5 Minute Biz Magic: Find Your Focus
Starting or running a business can be overwhelming, there’s always some task or some decision to make, and the buck stops with you. So I’m always a fan of any way to make things easier, simpler, and cost less. Today’s 5 Minute Magic is really about finding a way to establish, maintain, or re-gain your sanity as a business owner. What I mean by that, is to have a way to focus when things are chaotic, through the ups and downs of cashflow, and to develop a “guiding star” to help navigate the wilderness of starting and managing the business.
In college I took ballet classes, and one of the key areas for completing difficult pirouettes, piques, and chaines turns, involved a technique called “spotting.” When the body is rotating multiple turns at rapid speed, it creates a dizzy, disoriented feeling. That can go badly quickly, so having a way to control the brain’s perception and maintain a feeling of balance is critical. Dancers will locate a spot in the horizon and fix their gaze on this spot while turning, and return their eyes to this spot quickly after completing each turn, in order to stay in control.
Managing a business, especially in the early stages and during periods of growth, presents similar challenges. There are so many things going on that it is difficult to ignore the disorientation and dizziness from changing from task to task and managing multiple high priority projects rapidly throughout each day. Finding a way to create and maintain your own focus is imperative. Without focus, entrepreneurs can easily be blown with the wind and fail to complete the most essential milestones that will help grow the business or resolve the crisis of the day.
One of the ways that I personally tackle the focus problem, is by actively logging the most important tasks for the week in my personal Big 3, the 3 “buckets” of priorities that I’m juggling for the week. For me that typically involves balancing household, business, and personal tasks. On Monday morning I review my schedule and itemize the key things in each area that need to get done. Throughout the week I check things off, aiming to complete these key areas, regardless of anything else that comes up during the week. At the end of the week, I review the list to see what got done, and then on the next Monday morning, set new priorities for the week ahead. It’s simple, it takes 5 minutes or less, but it has become an important way for me to maintain focus from week-to-week. Also, because I love crossing out completed tasks, I use a paper calendar (this one pictured is the UnCalendar, which I love and have used since 2009!), but the same thing could be done using EverNote, Google Calendar, or any other electronic tool.
If you’re struggling with focus in your business, or want to brush up on any of the essential entrepreneurial skills (sales, financial forecasting, market validation, team development, product launch, etc.), you might consider participating in our next Sprint program, where we teach these skills and work 1:1 to help entrepreneurs put their plans into action and turn good ideas into revenue-generating businesses.