How to stay focused with tips

 

Many entrepreneurs and small business owners will tell you that staying focused is one of the biggest hurdles they face. Many will also tell you that focus is the key to success.

 

Working on your own or as part of a small team, which many entrepreneurs do, especially when starting out, takes a real dedication, self-motivation and steely focus. We all have so much to do, so many tasks to juggle that it’s difficult at times to remain focused on the job in hand.

 

Do you flit from job to job, never really focusing on one thing at a time?

If I allow myself, I will easily take another look at my emails, or quickly check social media (this is a little bit more allowed for me, as it is my business to keep an eye on social media) and get distracted by what’s going on around you?

Yet, when I make a conscious effort with a clear focus, I make more progress and feel better about the list of tasks I have set.

We can get caught in the trap of wanting to do too much, and if you are anything like me, your head is full of new ideas and things that you want to do. The problem is when you try to do everything, you put less focus into any one task, and your brain is always thinking back to what else you have to do. You often move from one task to another without finishing the first task. Achieving less than you’d like and taking longer.

 

Here are some tips to help you stay as focused as you can, and helping you achieve more!

 

  1. One task at a time.

Concentrate and focus on one task or project at a time. Allow yourself time to finish this task, but don’t move on to something else until this is completed. This way you are focused on one task and will progress a lot faster. Don’t get distracted by emails or social media and be firm with yourself.

  1. Energy times

Get familiar with when you have the most energy during the day. If you are full of energy first thing after your morning coffee, then now is the time to tackle those large, difficult tasks that need the most effort. The thing you are dreading or putting off- this is the time to get your teeth into it. You can deal with smaller, less taxing tasks like emails or admin at times when you may have an energy slump, so for me, early afternoon. Find what works best for you.

 

  1. Chunk your tasks

If you have a really big project or task that you are finding daunting, then break it down into more manageable chunks. So for me, I spend a lot of my days creating content, posting in Facebook groups, scheduling on social media tools, interacting with people on social media. This could all come under the same area, but instead of looking at this as one big task to get done, break it down. So allow an hour for creation, an hour for scheduling and so on. Don’t forget to write it down.

  1. Schedule

Scheduling your tasks or mini tasks makes you more focused on that particular item, it makes you more accountable if you have written it down somewhere or added it to your planner. If I have scheduled in tasks or even written down what I want to get done today, I am much more likely to get them all done, than if I don’t write them down. With my client work, I have to schedule my diary, to ensure I have left enough time for all my clients. So I work in chunks of time. I know for the week ahead, which client I’ll be working with for each chunk of each day. And when I’ll be working on my own business.

 

  1. Accountability Partner

I’m hearing lots about getting an accountability partner lately, and it works really well for so many people. Lots of groups that I’m part of on FB tend to do this too. It works by telling your accountability partner (or group if you prefer), often on a Monday, what you want to achieve for that week, what your goals are and how you plan on achieving them. You then check back in later in the week, to see if you have each reached your goals. You then look at why you have reached them, or why you haven’t. Making yourself more accountable and having to think about your plan, helps keep you focused on what you need to do to get there.

 

  1. Go gadget free!

So for many of us, this is impossible. I know I can’t be without my phone, laptop, iMac etc, but again, these are tools for my business, so I’m using them all constantly. If however, you are doing something offline, give yourself some gadget-free time- allowing yourself to concentrate on that task alone, without emails popping up, or your phone going off. You’ll be surprised how much more you can actually fit in and how much more focused you are when you aren’t getting distracted every few minutes!

 

  1. Close extra tabs & windows

This one really helps me stay focused on the tasks at hand. I often use the same programs each day, but if I’m not using them for the task at hand, I can be tempted to quickly take a look at my web traffic today or how many new opt-in’s I’ve had in my MailChimp account etc. Just leave the tabs or windows open that you need open for your task or project and close the rest!

 

  1. Exercise or get outside

A lot can be said for a brisk walk outside to clear your mind and get you in the right frame of mind for focusing back down on your task in hand. Take some deep breaths, take a few minutes and come back refreshed, ready to get started on the task!

 

 

  1. Stay motivated & inspired

Again this one really helps me stay focused. When I am feeling inspired and motivated, I feel like I can do anything. I know what I need to do, like write a blog post, and if I am feeling motivated, then I’m more likely to start, stay focused and finish the blog post. In turn, this makes me feel more motivated as I’m pleased I’ve achieved what I said I would. What makes you feel motivated & inspired? Reading inspirational books or blogs? Keeping Inspirational quotes and affirmations around you? Remembering your why? Whatever works for you!

  1. Keep two to-do lists

This is something I am definitely going to try.

