Imagine this …
You’re feeling very relaxed and refreshed. You’ve had a marvelous summer filled with family and fun.
Your business has been in a holding pattern over the summer, just as you had planned.
You’re ready to get back to work now that “summer vacation” has ended.
Are the kids back in school (or out of the house)? Check.
Are you home from your summer vacation travels for a bit? Check.
Are you ready to get back to your business-building coaching projects? Check.
Now you’re ready to dive back in and get down to business.
Only, when you sit down at your desk to work on your business-building projects, you start getting fidgety and you find yourself reading email. Or you find yourself sorting and shuffling all those papers and ideas that you’ve collected from other entrepreneurs. Then you realize that you have some notes saved somewhere about something that was relevant to what you do with your clients. And you decide that once you find those notes, that’s where you want to start so you can launch a fall offering. Oh, but then there’s that helpful mp3 recording about how to get started creating your signature program (hey, maybe it’s even the one I sent you?!) and you decide you really should listen to that again before you do anything else.
And then next thing you know, it’s lunch time and you’re worn out from thinking so much. And so you decide that maybe you’ll just take a little break. Until later.
You’re just not making much progress.
So you sit down again the next day and make a few notes. And gather a few ideas. And reorder your notes. You add to your to-do list. You might rewrite your to-do list. And look, once again, for that binder with the training program you bought last year that had all those templates in it. Or you start to listen to the mp3 and realize that you need to back up and actually DO the first step.
And suddenly your eyes glaze over.
You’re overwhelmed and distracted.
Now you’re thinking about all the stuff you really need to get done around the house. You actually contemplate doing the yard work you’ve been putting off. Yep, weeding the front flower bed is starting to sound pretty good right now. So you take a little break. And do some weeding. Or, maybe check your email while you think about weeding. And feel the pressure of all the business ‘stuff’ you aren’t getting done.
So everything from your business to-do list gets moved to tomorrow. And you promise yourself that you’ll get everything organized first thing tomorrow. And then you’ll really dig in and get focused.
Maybe tomorrow it will all come together.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced that or felt like that’s pretty much how most of your days go.
Yep, it can be pretty depressing.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Or stay that way.
Is your to-do list a mile long?
When there is more on your plate than you can handle – and honestly, when isn’t there? – what you need is a “go-to” plan.
You need to create an environment (in your head) that will allow you to focus and get your projects initiated, implemented, and finalized. Right?
Let’s start with three simple steps.
Let me show you how to create an environment conducive to productivity and focus. Make sure you’ve got your monster to-do list, your notes for the week, or your monthly business goals in front you. Then, read on. Let’s start with three simple steps:
- Prioritize your list or your goals. Take a look at which projects or tasks are the highest priority for you. What is causing you the most stress? Be honest with yourself as you prioritize. The reality is that they can’t ALL be at the top of the list. Circle the highest priority items or rewrite your list in order of priority.
- Choose one of your top priority items. Just one. Choose a project or task that feels ‘ready’ to be worked on. Choose one that you can actually make progress on at this time. Choose one and no more than one. Trust me on this. Choosing one priority item is the way to narrow your focus so that you can, well, focus. And that’s our goal here. Focus.
- Release the other items on your list. For now. For right this minute. They don’t exist. Put away your list. Put it in a drawer or turn it over if it’s pinned to your bulletin board. If it’s pasted in your calendar, put a nice colorful post-it or piece of paper over it. I’m not asking you to tear it up or throw it away. So often, our mental and physical energy is being drained worrying about things that we cannot take care of at this moment. That doesn’t help anything get crossed of the to-do list, does it? Wearing yourself down is counter-productive. I’m asking you to mentally release the rest of your list for right now. This is the third step toward narrowing your focus.
Sit down and begin.
You simply cannot do it all. And you certainly aren’t “doing it all” when you’re shuffling paper, reading email, feeling overwhelmed, and not producing what you intend to. You aren’t solidly building your dream business if you aren’t sitting down to work and actually focusing your effort.
Take the next segment of time you plan to devote to your business projects and simply focus on the one project or task that you chose from your list. Start there. Start now. Set a timer and begin. Work until the timer has gone off or you’ve completed that task.
Then reevaluate what’s next. One thing at a time. Just one. And before you know it, you’ll be knocking things off your list like never before! One at a time.
Give yourself permission.
Remember, only you can release yourself from the tyranny of your to-do list, your feelings of overwhelm and fears of non-productivity. Once you give yourself permission to release that burden, and only then, can you actually move toward your goals calmly, joyfully, one step at a time.
So, please, give yourself permission to release your to-do list and focus on one task, one project, each time you sit down to work on building your business.
It will lighten your load and increase your focus. If you don’t do it, who will?