Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
to Help You Stay Focused
Part One of a Three-Part Series
Key #1: Keep Your Destination
By Victoria Munro
In our fast-paced,
high-stress, information-laden world, busyness has become
the norm. We are presented daily with a tempting
array of products and possibilities—all vying for our
time and attention. Never in history have people been
barraged with so much information and offered so many
choices. It’s tough to stay focused. For small business
owners who must wear many different hats to keep their
companies going and growing, the challenge of staying
focused and on track can be overwhelming.
Almost daily, entrepreneurs share
with us the difficulty and the frustration they face
trying to stay focused. Just last week, we received
the following email from a friend: “Please can you help
me? I seem to start each morning with a great plan—I
know what I want to accomplish. But I barely get started
when the phone rings, I check my email, then life just
takes over. By 6 p.m., I’ve spent the day putting out
fires and taking care of unimportant details, and I’ve
hardly had time to think about my goal. It
just seems impossible to focus.”
There is a solution! In this three-part series, I’ll suggest some practical keys that have helped me and others to stay focused.
Know Where You're Going
The world makes
way for a man who
knows where he is going. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you’re to stay focused and avoid being sidetracked by enticing distractions, you need to know where you want to take your life and what you want to accomplish. This may change over the years, but if you don’t know, you’re likely to drift through life, carried along by a busy schedule, and look back in the future with regret.
A. Live On
Seek to understand your purpose. This might be a life-long quest, but keep at it. Decide what you want to achieve in life. It may be helpful to ask yourself:
What is my purpose in life?
Why did I start this business?
What is the purpose of this business?
What am I truly passionate about?
What sort of a person do I want to become?
Where do I want to be and what do I want to be doing three, even ten, years from today?
These can be thought provoking, sometimes uncomfortable questions to ask ourselves. Take some time to think about your answers, and then ponder what you really mean by those answers.
B. Put Your
Plan on Paper
Have a plan and write it down, no matter how simple or complex it might be. Set realistic goals. The more clearly defined they are, the more likely you are to achieve them. Then establish incremental milestones and break your main goals into smaller goals for each month, week and day.
Have a clear
vision of where you’re headed. In his book E-Myth
Mastery, Michael E. Gerber shows that most businesses
fail because of vision that creates an inevitable cloud
of misdirected activity. As he coaches Sarah to grow
her pie shop into a world-class business, Gerber recommends
that she hire an artist to create a picture of what
her business will look like in the future and hang it
on the wall. Keep your vision before you—it will help
you stay focused.
C. Be Accountable – You Can’t
Do it Alone
Owners of small businesses are seldom accountable to
anyone. Find someone to hold you accountable to do what
you’ve committed to do. Share your goals and the deadlines
you’ve set, and ask him or her to check up on you and
accept no excuses.
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly® LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
with tips to help you with your business, sign up for
their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,”
and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get
More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics
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