Entrepreneurs spend most of their days dabbling in all aspects of the company, trying to benefit each department in some way with their hard work, determination and business acumen. Because business builders know the company inside and out, have been with the organization since its inception and have a large stake in the enterprise's success, they should be interested and engaged in several operations at once. Yes, determined leaders help push companies through trials and tribulations, often running on confidence, motivation and inspiration, but high levels of productivity are needed to move forward as well.
The highly competitive marketplace, uncertain economic conditions and fickle consumer behaviors are making most industries fragile environments for startups. One major error, delay or disruption could potentially end a business before it takes off or eliminate a valuable competitive edge rarely enjoyed by burgeoning businesses. To prevent this scenario, entrepreneurs must make sure to offer high levels of efficiency and productivity to all business tasks they take on, just as they expect the same from employees. Overworked leaders fall victim to distractions and errors when concentration levels slack, making them more of a liability to a company than a benefit.
When you find yourself deviating from a state of total concentration, do you know how to regain your focus? What strategies best realign your mental energy toward top priorities in hectic environments?
Bringing It Back To Square One
Entrepreneurs are often gifted in the art of multitasking, able to juggle several duties and obligations simultaneously without dropping the ball on any one responsibility. However, there is only so much the human brain and body can handle, and when a breaking point is reached having too many balls in the air can lead to disastrous downfalls. While it can benefit a business leader mentally to do busy work while on a tedious or prolonged business call, it may be less beneficial to draft a business proposal while instant messaging a partner or hearing verbal reports from staff members. Other times, entrepreneurs may find themselves concerned with other tasks they have taken on when trying to complete different duties, not allowing their mental energy and focus to align with a single job at a time. Multitasking is only effective when focus and concentration are allocated to each task equally, without disruption or errors in performance.
When business leaders find themselves functioning below their optimal levels, Entrepreneur magazine recommends a few easy ways to regain focus in just a few short minutes:
Make business goals
Losing your ability to focus on key business-related tasks can often transcend into an even bigger problem: forgetting why you are an entrepreneur in the first place. The strongest asset a business builder has in his or her arsenal is the determination and gumption to challenge the odds and try something new despite criticism, doubt, limited resources and overpowering competition. Entrepreneurs are motivated by their belief in the business concept, and must never lose that inspiration while tackling multiple challenges and duties throughout the day. When a business builder loses focus of why he or she is in business at all, mounting jobs and obligations will start to seem overwhelming and all motivation may be lost.
When these feelings arise, take a few minutes to close your eyes, eliminate external distractions and think through the original business plan to remind yourself of what you believe in and what is most important. Remembering what ideas first spurred you to launch the business will help you regain focus on pressing tasks, reenergizing you to push forward and achieve growth.
Even if you are able to maintain the motivation and drive of the business concept through challenging times and long work days, staying focused on what tasks are most important and which duties can be taken care of later can be difficult. Startups have a laundry list of jobs to be completed in a short period of time, all appearing to be of the utmost importance to business growth and development. As an entrepreneur, you must know which obligations are important and urgent and which can wait, prioritizing all duties so as to check them off a list in an appropriate and effective order. Not prioritizing accurately can lead to disjointed operations, costly errors and delays or significant oversights, further inhibiting the achievement of goals.
Take a few minutes to literally write down the top priorities of the day, focusing on what tasks must be completed down to long-term, ongoing projects. Make sure not to list items too far in the future, as regaining focus must start small by taking on daily demands and then increasing concentration to other projects.
Check in with your body
It is common for an entrepreneur to feel as if staying focused on business-related tasks can only be achieved through mental exercises and rest. However, there is always a connection between the physical body and mental energy that is often overlooked by business builders. Feelings of being overwhelmed by duties and drowning in business tasks will increase stress and cause you to eventually lose focus. Mental stress is often seen and felt in both brain functioning and processing as well as physical energy or wellness. Just as it is important to align priorities with mental energy, it is also valuable to reconnect a busy mind to basic biological processes.
Consider stopping your work for a few minutes and closing your eyes to allow yourself to focus on your breath and nothing else. Taking the time to acknowledge how your body is able to automatically bring oxygen into the bloodstream and reenergize physicality will help calm a flustered mind and ground you back to what is important. Inhale and exhale deeply to feel physical strength to support mental stamina. While focusing on your breath you can also do some minor stretches to get the blood flowing and shake out stiffness during long hours. Be sure to inhale deeply and push deeper into a stretch while exhaling, moving with the natural rhythms of the body to relieve stress and increase energy levels. Incorporating this kind of mindfulness practice into your daily routine can dramatically reduce stress and anxiety.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out the previous parts to this series on Staying Focused:
Part 1: Concentrate on Business
Part 2: Sharpen Your Mental Performance
Part 3: Condition Your Thought Process