If you’re like most entrepreneurs you love new ideas, engaging content, and the excitement of taking on something different. This is the curse and blessing of the entrepreneurial mind. The gift of seeing the potential and value in just about anything is one of the things that define you as a successful and driven individual. It’s also greatly responsible for an entrepreneur’s tendency to be a serial quitter.
Quitting projects before they reach completion, even if they may bring great value to the business, are classic signs of what I call the bright and shiny object syndrome. This well known, rarely discussed problem can be every visionary entrepreneur’s Achilles heel.
I know, you’re thinking: but I like new and exciting things! Of course you do! That’s why you need to give yourself permission to explore, imagine, and dream.
How to have it all.
When I broach the topic of focus with my coaching clients, many of them snap to a defensive response. Bridging the brain-gap between being a visionary and a doer seems virtually impossible to many of them; as though they have to choose between one or the other. Ideally, as a small business grows, the leader’s role transitions into one of connector and idea-generator, but in start-ups and micro-businesses the leaders typically have to play a dual role.
Here are a few tips that will help you be in that dual role effectively, yet not feel deprived of your time to explore all of the possibilities for your future.
Set yourself up for success.
There’s something scientists call cognitive control. It means we can reign in our impulses in view of the possible consequences and rewards. If you learn to manage your attention you will be far more productive.
Begin with these simple steps and you’ll see a lot of improvement in your ability to focus and get things done.
Fortune 500 companies including, Google, General Mills, Aetna Health Insurance, and even the traditionally conservative McKinsey & Company have invested millions into mindfulness programs for their employees. That should tell us something!
Don’t get intimidated, meditation is defined in many ways: your brain does not have to be a blank slate! Guided visualizations are often the best way to begin a meditation practice. Simply search on-line for a few that resonate with you. Keep them short and sweet and try to spend time at least every other day practicing your meditation. You’ll quickly see a difference in your attention span and stress levels.
2. Define completion
If you have a large project to complete break it into segments. Define what you intend to achieve in your blocks of work time. Stay real! If you find yourself missing the target often, then you are expecting too much of yourself. It’s best to begin with smaller goals and experience (and celebrate) your success than to fail every time.
3. Find your one-track mind
You’ll have to block out distractions when you’re in the “doing” mode. Turn off the phone and close your email and browser if you don’t need them for the project you’re working on. Set aside two-hour chunks of time without worrying about what others need and everything else that must get done. Shut out the rest of the world and keep focused!
Tip: Sometimes I set my timer to go off every ten minutes as a reminder to remember to focus! All too often that little beep catches me lost in social media or drifting on to different tasks. Turn off the multi-tasking brain and stay on track!