As part of my job as a strategist I spot patterns and opportunities by observing what is going on the world. While this is great for clients, I’ve realised it has actually been holding me back in my own business.
It often goes something like this:
First I notice a huge gap in the market for a new project. Then I research lots until I have convinced myself to give it a go. I get frustrated when my other work/projects/life gets in the way of me being able to do this new project. Then I shelve project until I have more time/find a way to clone myself. i.e forever.
My time is limited as it is so I need to be focused to get stuff done.
After realising my lack of focus and over-abundance of ideas was sabotaging my attempts to reach my business and personal goals, I made a few changes to help me get back on track.
1. Check email no more than 3 times per day.
A while back I cut down on email checking but I found I was creeping back into the habit of checking it all the time again. I now check it around 9am, 2pm and 6pm and I work with the project management app Asana to stay in touch with current clients. This eliminates much of the email back and forth involved in longer term projects as we’ll just message and upload files within the app. I’ve also turned off notifications of email on my phone.
2. Limit social media to 3 times a day.
I found this harder to limit because it is so easy to use social media to fill in dead time, like when I’m waiting for the kettle to boil or sitting on the bus. I find too much social media draining though so, limiting my time on it helps keep me sane . If I come across an article I want to share, rather than going into Twitter and getting sucked into to conversations and even more articles, I’ll queue the tweet in Buffer using the browser extension.
3. Limit information consumption
While I do need to read a lot of info for my job, I’m changing how I do it. I now limit myself to scanning news headlines in the morning and after the kids are in bed. If I’m in the research phase of a client project, I’ll reach much, much more but I’ve started tracking my time to make sure I don’t get lost down the rabbit hole of article after article.
4. Stick to the plan
Last year I readjusted my business model and decided to make some changes. I now work to a six month plan which I will reassess in July. If one of my new ideas doesn’t align with my short or long term goals then I don’t follow it up.
5. Simplify business systems.
In order to reach my goals for the business I needed to set up business systems that allow for growth. For me, this meant documenting the steps of every process I undertake from client intake, project workflow to packaging systems for Happy Piece. I still have more to do but it’s helping me become more efficient and will help hugely when I take on team members in the future.
So there you go. Hopefully some of these will help you!
Have you limited your distractions lately? Have any tips to share?