In working with hundreds of entrepreneurs the last few years, I’ve noticed one common trend holding them back from breaking through and achieving success faster. While there’s never been a better time to launch your idea and create something special, there are now endless options on how to get started, which platform to pick and how to package and price your product or service. In a world of options and non-stop social media, distraction and a lack of focus are responsible for keeping entrepreneurs stuck and ultimately not getting the traction they are looking for in their business.
In this post, I’ll show you four ways to harness the power of focus and achieve productivity and results above and beyond your wildest dreams.
Start Your Day on Airplane Mode
If you’re waking up and immediately checking your phone, you’re setting yourself up for stress, distraction and a scattered morning. I’ve noticed when entrepreneurs do this, they start their day on someone else’s agenda, whether it’s an employee, assistant, or a friend asking for a favor. This leads to a lack of core focus, an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, and the simple fact that someone else is able to control their state of mind to start the day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be at the mercy of a frustrating text and start my day off in a mindset that won’t serve my clients or my business.
Starting your day on airplane mode for at least the first 90-minutes will allow you to wake up on your terms and set the tone for a productive, inspired and focused day.
Create a Focused Routine
Since setting the tone for your day is crucial — start out with a practice of focus during the early morning. This means deep, valuable work that moves your business forward, flexes your creative muscle or allows you to sharpen a key skill. Depending on who you are, this may look different. For me, it’s writing. I don’t let myself do anything else until I’ve written 1,000 words for either my newsletter, an article, a book I’m working on or anything else. What I’ve found is when I do this — the rest of the day is at least five times more focused because I’ve set the tone by practicing a skill in the morning.
When I launched my first book, UnResolution: How To Ditch Resolutions Forever, Live Life by Design, and Achieve Your Dreams, I simply committed to 1,000 words a day and had an entire book done in 6 weeks.
Use the Pomodoro Method
Yes, it means tomato in Italian, but the Pomodoro method is one of the best ways to harness focus, productivity and move the needle in your business with work that matters. The method was invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and is a time management classic, yet most people overlook it. Here’s how it works: you set a 25-minute clock and make it non-negotiable to perform deep, focused work during this time. This means no social media, no email, no phone. Simply put your head down and go. After 25 minutes, you get a 5-minute break to do anything you want and then get back to work.
There is something magical about 25 minutes: it’s enough time to get great work done, but not long enough where you feel overwhelmed. One entire cycle of Pomodoro would be foue rounds of 25 minutes on, five minutes off with a 15-minute interval of rest during the last one.
Don’t Break the Chain
In a famous interview, comedian Jerry Seinfeld was asked how he got so great at stand up comedy and how he got to be a brilliant storyteller who constantly came up with new material. He said every January he gets a calendar, and for every day he writes new material he draws a big red “X” for that day. The key to his success, then is simply to not break the chain of creating material. For your business and career, find your own activity and commit to not breaking the chain. The key is to make it simple, actionable and do it every day, including weekends.
These are simple techniques, but they work if you put them to use. At the end of the day, as an entrepreneur, nothing feels as great as looking back and saying:
Yes, I moved my business and life forward today.
These simple habits start to add up, and soon enough your incremental focus turns into exponential growth.