Staying focused in a busy life is hard. I have a 4 year old daughter, I work three days a week at a very physically demanding job, and I also try to maintain my relationship with my husband and my friends! And then in addition to all of these things I am trying to run this business…
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. 9.10am I get home from the school run make a quick coffee then sew and do other Messy Stork work until 11.20 when I go to fetch her from school. We spend the afternoon doing kids stuff, outings dog walking crafts etc.
She’s in bed by 7.30pm, though she rarely settles until nearer 9pm . During the evening my husband and I eat dinner together and then I do some more sewing / other Messy Stork business. I collapse into bed about 11.30pm ready to do it all again tomorrow.
On the days I go to my salaried job I start at 5am or don’t get home until 10.30pm. So those days are a write off unless I can fulfil some very easy tasks as often I’m too tired to sew a straight line!
Here are 3 starting tips for staying focused… And one brilliant strategy that really works to keep you focused and on track.
1.Really want what you are going to do
As in REALLY REALLY want it. If you want to be a full blown mumpreneur as apposed to being a mum with a side hobby then 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 dolls 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 the dolls and bears 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. Sometimes I leave myself a note of what to do next.
If I am in the middle of a sewing project eg. attaching a dolls head to her body i will place the 2 pieces together in a specific area of my desk. With my pins next to it. If I only get time to pin that’s ok for now. The next time I will leave the pinned pieces on my sewing machine. If I get interrupted again I leave the sewn head and body with the bag of toy filler next to it.
So I never come to my desk and think WTF am I doing next and waste 10 minutes faffing around trying to organise myself! For most mumpreneurs it’s a case of utilising every snatched moment so make sure you 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.
At this moment my business plan is only a flow chart of pictures and arrows. It would look messy to someone else but it works for me. I know what my overall objective is, and I know the steps I am going to take to get there.
If you need to borrow money from the bank to get your business up and running then you need a great deal more than this plus you need to write it in the correct format!
But aside from this situation you need a clear outline to look at regularly to keep yourself on track and excited about your goals. And 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 over all 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.
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.
You pick your goal which can be business or personal. Your goal does need to be (like point 1 above) something you REALLY want. Next brainstorm up to 120 ‘microactions’ ie steps or actions that you can take that will move you towards achieving your goal.
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.
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 and 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! Julia Bickerstaff.
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!!