Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the collaborators are his.
Our society tells us that the way to succeed is by doing as many different things as you can. Consume as much information as you can. Try as many different races as you can. Spend time with as many people as possible. Read tons of books. Listen to many podcasts. The list goes on and on. However, if you study the most successful entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in the world, you will find that they are exceptional for blocking noise and focusing only on the things that move the needle the most. This is the fastest way to success.
Distractions are everywhere. But as an entrepreneur, I’ve discovered that there are really two main types of distractions that threaten to undermine your success. They are as follows:
Productivity-killers: This category of distractions includes everything that works actively against you to deflate your productivity on a daily basis. This includes digital distractions (such as notifications), environmental distractions (such as a noisy office), and personal distractions (such as relationship problems at home).
Glossy Object Syndrome: As an entrepreneur, you are bombarded with information and deals on a daily basis. Every time you open your email inbox, someone else offers a “guaranteed” product or service to help you increase your revenue, reduce costs, find new customers, and more. If you are not careful, you can easily spend all your time chasing the next shiny object. And guess what happens when you chase shiny objects? You don’t actually put anything into action (which means you never get any results).
If you want to thrive as an entrepreneur, it’s imperative that you block these distractions so you can focus on creating maximum value right where you are. Distractions will always be there, but your success depends on your ability to let them pass.
As you look for ways to improve your focus, here are several strategies I think will help you avoid productivity killers and avoid shiny objects syndrome:
Related: 7 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Distractions
1. Save your calendar
You need to improve your time protection. And the best way to protect your time is to keep an eye on your calendar. This means intentionally blocking chunks of time each day to perform specific tasks. You’ll even want to block segments for downtime, family time, exercise, and more.
2. Mute your notifications
How many notifications do you think you receive per day? Between phone calls, text messages, emails, and push notifications on your smartphone, there are hundreds. And every time one of your devices rings or rings, it consumes your attention and prevents you from doing the work you’re supposed to do. Also, it takes several minutes to refocus after being distracted. At this point, another notification has arrived.
Want to improve your focus? Mute your notifications and only review them at specific intervals during the day. If you can get away with it, the ideal is a “notification check” in the morning and another in the afternoon. However, this is not always practical when running a business. Some employers opt for short 10-minute checks at the end of each hour.
3. Clean your email inbox
Your email inbox is a major source of distraction. It is also one of the largest lightning rods for shiny object syndrome. That’s why I recommend you unsubscribe from all promotional email lists and anyone who sends marketing and sales messages.
If you don’t want to unsubscribe, you can always create your dedicated email account only for promotional emails like this (be sure to check it only once or twice a week). Another option is to use a tool like Unroll.me to combine all of these emails into a single daily “summary” email.
Related: Distractions hurt you more than you realize – here’s why
4. Do one thing at a time
Promise yourself that you will stop doing multiple tasks. Commit to doing just one thing at a time. This means you only read one book at a time. Integrating only one new application at a time. Just doing one course at a time. Just learn to master a social networking platform at once, and so on. An intentional approach like this allows you to stay focused on the things that really matter. It also forces you to finish things once you start them.
5. Take a break
Don’t forget to give yourself some free time. Productivity is not always an issue doing, doing, doing. Sometimes, you need to get away from work to recharge your brain and process creative ideas and information.
I recommend taking regular breaks throughout the day (including breaks for physical activity), as well as extended breaks throughout the week / year. While a two-day weekend is ideal, always take at least one day off per week. Then, every two or three months, do a long weekend. And at least once a year, you should take a week off from work.
6. Focus on income generation activities
Distractions often come in the form of processes and procedures that can indirectly affect revenue or even affect revenue. While revenue and revenue may not be the direct focus of your business, it is still necessary to ensure the longevity and sustainability of your business in the future.
Don’t forget tasks that have little direct impact on revenue, especially if you’re a startup looking for growth capital. Raising money from investors is easier if you can show that you know how to generate more.
Related: 5 distractions that atrophy your business
How good are you at doing more with less? By focusing your time, energy and finances only on the things that matter, you can achieve more. And instead of getting results in half, you’ll get quality results every time. Here’s a simpler approach!