Staying focused in a busy life is hard. This year I finished working my part time job at a supermarket to work full time making keepsakes.
Working at home is blissful in that I don’t work family unfriendly shifts or commute! But I do need to be my own boss. I have to micro manage my time, and make sure I don’t slack off or day dream.
Staying focused includes me keeping all the balls in the air. As well as my actual sewing process; if I were to forget to plan posts on social media or interact with others on social media I wouldn’t have a business. So every day I need to plan and be intentional with my time.
Do you struggle to stay focused? Mumpreneurs and all mums have so many things to try to accomplish every day. It’s always a juggling act. Here are my solutions for juggling smarter.
A day in the life
Here’s a typical day in my life… My daughter wakes at 7am, so we all do too. She stays in our bed and watches kids TV for a bit until it’s time for the breakfast, getting dressed, walking to school routine.
At 9 am I get home from the school run. I make a coffee, then sit down to post on Instagram and comment on other Instagram accounts. If I interact with other Insta accounts just before and after my post I know my post will be much more likely to be seen, liked and commented on; instead of being lost in the stream.
Then I ‘commute’ upstairs to my sewing room to sew until school pick up time.
During the evening I have dinner with my hubby and watch some TV or read.
I collapse into bed about 11.00 pm ready to do it all again tomorrow!
Here are my 3 tips for staying focused… And one brilliant strategy that really works to keep you focused and on track.
3 Basic strategies
1.Really want what you are going to do
As in REALLY REALLY want it.
If you want to build and sustain a profitable business, you need to have a business that you love the very bones of. If you have found something that you think will generate side income but it’s not something your heart is in then it will be hard to want to work on it consistently when you already have a lot of demands on your time. Your business needs to be something you will work at it no matter how tired or busy you are.
I really love the process of making keepsakes and memory bears. But I don’t love some of the other elements to growing a business like crunching the numbers and using social media. However my desire to continue enjoying making keepsakes is strong enough to keep me on track.
You need a business that has enough core elements that keeps you excited to get you through the less exciting but completely necessary other elements.
2.Leave your workstation ready
At the end of each period of work on my business I leave my task in such a way that I can immediately pick it up again in my next period. I leave myself a visible clue. I often leave myself a note of what to do next.
If I am in the middle of a sewing project eg attaching a bears limbs to its body I will place the pieces together in a specific area of my desk. With my buttons, extra long doll needle and floss next to it.
So I never come to my desk and think “wahh what am I doing next”, and waste 10 minutes faffing around trying to organise myself! Set yourself up for success.
3.Have a business plan
Again this is about focus. Staying focused on your over all direction so you don’t get side tracked into wasting time.
For 2020 I have goals that I want to achieve each month. They are written down and pinned to my office notice board. Each week in addition to planning my makes I look at my biz goal for the month and visualise a way to work towards it during the week.
Lots of people create a vision board with pictures of their goals. For me a written goal works as I am carrying a clear picture of what I want to achieve in my head.
The pic below is from when I was first setting up my sewing business.
It was just a flow chart of pictures and arrows. It looked messy but it kept me on track. As I focused more and more on leaving my supermarket job so I could spend more time with my family I dropped doll making as it did not generate enough money.
By knowing where you are headed and most importantly WHY you can change course if necessary.
Create a clear outline to look at regularly – this will keep you on track and EXCITED about your goals. If you have a clear outline of where you are you are heading, you can see if extra ideas that you have fit with your overall scheme.
The BRILLIANT strategy
Join the 100 day goal.
Honestly this is a game changer. It is a project in which you choose a goal to achieve in 100 days. Each day you complete one microaction (more on microactions in a minute) to work towards achieving your goal. The 100 day goal runs 3 times a year with set start and finish dates.
You pick your goal – which can be business or personal. Your goal does need to be (like point 1 above) something you REALLY want.
Brainstorm up to 120 ‘microactions’. These are steps or actions that you can take to take you towards achieving your goal. So when my goal was to extend my range of keepsakes, my microactions included… Looking for new patterns, making up those new patterns, assessing the keepsakes I had sewn. Improving elements I didn’t like. plus buying eyes, cotton felt etc to use to create them.
Here’s a quote from the 100 day goal website based on the example of having a sales goal to sell 10 handmade dresses…
“Action is the stuff we do that directly works towards achieving our goal (eg going to the market to sell the dresses). Motion is the stuff that just keeps us busy (like making lots of dresses but not actually taking the Action to sell them!) We tend to do lots of motion thinking that it’s Action!”
In essence from this list of microactions you set up a journal in which you plan to do a microaction each day, and you record your progress. By writing in your journal daily including writing your goal at the top of the page you are training your mind to stay focused on the goal.
There is a Facebook group here, full of other people also striving for their goals who will provide you with support. You in turn can share your knowledge and experience to help them. With the combination of doing at least one microaction every day, the support group, and recording and tracking your progress you will be amazed at what you can achieve.
The fantastic mentor Julia Bickerstaff sends out a pack at the beginning of the goal period containing printables to help your planning, and daily emails throughout the goal period to help keep you on track. The Facebook group is full of small business owners with a wide variety of goals and experience. From artists, and B&B owners, to Etsy shop owners and authors. So there is tons of fabulous experience available for you to draw on, plus some great advice and suggestions if you want to ask a question.
Lastly, why 100 days?
“You might not know this, but 100 days really is the BEST length of time to work on a goal! Longer than that and you’ll have no urgency to get going; shorter and there’s not enough time to accomplish something big. 100 days is the Goldilocks of Goals. It’s just right!”
So, are you ready to get focused?
This in a nutshell, is my personal list of ways that I use to get myself focused. If you have any other strategies that you use that work for you please let me know in the comments box below, because I’m far too good at drifting off at a tangent!!