You know when you are busy working away and something pops into your head….

’I must pick up something for dinner’,

‘don’t forget to pack the kids football stuff’,

‘did I wash that dress I need for the weekend, oh and I need to book the restaurant’.

 

Write them down on one big to-do list. Your actual work related tasks can go on the list too- but instead of trying to do all these things at the same time, stay focused on the one task you are doing now- or keep a second list- with just the next 3 tasks you are going to achieve written on them. Keep the first, full list out of sight, so you don’t get distracted by it. When you have completed your big task or the 3 mini-tasks that you have added to your 2nd list, now you can add something else. This will help keep you focused, without you forgetting all the other little things that as a busy person (and often parent!) we need to do too!

 

I hope you like these tips to help keep you focused. Let me know what your favourite tips are to keep you focused.

 

Perfect work life balance for busy business mums

Trying to find a work life balance as a busy business mum

 

So this is something we all want to get right, but it’s so difficult to achieve.

I think there is more pressure than ever to be a good mum (or dad), great partner, run a beautiful home, keep on top of the washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, hobbies (the kids not mine!), shopping and the list goes on. And that’s before we have even thought about the actual business we run or job we do.

 

How you decide to manage all of this, can have a huge impact on your life and those in your immediate family.

There is no right or wrong answer, it’s really about what works for you and your family. Work life balance is something most parents really crave. Recent surveys reveal that many parents are eager to make changes so they can work more flexibly, even if it affects their pay, because they know that having time with their children is important.

I remember when my children were little and people used to say to me all the time ‘enjoy them whilst they are little’ ‘it goes too quick’ and all the usual clichés. But it’s so true, in the blink of an eye my eldest is approaching double numbers this year and my baby will be 8 this year. I have no idea where those years have gone!

 

Me.

 

For me, personally, I’ve been lucky enough that I have always been self-employed since having my children, and part of the reason my husband and I decided this, was so that I could be home for my children. In the early years we owned and run a guest house. Now I’m not saying that I didn’t work full time hours, we worked like crazy, 7 days a week, never switching off, but it allowed me to be there for our children.

When they were in nursery age and we had sold the guesthouse I started an e-commerce business, that again worked around the children, I would pack and post the orders in my couple of hours a day that my children were at nursery. When the business grew, they had started school and that enabled me to work during school hours and during the evenings when they were in bed.

But this soon took over and I couldn’t switch off from it either, working way more than a set full time job. I’m now in a lucky position with this business that I can again work during school hours and evenings if I like, but at weekends I switch off, and enjoy the time with my family (well, as any parent will tell you, half enjoy, half counting down the minutes until the kids are back in school!).

 

According to a recent study, over the next 5 years, we will see 1 in 5 mums turn mumpreneur and become their own boss. This can give you the flexibility to manage your work and home life balance. It’s not for everyone but for many it seems the perfect solution.

 

If you are already a business woman or it’s something you are wanting to become in the near future or a busy mum that works full time and you are finding the stresses of finding that perfect work life balance too much, take a look at the tips below.

 

Tips.

 

  1. Put time aside for yourself, partner and children.

It’s important to spend time with your partner or children where you put the laptop (yes and the phone) down and spend quality time together. My husband and I always eat together at the weekends with all the kids and we make sure it’s a phone free zone so everyone just enjoys our time together and actually talks!

  1. Schedule time to relax

If you struggle to actually take time away from work, then build it into your schedule. Whether this is time with family & friends or time for you to enjoy doing something for yourself- pop it in your diary and make it part of the plan. Make it a small aim, even once a week, can make this more achievable than aiming big to start with!

 

  1. Stop the things that drain your time or energy.

Many people spend time on activities that are draining or we are wasting time on. If you get no value out of something that is taking up your time, then stop doing it.

 

4. Outsource.

What tasks or jobs can you outsource? This is a big one, you can claim back some of your time when you outsource. You can outsource things like your social media management for your business, emails, admin or any other business tasks that are eating into your time or that you don’t enjoy. Get in touch today to see how I can help.

5. Errands.

Are there household jobs that you can outsource to free up some time? Ironing, cleaning, shopping online, grass cutting etc. Even if you have a tight budget, you may find that these jobs are worth it to you, because they give you some of your valuable time back.

 

  1. Keep active.

It can be difficult to keep active and moving when you feel you don’t have time to exercise. But exercising can give you more energy and help you concentrate, allowing you to be more efficient.

 

  1. Set Boundaries.

You have to be able to say no at times. So set boundaries, don’t accept work calls late at night and don’t be tempted to reply to every email as it pops in your inbox. You need to have times when you are available and times when you aren’t.

