You’ve seen how successful entrepreneurs achieve their goals one after the other. You’ve seen them do more than they should within 24 hours. You’ve also seen them build and grow thriving businesses.
But you can’t seem to finish a single task without checking your email or responding to that one Instagram comment which spirals you down into a social media frenzy, and you end up not finishing the job you started.
Then you think that maybe if you multitask, you could get more done. But you’re surprised to find out that you’re still not doing as much as you should.
You then try to burn the midnight oil thinking that doing this will give you the additional time you need. But you end up like a zombie the whole day, never getting anything done.
So, how do these highly successful entrepreneurs actually do it? How do they stay focused enough to achieve their goals, and how can you do it too?
Today, we’ll let you in on the secret.
Excited? Let’s get right to it.
1. Set SMART Goals
Accomplished entrepreneurs always have Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound goals. This way, they have a clear direction for what they want to achieve, which will be a motivating factor when faced with challenging situations.
So, to maintain a strong focus on what you want to achieve, you should also have SMART goals.
Here’s how you can create SMART goals.
They should be Specific, which means having a crystal clear picture of what you want to achieve, like, “I want to build an ecommerce fashion store.”
Then make them Measurable by adding a value you can use to track your goals. Still using the example from before, you could say, “I want to build an ecommerce fashion store and make $3,000 from it.”
Once you have something to measure your goals by, you need to ensure they are Achievable. Now, a goal is achievable if it’s doable but also challenging enough to get you out of your comfort zone.
So, using the example above, if you have an offline fashion store making $2,000 a month, then having a goal of making $3,000 a month with your eCommerce store is an attainable and Realistic goal that’ll get you out of your comfort zone.
Finally, your goal should be Time-bound, meaning that you should set a hard deadline for when you want to achieve it. From our example, you could say, “I want to build an ecommerce fashion store and make $3,000 from it within the first three months.”
Once you’ve set your goals…
2. Create a to-Do List
Well-to-do entrepreneurs have a comprehensive list of all the tasks they’ll need to tackle to achieve their goals.
Creating a to-do list helps you plan which tasks to work on first, which ones you’ll do a little later, and which ones you won’t do because they don’t align with the primary goal (more on this later).
So, with the eCommerce store example, your to-do list could be something like this:
- Buy a domain name
- Create a website
- Take clear photos of all the clothes you want to sell
- Upload the product photos into the website
- Write product descriptions
- Build a marketing plan
- Start marketing
Once you create a list of all the tasks you need to do…
3. Prioritize Tasks
Most people rarely go halfway through their to-do list and end up feeling disappointed for not working through it because they do it all wrong.
On the other hand, accomplished entrepreneurs crush their to-do list because they work only on three of the most urgent tasks every day.
They know that the ultimate goal for their business isn’t getting things done but getting the right things done. Therefore, they don’t need to do every task they have on their to-do list.
So, how do you know which tasks are urgent?
By looking at their deadlines. Jobs with shorter deadlines are urgent and should have the highest priority.
But there’s a catch. Not all urgent tasks are important. So, you should also consider each job’s level of importance.
An important task is one that moves you closer to your goals.
Using the example on the to-do list, buying a domain, creating a website, and taking product photos are urgent tasks. But the first two (buying a domain and creating a website) have a higher level of importance than the last task (taking product photos).
So, you can delegate photo-taking and concentrate on buying a domain and building the website.
Now, the best way to know which tasks to work on and which ones to delegate is by creating a priority matrix from your to-do list. A priority matrix will help you determine the level of urgency and importance of each task.
4. Streamline Your Work
Well-established entrepreneurs use processes and programs to get more work done and keep their focus, which is excellent news. Why? Because it means that you don’t need to multitask or work on everything alone to get things done.
It also means that you get to be more focused on what’s important.
So, how do you streamline tasks?
Using Project Management Tools
Task management tools help you delegate less important tasks to your team giving you ample time to focus on more important ones. The best part of using a project management tool is that you get to manage your team and monitor each person’s productivity right from the tool.
Using Scheduling Apps
Scheduling content has become a norm. You can schedule almost anything nowadays, from emails and social media posts to videos and podcasts.
The ability to schedule content ensures that you focus on creating it whenever you want and not right when your audience is about to view, listen or read it.
Batching Tasks Together
You’ll find that most well-to-do entrepreneurs will batch similar tasks together to retain the creative rhythm they need to deliver content—a tactic that you can “steal”.
Here’s what we mean. You can write a blog post followed by a social media campaign because your creative juices will be flowing freely.
However, if you write a blog post, then help one of your teammates on a task they’re stuck on, like making a presentation, then circle back to writing content for a social media campaign, you’ll lose your creative focus.
Once you lose your focus, you’ll waste time trying to refocus, which ultimately makes you less productive.
5. Eat the Frog
Most accomplished entrepreneurs start their day by working on the most challenging task first (eating the frog). This way, they’re more motivated to work on the lesser complex tasks throughout the day.
You should also work on the most demanding task on your to-do list when you’re most productive so you can have the momentum to work on everything else.
6. Have Time to Focus
Most well-to-do entrepreneurs use the tried and tested technique of working on tasks in short bursts of time, which has proved to have excellent results.
Now, the most common time management method is the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro technique suggests that you should have intervals of 25 minutes of intense focus to work followed by a 5 minutes break. One cycle is called a Pomodoro.
After close to four Pomodoros, you then take a longer 15 – 30 minutes break.
Now, when you take a break, get out of your chair to allow your muscles to stretch. Also, stay away from the screen to give your eyes and mind time to regain from intensely focusing on the tasks.
7. Disconnect From Distracting Apps
When well-established entrepreneurs are at their most productive, they stay away from distracting apps. This way, they can focus on working on what’s most important first.
So, how can you keep off distracting apps?
Turn off notifications on:
- All of your messaging apps like Gmail, Slack, and Skype
- All your social media handles like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
- Project management apps like Asana, Trello, or Monday.
Now, if you don’t trust yourself to remember to turn off the notifications, you can block them using apps like Cold Turkey, RescueTime, or Freedom. These anti-distraction apps will help save so much time you’d have spent on distracting apps so you can focus more.
How these anti-distraction apps work is they let you:
- Set a timeline for when you want to focus on work
- Select all apps and websites that are distracting
- Help you set a timer for how long you should use these distracting apps and websites when working
Whenever you open a website or app that you flagged as distracting, these non-distraction apps will close them for you as soon as the timer you set to use the app or website goes off.
8. Take a Rest
For you to be as accomplished as most well-established entrepreneurs, you need to find time to rest. Rest is essential because it allows your brain to rejuvenate so you can focus on your work better.
Sleep is the best form of rest your mind needs, and you should strive to sleep well to be more productive. The recommended duration to sleep to get enough rest is seven to eight hours a day.
What’s more, whenever you take breaks, keep off your computer and any other screen to help your mind relax and rest so you can focus better when you get back to tackling your tasks.
You Can Crush Your Goals Too
The entrepreneurship journey is already tough, all of its own, and having distractions only makes it more challenging. So, to stay focused on achieving your goals, you need to get rid of anything distracting.
What’s more, you can create a to-do list, prioritize which tasks to take on and which ones to delegate to your team. But if you don’t have a team, you can work on what’s important and urgent first then what’s less important later on.
You can also streamline the tasks by working on the most challenging task first, batching similar jobs together, and using project management tools to monitor how work is being done, which ultimately helps you be more productive and get to your goals faster.
Finally, set some time aside to rest because your mind needs to rejuvenate to focus on your tasks much better.