A client of mine calls it spinning. I call it helicopter brain. Our lives seem almost manic at times, and I’m guessing you feel it, too. Between coaching, editing my new book, event speaking, interviews, consulting and being the mom of an aspiring and talented young woman, my ability to focus can get seriously challenged.
Entrepreneurs and multi-tasking managers are easily distracted because they thrive on completing a variety of different tasks! It’s more interesting to hop from one thing to another instead of the boring routine of doing one thing at a time —believe me I know! –but therein lies a problem, because finding a focus, and setting priorities, is the key to getting everything done.
When determining where your focus should be, take a look at what’s going on in your life right now. What is truly and honestly the most important thing for you? In my case, it’s getting my new book, Happy Women. Happy World, ready for publication. An exciting time, to be sure, making last minute changes to a creative project that is my passion and life purpose—to help women first find a work-life balance, and then to map out their path to success on their terms, in their careers and personal lives.
One of the concepts in my book that women call transformational is the time-based tool called ego-RHYTHM. The idea of ego-RHYTHM is that it teaches you to figure out where on your life’s journey you are right now, and how that determines what your Main Focus should be. Women especially can get so easily sucked into wanting to do too much all at once, that we often find ourselves exceeding our limits. Enough to make us spin or our helicopter brains take off.
Here are 5 easy strategies to stay focused on a task:
1. There is a time to plan and a time to execute. Once a plan is in place, avoid the temptation to change your strategy when the first challenge comes up. Put your head down, don’t think and just keep executing. You have a plan – remember.
2. When self doubt sets in or you are completely overwhelmed and feel that you can’t get enough done, enlist support. Find a colleague, partner or friend willing to do daily check-up calls. They should last no longer than 5 minutes. Keep it to the basics. Tell them to ask you: Are you on task today? And, to make a few support statements like, you can do it, excellent job, sounds great to me, now go back to your task. Get the support you need when you need it.
3. Orient yourself upward. If your competitor does better or someone else has a handle on managing something that you struggle with, it’s either time to double your efforts or find out (through networking contacts) what this person is doing that you are not.
4. Enlist help if you are lacking a skill set, unless you have the time to figure it out yourself. A year ago I was talking to a potential photographer client who didn’t feel that an investment of $200 in a business class was warranted. He is still not working and about to take a job as a sales clerk. That decision most likely cost him a loss of $60,000 in income. Can you afford to wait? Do what it takes and commit at 100 percent. And remember this, unless the investment hurts a little, it won’t mean anything to you, because you may not be committed enough.
5. Stay inspired. Only if you are excited about something will you exude the type of energy that clients find irresistible. In order to be contagiously positive, you need to find something that gets your juices flowing.