You tackle major challenges and obstacles on a daily basis, and may welcome the long hours to get the job done right. While this approach may keep business builders at the forefront of decision making, growth and problem solving, it also creates a chaotic environment that may prove difficult for even the most motivated of entrepreneurs. A plethora of distractions, disruptions and difficulties present themselves each day, as companies develop through the initial phases of business in hopes to gain stability in the market. The growing number of tasks, obligations and duties that business builders take on can make is difficult to stay focused and concentrate on the job at hand. It may seem like multitasking is the only way to succeed, but learning how to train your brain to enter a state of total concentration is of vital importance in increasingly competitive markets.
Entrepreneurs are the backbone of a business, supporting efforts in all departments and lending a hand wherever possible. When a business builder is unable to concentrate on his or her work, lacking focus and mental stamina, performance and output suffers. Low productivity by an individual employee is damaging enough in a startup company, and even more hazardous when the poor performance is offered by the X factor in the company – the entrepreneur. Therefore, business leaders must understand their brains’ limitations to work around them for optimal focus and productivity levels. Otherwise, entrepreneurs put entire enterprises at risk of fatal mistakes and delays that could greatly hinder short and long-term plans during critical phases of development.
Do you understand how to focus under hectic situations and high stress scenarios? Do you integrate mindfulness into your daily life? In an interview with Entrepreneur magazine, author and NeuroLeadership co-founder David Rock offered a few tips to help train your brain to function in top gear during work hours.
If it requires creativity, prioritize it
Some business builders may think it’s easiest to start a day off with mundane tasks that require little thinking or processing, eventually gaining momentum to tackle more challenging duties. Unfortunately, redundant tasks, mindless busy work and simple chores tend to turn our brains off while still draining valuable mental energy and sharpness in the process. Slow-moving, undemanding jobs do not stimulate the brain, but rather allow it to lose focus, making it difficult to regain high concentration levels later in the day. At the beginning of a workday, entrepreneurs are starting fresh and have yet to be challenged, offering optimal mental energy levels and stamina to take on more creative, demanding tasks.
Consider reversing the standard order of daily operations, pushing forward with tough problems, difficult tasks and time-consuming projects that require significant amounts of focus to be completed properly. Each major decision made throughout the day chips away at mental energy, until we are exhausted by the end. Taking on the most demanding tasks early will ensure the most amount of focus and energy is available to consider all options, test those choices and make the best selection for the company. From there, you can take on decreasingly less important tasks as the day winds down, allowing for mindless jobs to be completed when energy levels are low. This system better aligns mental and physical abilities with the needs of the duties, rather than forcing important tasks to be completed when entrepreneurs’ mental gas tanks are running on empty.
Use your time intelligently
Just as it is important to assign daily tasks based on energy levels from morning to evening, it is also vital for entrepreneurs to be realistic with how many hours of total concentration they can offer to the company. Of course a business builder wants to provide 10 to 12 hours of highly productive work and decision making to a company as much as possible. Unfortunately, the average person struggles to remain in a high state of concentration for more than six hours a day. Rather than expecting yourself to beat the odds and somehow offer more hours to the company than is normal, acknowledge your limitations and use what highly productive time you can provide as responsibly as possible.
Hours of highest productivity tend to be when the sun comes up and late at night. Some entrepreneurs are early birds and function well in the morning. Others are night owls and find themselves reenergized when the sun goes down. Furthermore, the vast majority of professionals tend to think the clearest when outside the office. Try to take note of when you are more determined and rejuvenated to take on tasks throughout the day, and what alternative environments spur such feelings and determination.
By identifying the conditions that support your unique brain power and help you best function, business leaders can create work schedules and strategies to play into these strengths and optimize their time, energy and resources to benefit the company throughout the day.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out the other parts of this series on Staying Focused:
Part 1: Concentrate on Business
Part 2: Sharpen Mental Performance
Part 4: Regain Concentration