 

  1. Limit your work hours

When you run a business, the list of jobs to do is never ending. You could literally work 24hrs a day and still not be finished, because there is always something to do. But knowing when to say enough is enough for today, so you can switch off and rest, allowing you to wake up refreshed is important to you and those around you.

 

I’m sure there are plenty more tips to help you get your perfect work-life balance.

 

If you have any tips you’d like to share, pop them below.

 

 

 

Why I’ll forever be ‘Normal’

This is a real ‘thing’ for me. I just gel with ‘normal people.’ I’m not a corporate person; I’m a normal (there’s that word again!) working class girl from South Wales. I don’t make any apologies about that fact and I am who I am- ME!

I say it all the time, I’ll be on the phone to a client and I’ll hear myself saying “ I like working with normal people” I don’t mean to offend or imply that some people are ‘abnormal’ and I guess in a way I’m giving a heads up of who I am. By normal, what I actually mean is people who are approachable, friendly, and relatable. Who don’t intimidate and who are open and down to earth.

My husband often says to me, “stop saying normal babe”. Maybe I should re-phrase it, my vocabulary isn’t that limited- but again, It’s just me!

 

I decided to blog about this, so my clients know in advance who they are dealing with. If you are looking for a corporate girl (actually above the age of 35, so probably should start referring to myself as a lady?), who is well spoken and talks the talk, then, do you know what, we may not be a perfect match. I say this as sincerely as I possibly can, and if that’s you- that’s great, but I won’t change who I am. I’m professional and love working, I try not to speak in jargon, but in a way anyone can understand.  I love helping clients grow their business using social media to increase their online presence, but I like to work in my way too. I like to be good-natured, approachable and relatable.

I’m like an excitable, animated child at times, who is passionate about what I do and I like to think that comes across when I talk to people. I’m friendly and am a complete supporter of anyone who is trying to make something happen. If you are in business, trying to make something work, then I’ll offer any support I can, forever dishing out the positive, inspirational quotes. And who doesn’t love a bit of inspiration!

 

So where did this blog post come from?

Granted, this post is a little different to my usual content that I may share with you, but if you are a client thinking about working with me then it’s only right that you know upfront who I really am. I don’t really do ‘airs & graces’. I may try to speak slightly nicer and a tad slower when I’m among people that don’t know me well, but that’s mainly because if you ever see me among my nearest and dearest- I speak so fast, it’s difficult to keep up!

True story- my 9 year old son recently told me that I have a phone voice when I talk to clients (don’t we all, just a tiny bit!), but when I talk to my friends I use my ‘gangster’ voice. Now, I was a little mortified at this revelation from my son. I feel I should put your mind at ease at this stage. I’m not a gangster, and neither do I EVER talk like one. I’m not sure at 9 he really knows the true meaning of a gangster, so I think he has the word a little muddled and is referring to my ‘friends & family’ voice. Which as I say, is fast and excitable and usually fairly high pitched with lots of animated hand gestures and an expressional face!

 

I’ve digressed again. So I have just got in from a great  Bizmums network meeting, where, again, I have met some fantastic business women. Each of whom, have their own story and journey. We are all at different stages, but it’s so inspirational to get to know these talented women, who have all decided to take the plunge and work for themselves. Sometimes daunting, sometimes lonely. But you know what makes it easier, is having people to share the ups and downs with. I’m lucky, I have an extremely supportive husband and family and my mum is forever competing with my husband for my biggest fan award. But talking to these women today, made me realize, there is no need to be anybody else than who you are.

I like the phrase ‘normal’. Lisa the lovely content writer in the room suggested ‘down to earth’ and another option is ‘relatable’. They all, in my eyes mean the same thing. Someone I would be just as happy to grab a coffee with and have a good old natter with, as I can discuss business. These are the people I’ll buy off, or ask for advice when I need to talk something over, because people buy from people.

This is no new concept; this has been a fact for as long as I can remember, but maybe even more now. In this world of digital, we need to see the face behind the business, the real life person, who has the struggles as well as the successes. Shock horror…life isn’t perfect! (gasp!)

We have up’s we have down’s and that’s how we hopefully relate to one another, because we share the juggling act that is life, and because we all share that goal too- we want our business to succeed and we won’t stop until we do.

And then we obviously won’t stop, because it will just be new challenges and goals and we continue to work our bums off. I’m not sure I should even be using the word bum on a business blog post- but you now what, that’s me, I’m normal!

 

I’ve just met, two lovely ladies that are local and have taken an idea of a sunscreen applicator for kids had it manufactured and it’s now available to purchase. Solar Buddies, if you’d like a peek. They were both inspirational and extremely ‘normal’. I got on straight away with them both and will keep in contact. They mentioned they would like to start vlogging, to show the ‘real’ them behind their product and my advice to them was ‘just do it’, people like to see the reality, the real you behind a business.

