Every Friday I post a “here’s the thing” blog. “Here’s the thing” is something my mum (and many other wise people) like to say when they’re about to make a good point. Hopefully these posts are also good points.
It is not (I repeat: NOT) easy to stay focused when you run your own business, especially a creative one. Especially one that’s growing quickly, or in an environment that’s changing all the time. (To clarify: in this day and age of ecommerce, everything’s changing all the time.)
It’s also not easy to stay focused as Christmas approaches and it feels like there are a billion things to do simply to fulfil orders, not to mention the billion new ideas and changes you start thinking about for next year.
I feel it. The push and pull of all the different things. The desire to get them all done. The insistence on having Facebook open and pinging away every time you get a notification. I’m not even going to talk about emails. But I know you know what I’m talking about.
At the suggestion of an old colleague, I found a solution: Focus On One Thing, aka FOOT. At the suggestion of my mum, I added a 15 minute timer to this little mantra.
It’s not always 15 minutes, but it’s always one thing: a blog post, an email, a product description. All my thought power and energy goes into one thing and anything else gets relegated. I keep my scribble pad nearby so I can write it down to deal with later.
Here’s the thing:
It’s not always easy, and I’m still learning to avoid distractions. On the days I’ve been able to focus on one thing, I feel so much better, so much more in control and aligned with what I’m trying to do.
- Write a little post-it reminder for yourself. (Or draw a foot. But that might not be as obvious…)
- Get a timer or use your phone. Choose a time period that works for you, whether it’s 10, 15 or 20 minutes. (Any more than that is too long for our brains to concentrate completely on one thing.)
- Put all your energy and concentration into getting that one thing done, or at least further along. If it’s really boring, tell yourself you’re being a Buddhist monk and it’s a meditation exercise in which you let this thing become your raison d’etre until the timer beeps. Then you leave it to one side.
Just one little thing, one step at a time.
PS If you need some little reminders over Christmas, don’t forget Progress not perfection starts a week on Monday. There’s still time to get involved, and even a few final care packages if you need a weekly box of encouragement in the post. I’d love to support you!