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Lose the distractions, stay focused

By: Robert Wallace

Focusing is about saying no.

Steve Jobs

A pithy directive, Mr. Jobs. But focus requires a great deal more than a simple "no". Entrepreneurs are constantly juggling several things at once, whether it’s fielding a new product feature request, monitoring user acquisition, accommodating a particularly needy customer, raising capital or day dreaming about your nine-figure exit, etc. Here’s a list of suggestions to help you stay focused to move your business forward.

Train yourself to make lists (and not in your head)

Building a to-do list has many advantages, the least of which is ensuring that your time, effort and mental energy are focused on the key tasks that will help move your business from fledgling startup to high-growth behemoth. This simple tactic will free up mental space by enabling to you to think about each task twice, and only twice, once when you jot it down on your list and once when you address it.

Batch routine tasks

Email is the number one productivity killer and a constant interruption. It is tough to break the habit, some may say addiction, of constantly checking email (or Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook). Do yourself a favor and choose two times a day to check your email. I recommend 11:00am and 3:00pm. If you don’t have the self control to keep your eyes out of that inbox, try using xobni.com.

Curb time on the internet

You’ll probably admit that more time is wasted on [insert favorite website here] than you’d like to admit. Ibiblio.org provides a free application for Mac users that blocks internet usage from 1-480 minutes with the only remedy being a hard reboot making you think twice before caving into status updates and instant messaging.

Hire a virtual assistant to manage every day tasks

Sifting through email (distracting) and scheduling meetings (time consuming and annoying) takes focus away from the task of building your business. Hiring a virtual assistant (for as little as $5/hour) for mundane yet necessary tasks frees up time and helps you focus on moving forward. Check out this sites for virtual assistants: elance.com, brickwork.com, yourmaninindia.com, tryasksunday.com, b2kcorp.com, taskseveryday.com.

Written by Robert Wallace

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