Every person in an office struggles with focus and fighting off distraction. For a business owner or entrepreneur, the challenge of finding and holding focus is critical each and every day. While the cost to a company might be significant if staff are surfing social media all day, the cost to a business if an owner can’t maintain focus is life or death for that organization.

So how does a business owner find focus when leading a busy life, being pulled in all directions?

Here are 8 tools we use and promote with clients that have proven effective:

  1. Set Strategic Time – most entrepreneurs, consultants, coaches and business owners get trapped in the day-to-day dealing of their operations. Few owners have set aside a time block of 2-3 hours each week to simply be strategic. This means getting away from the office potentially, turning off all email and interruptions, locking the door or finding a quiet space. Look at major challenges and opportunities for the business and just start to play with solutions, options and get back to blue skying how you see the business unfolding. Don’t move to tactics plans yet… just focus on the bigger picture. Most owners are strategic less than 5% of the time and this first step moves you towards a healthier 20-30% range.

  2. Closest to the Money – the priority and focus for what helps a business most today is usually around cashflow. So choose items to focus “closest to the money”. Collecting payments, getting agreement signed, invoicing, collecting AR, alliances, new sales. These are the foci that make everything else run smoother. Each day look at what CTTM steps can be taken and do them first.

  3. Set Your Own Priorities – most owners are bombarded with lists of “should do” or items for staff, clients and outside sources. The items most important to you, as the owner, are often moved down the list repeatedly. You have the best idea of what priorities will move the company forward, so take time to quietly define what your priorities are. One expert suggested a morning routine of exercise, breakfast and then focused priority setting… all before checking email, turning on your phone or allowing outside influences.

  4. Cut Distractions – This is a similar strategy suggested to make strategic time a reality; eliminate all the things that disrupt your day. Close doors, lock them if you need to, turn off email (yes, you can turn if off), work outside your office, clear your workspace. Once you start to find you can create 30-60 minutes of undistracted time it will empower you to start to create larger blocks of focused time. One entrepreneur used 8am to 10am each day as his undistracted personal work time and claimed it was the single most powerful tool that allowed him to build his empire.

  5. Time Tools – we live in a world where everything has an alarm system, a reminder option and a timer available. So use these calendar reminders, alarms and time tools to constantly be reminding you what to focus on. Each personal work period should buzz on your phone and computer. Each critical task should have a time allocated to it and a reminder or multiple ones are set. Focused people don’t just say “I’ll remember”. They know that a business owner has a to-do list in the hundreds of items and finding focus comes from a system of time tools.

  6. Third Location – many entrepreneurs say they can’t get the peace and quiet they need to really focus at their office… or at home. So finding a third place is critical. This is often a coffee shop where you can watch some people, have some background noise but mostly work at a table with your favorite drink and your head down. You bring one to two focus items to the third place with you, not a huge briefcase or file folder. You go, you work, you get away and then you get back to the office.

  7. Reset Strategy – As an entrepreneur you have outside forces trying to disrupt your focus and priorities all day long. When something really does create stress or an emergency, in order to get back to a focused state, you need a reset strategy. This is much like a professional goalie in sport – someone scores against them and they go through a ritual to reset themselves and get back in the game. What’s your reset ritual? Go for a walk for 10 minutes, review your goals and get your favorite drink from the kitchen. Create a Reset Strategy today to get you back in the focus zone fast.

  8. Your Focus Tribe – While most people can be distractions, some key people can bring you back into focus quickly. Perhaps this is a mentor or a peer but it is someone that can remind you what you’re supposed to be focused on. This is someone you can call and they quickly say, stop doing that and get doing this. They can yell a little to snap you into focus but you know they are yelling from a good place with a smile to support you. Don’t have someone like this… then pay someone; get a coach or a mentor or a peer group now.

Author's Bio: 

Marty started his first company at the age of 21. He has owned 13 companies to date and is a serial entrepreneur. He has dedicated a large portion of the last 12 years to being a coach and mentor to both entrepreneurs and other coaches. By taking to the practical and actual experiences in his world and applying them to other companies, situations and industries, he has found the common ground for all business globally, and has built a curriculum around this foundation for all his companies and his coaching.

Marty currently operates 4 companies with operations in the US and Canada. His first company was a technology startup, after which he ventured into audio production, software, retail, the hospitality industry and more recently, advertising/marketing. He has been a crucial player in all phases of start-up and growth.

Marty was awarded the 2002 Business Coach of the Year for North America and the 2003 Recipient for Global Contribution to the coaching profession*. In addition to international recognition, Marty has been selected as one of Calgary’s Top 40 Business Professionals under 40 in 2004 by Calgary Inc. magazine. Marty was awarded the CYBF Canadian Mentor of the Year in 2006. More recently, Marty was selected one of 18 entrepreneurs to represent Canada at the G20 Entrepreneur Summit in Nice, France in 2011 and Mexico City in 2012.

Marty Park | martypark@evolvebusinessgroup.com | 403.283.8337 Ext. 1