Keeping Focus For 2015
Do you feel a little lost?
Posted on: 16/01/2015 By: Kirsty Parris
Feeling lost and not knowing which way to turn is a feeling that many of us have experienced at some point in our lifetime. There can be many contributory factors; money worries, relationship issues, illness, bereavement, unemployment; this list goes on ...
As a business owner, we are not afforded the luxury of being able to take time out to deal with any of the emotional issues we may be experiencing. If we do, the price we pay can be too high.
"2014 was one of the most challenging and painful years of my life!"
Not only did I have to contend with my three year old granddaughter, Madison, being admitted into hospital five times - battling the effects of Cystic Fibrosis - I also had to watch Steffi, one of my best friends, fight for her life after being diagnosed with Cancer.
For 6 months I became the primary carer for my Steffi, which meant countless appointments at the Oncology Department and 24 hours a day / 7 days a week of worrying and outright fear.
There were several occasions when I was torn between being with my granddaughter and with my friend and, amongst all of this emotional turmoil, I had a business to run ... or in my case, keep ticking over.
So how do you keep focus when the going gets tough?
Having a plan is key. By understanding what your business needs to do, knowing who is responsible for what and having the right systems in place to achieve and monitor, you'll have the peace of mind that, no matter what is being thrown at you, the business will continue.
Create a daily 'to-do' list which should ideally be broken down into 'income producing' and 'non-income producing' items. Within these categories you should have 'must do' and 'like to get done' items. You should try to delegate the non-income producing tasks and also create a separate schedule for working 'on the business' rather than 'in the business'.
You should avoid taking on more work than you can feasibly complete. If you need to get more done, you may need to consider hiring additional staff. In general, people work best when they are giving 100% of their focus and attention to any given task. Whether that is replying to an email or writing a pitch document, multi-tasking can lead to mistakes. Instead, follow your 'to-do' list and complete each item, one at a time.
Whether it is avoiding too many encounters with an overly "chatty" colleague or setting your phone to voicemail in order to complete an important task, you should manage distractions in order to minimise time wastage. A major culprit is email. You should set aside designated time for email and avoid checking your email if you are in the middle of a particularly important task.
If you don't take enough breaks you will lose concentration and the quality of your work will suffer. Putting in more hours does not mean you are working more effectively. Instead, work smart, manage your time and allow your body sufficient time to recover. If you take breaks regularly (10 minutes for a coffee in the morning and the afternoon, lunch hour, etc) you will allow your body and mind to relax. As a result, when you return to your desk you will be able to continue to perform at a high level.
Sometimes we forget that we "work to live, not live to work". Therefore it is important to schedule time out. The healthier you are, the harder you can work. To perform at a high level day in day out, you need to maintain your body and mind. Ensure you allow enough time to eat, sleep and enjoy life outside the office.
One of the most challenging aspects of being a business owner is not having anyone who understands the pressure and strain of running a business. You need a sounding board to be able to ask advice and let off steam with.
Whether you are a one-man organisation or are part of a larger team, as a business owner you are expected to lead the way. Be the captain of the ship and steer everyone in the right direction. However, there are times you may feel like you are sinking and are in need of having the burden lifted for a short time.
This is where having a business coach is invaluable. By talking to someone who understands your business, you'll be able to listen to a different perspective which will help you keep both your business and your sanity in check!
I'm happy (and incredibly relieved) to say that as 2015 gets underway, Madison is doing great and Steffi has won her battle against Cancer and now I am able to fully focus on getting on with building my own business and taking it where I want it to be.
Would you like to know more about how I can keep you focussed for 2015? Call me on 07521 790284 and let's have a coffee and a chat about coaching for you and your business this year.
Until next time ...