of focus work. One resource to help you find these types of work spaces is Liquid Space. Liquid Space can help anyone find the perfect working space for as little as $20 per day. They have small desks to large conference rooms in many urban locations.
What about going home? That can work as well as long as you will not be distracted by your family, friends, or the comfort of your home. It is sometimes too easy to get home and get distracted by the mail that has arrived, some item that you need to attend to, ect.
Take time to quiet the mind.
Now, that you have all the technology turned off and a quite place to work, take some time to let go of the mental chatter. This is a vital step in being able to become focused and maximize you productivity. Many of us have the tendency to just jump right into our work while our mind is still dishing out noise from all the previous activity. Taking this first step to be still will help you not only get into the proper mind set it will also be pleasurable.
One way to do this is simply to be still for 15 minutes. It does not have to be any longer than that. The idea is to prepare our mind for the focused work that will be coming up. There are many ways to do this including using mediation techniques. For those that want to be guided through the process you can find guided meditation recordings through the Apple iStore.
Otherwise, you can simply begin by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. Slow your breathing down by counting four breaths in and then four breaths out. Then increase the counts to six breaths in and six breaths out and so forth. This simple process will help in bringing down all the noise we all have going on in our minds and help us get into the proper mind set to focus on our task.
Finally, setting a specific time to do focus work regularly will make this whole process easier. This can be done by choosing a day of the week when the demand for your time is less. Notice I did not say, “when you are not busy”. Rather, it is regularly scheduled day of the week when you decide all that you will do is focused uninterpreted work.
This day should not change and must be kept regular just like exercising for your body. By scheduling focus time regularly you can designate this time to take care of a lot of items. This in turn will make you more productive by freeing up your mind worrying about what needs to be done. The key is not to allow the so called, “emergencies” to take you away from this focused work time.
Attention to Your Business
At Bay Area Mastermind, a professional facilitated mastermind group, we constantly are sharing techniques and strategies to help our Mastermind Groups to increase their productivity. Why not Test Drive one of our Mastermind Group meetings today and increase your effectiveness.