Now that you have established some habits to create focus, the task is to maintain it. It’s easier than you think, when you apply a few simple strategies.
Diligence in this area of focus REALLY pays off in the long run. It will actually strengthen pathways in your brain that support your success. How cool is that? It’s like body building for your brain!
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Now that you’re caught up, let’s move on to giving you that edge by maintaining laser focus every day.
If you have applied the tips we shared to create focus, you are:
- Working in a focus zone
- Armed with a written task list
- In tip top shape, inside and out
- Rocking the things that work well, discarding what doesn’t
- Connected to support within your entrepreneurial journey
- Staying true to your niche
To build upon that and develop habits that keep you focused, the first place to start is where we left off the last time, with staying true to your niche.
1. Ignore new niches and trends until you are ready to act on them.
We recommended ignoring all new niches when you’re creating focus. However, I don’t know of an entrepreneur that does not have dozens of back-burner projects they are just dying to get to. So, obviously, at some point, you will likely include other niches in your business. And then there are exciting new trends in marketing that you are chomping at the bit to explore! And we will let you!
There is a rule though. You cannot pursue a new niche, or try out a new trend, until you are ready to act on them. This is when you need to be brutally honest with yourself about whether or not there is enough margin left over at the end of the day to accommodate a second niche, or adding a new marketing approach.
It is much like juggling a tight budget. You can’t whip money out of thin air, and time doesn’t work that way either. No such thing as a credit card for time that I know of, so we only have those 24 hours each day. You can’t spend hours you don’t have.
If you are not efficient enough in the one niche to have actual time left over at the end of your day, you are better off staying focused on the one until you are rocking it so well, adding a second is quicker, easier, and more a matter of routine. Why? Because you stuck with one niche long enough to develop the habits you need to add more and still be productive.
I know how hard it is, but you will be glad you took time to get super-efficient before adding anything else. Determine that you will refuse to venture into new areas until you are truly ready.
2. Know Your Competition.
If you are focused on your niche, you are going to be immersed in it, and a part of that is knowing your competition. Of course, you want to know their stats, all the technical details etc, but the place to start, when considering your competition, is to think about how you think of them! Let me explain….
Many people have the tendency to see the competition as a bad thing, the “enemy”, so to speak. You need to erase that feeling from your inner hard drive and reprogram it to see the competition as your friend on a couple of different levels.
Even if you never personally know your competitors, you can learn much by paying attention to their strategies and techniques. If you observe carefully, and apply what you see, you can get a quality education by carefully observing the habits of the leaders in your niche. Study them. Find out how they created that success and apply it, don’t copy it. Put YOUR slant on the strategies they use to succeed.
One of the best things I did for my personal improvement was to carefully select 25 people to see first in my Facebook news feed and get on their mailing lists, if I wasn’t already; Then I lurked, observed, and soaked it in. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel…just put your slant on what is proven to work…and watch others work it well. Competition? Never. Teachers? Always.
Another good reason to not see your competition as the enemy is they can often turn out to be the folks you collaborate with on projects. When you find that you click with somebody, there will be ways to work together in ways that benefit you both. It just takes a little thinking outside of the box sometimes to find but never discount it. Alliances within an industry can be powerful. Love your competition as someday they could be your greatest asset.
3. Know Your Tribe.
Each niche is going to have its own tribe that is, your customers, leads, followers etc. It is composed of those who make up your target market. It is so very important to know them. REALLY know them. These are “your people” and the ones you are serving via product or service. How can you serve them excellently, if you do not know them?
Find out what they want, what problems they have, how and why they spend, what appeals to them and what is a total turn-off.
You don’t want to quit with just statistics though. Find them, mingle with them, ask them questions, and listen carefully to what they say. Interact with them enough that you can understand their desires, fears, motivations. Meet them where they are and pay close attention. The better you know them, the more effectively you will serve them. Happy customers bring more business - bottom line. It is never time wasted mingling with your tribe.
4. Know Yourself.
Just as you want to honestly evaluate your strengths, so you can use them to the max….you also want to be brutally honest about your weaknesses. Why? So you can focus on doing more of what you are good at, and less of the things that aren’t your forte!
Here is an example of what that can do for you…
Imagine you are a brilliant writer, but have zero technical abilities. You want to become a Kindle author. What to do?
The not so smart way to go about it is to go learn how to do all the technical details yourself, so when you are finished with your book, you can self-publish it. You’d better learn all about internet marketing while you are at it too. Once the book is published, it will be your job to market it. If you are twice as smart as I am, that should take you a year or two.
Now, the smarter way to end up in the same place is to outsource the technical end, then do the same once the book is done and find somebody to market it for you. End result? Instead of a year or two of learning (after you have written the book! ), your book is on Amazon and is being effectively marketed a few months after you finished writing it. Instead of being tied up with publishing and marketing that book, you are immediately back to work, writing the next.
Which scenario is going to help you achieve your goals quicker, easier, and make the best use of the asset of YOU? Hmmmmm.
To shine professionally, focus on your strengths, and outsource the weak areas. It is a game-changer!
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5. Schedule breaks.
To stay effective in your work, it is important to take breaks from all this intense focus. Your body needs to move, get the blood pumping, give the brain a rest, take a few deep breaths at the least. These habits make more of a difference than you think.
Personally, I schedule a mini-break every hour. I stretch, take some deep breaths, then do the rounds; refill coffee, get rid of coffee already consumed, check the wood stove, take the dog potty etc.
I might spend just a few minutes on the porch, enjoying the view or birds, or listen to a favorite song but it is a short break, and I get back to the task at hand while my mind still has that tab open.
I won’t usually do more than three hours this way before I take a serious break. This is the time to close all the tabs in my mind, move and feed my body, and then refresh my spirit with the things that thrill my soul. For me, that might be music, dancing, drawing, taking a walk outside, or just spending time staring into space, pondering, and petting the cat. This indulging in the things I love has me all perked back up, good as first thing in the morning and rearing to go.
While it might seem counterproductive to indulge in yourself when you are so busy, I can guarantee that you will get more work done, it’ll be better quality, and you won’t come away feeling as drained - all because you took a soul-pampering break. It’s best for you, and best for your business.
6. Reward Yourself!
The ultimate reward for developing laser focus is the growth of your successful business, but it will do much to help keep you motivated if you can set up little rewards for yourself along the way. It can be something as simple as rewarding yourself with an extra 15-minute break after completing a particularly difficult task or it could be a full-blown celebration once you launch a project, or hit a milestone.
Are you the type to PUNISH yourself for any slip ups, like I did? JUST STOP NOW. I would say to myself, “If I don’t hit this goal by Friday, I will make myself work this weekend instead of doing …blah, blah.” After a lifetime of training animals and raising children, I can tell you for a fact that positive reinforcement is so much more powerful than punishment.
You know what special rewards will motivate you most. Use them. Use them often, and let the reward fit the accomplishment.
Enjoy our 6 Tips for Maintaining Focus?
I hope you find them helpful! In our next post, we are going to talk about how to get your focus back when it goes out the window. Yes, it happens to us all, but that’s okay, because we have a fix for that! Stay tuned.
Are there strategies or tips you use to help you stay focused in your business? Feel free to comment - we’d love to hear all about them!