So here I am, taking my own advice.

 

I left the meeting feeling inspired by what we had all talked about and when leaving spoke to my wonderful accountant Iona, about who are our current favourite online persona’s within business- our common theme?

The ‘normal’, relatable, approachable, charismatic, friendly people are the people we like, follow and connect with. These are the ones we end up purchasing from too and they are the ones we want to learn from and aspire to be more like.

 

In this online world of social media, you need to show you. If you aren’t showing that, then you are really missing a trick. Show your businesses personality, brand and tone. If you feel you don’t have the time, get in touch and I can help understand you and your business and work with you, representing your brand, helping increasing your online presence.

(Now don’t get me wrong, if you & your business are the complete opposite to me, that’s fine too. I got a B in GCSE Drama, so I can be anybody you need me to be! 😉 )

 

So that’s sorted it for me once and for all.

I’m me, I make no bones about it, that’s just who I am!

I love to connect with people who are proud of who they are and happy to be themselves.

So do introduce yourself below and say hi!

 

If you’d like to connect on my social media channels, links are to the right.

 

 

Goals & New Years Resolutions

 

So, personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of New Years Resolutions.

We all know the facts. We make them. Start the next day and a week later most people have already failed. In fact the official stats say that only 8% of people stick to their New Years resolutions.  They place a lot of pressure on people just because it’s a new year.

If you want to stop eating so much unhealthy food, or you want to exercise more, why wait until the New Year, just start now. It’s the same with Mondays. So many people wait until a Monday to start something. If you want to change something- why wait!

But Goals? Well, that’s a different thing- I do love a goal!

SCROLL DOWN FOR A FREE GOALS WORKSHEET

Successful businesses set goals. These are plans to reach a certain milestone by a certain time. They can be set in small steps as long as you are making steps toward your goal. Goals should be reassessed and changed if need-be throughout time to keep you on the right path.

Over 80% of businesses fail to keep track of their goals. This is huge! But the most important part of making goals is to map them out. We can all hope and pray for things that we’d like to achieve in our business but in reality that won’t do a lot. We need to write how we are going to achieve this. Map out your steps to achieving those goals you’ve set. There is a handy Goal Worksheet you can grab, if you scroll down to the bottom of this post.

 

If your goals are big goals, break them down into more achievable chunks, so you can still celebrate the small wins. When setting  goals ask yourself some questions about your goals, such as who and what do you want to be and what do you want to have.

“Fail to plan, plan to fail”

 

Here are 5 reasons why you need to make goals for your business this year.

  1. Measure your success.

We all want to grow and for our business to succeed right? But how can we see that without setting a goal. Long and short term goals can help you measure how successful you are.  There are loads of tools in place to help you measure success- but it’s just so important to start! And don’t forget to map out how. What actions are you going to take?

 

2.Motivation.

Reaching goals is a time to celebrate and look at what has been achieved. This will help motivate and keep  you and your objectives on the right path. Motivation is what drives you to achieve a goal and what keeps you going when things get tough. When you have a goal, something you really want to achieve and are passionate about, you’ll want to do it. Achieving these goals will in turn keep you more motivated. It’s important to not have too many goals at the same time. Break your goals down into smaller more achievable aims that add up to the bigger goal, but can be celebrated along the way.

 

 

  1. Sense of purpose.

A goal or aim serves a purpose. We need a purpose to remain effective. Purpose is the driver of our goals. Ask yourself questions to help define your purpose. These are just some to get you started..

a. What do you feel is your life purpose?

b. What motivates you?

c. What are you passionate about?

d. What were you born to do?

e. What inspires you?

f. What’s your why?

 

  1. Achieving things faster.

It’s a fact that when you have noted the things you want to achieve with a deadline you’ll achieve them faster. Just like homework at school, without a deadline would we get around to doing it? Goals help focus and get things done!

“You’ll fail at a 100% of the goals you don’t set.” – Mark Victor Hansen

 

5. Clarity.

Goals help business owners see themselves and their business clearly. It helps set unrealistic targets on ourselves.  Clarity and focus are important qualities for success. As soon as you write down your goals you’ll have more clarity and each time you review these goals, you’ll gain more clarity.

 

 

These are just some of the reasons why you should make goals for your business this year.

What are your goals for 2017?

Do you have any top tips? Please comment below.

Would you like a FREE downloadable Goals Worksheet?

 

Subscribe to our mailing list just below & we’ll send you a free goals worksheet RIGHT AWAY.

 

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