As an entrepreneur, maintaining focus can be a challenging task, and it’s not limited to those of us with ADHD or organizational difficulties. Even the most driven individuals can struggle with finding direction or becoming overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list. Today, I want to dive into the secrets of top entrepreneurs and leaders who have mastered the art of laser-focused attention, and share with you our own methodology, the Hero Focus Method, that can help you stay on track and achieve your goals.
The Hero Focus Method has been developed by our team and has proven successful in bringing clarity to our objectives and keeping us productive during stressful times. As I share these tips and tricks, it’s important to note that I’m not just preaching theory – I’ve personally battled with focus issues and tried numerous approaches before discovering what works for me. So, today we’ll delve into what mindset, tools, and leadership can make a difference in improving your focus, ultimately bringing you closer to your goals and helping you unlock your full potential.
So, let’s start with the problem at hand. As entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves bouncing from one task to the next, losing productivity and possibility along the way. Working from a to-do list is an amateur way of operating and is hindering your success. High achievers ditch the to-do list and instead focus on a clear through line for their work.
So just like those high achievers – don’t rely on a simple list of tasks to guide your work. Instead, you need to find a way to get your brain in a groove, allowing you to perform at your best. And that’s where productivity comes in.
But before we can talk about productivity, we need to address some common distractions that we often take for granted. The most obvious one being our devices. With notifications popping up left and right, we’re constantly being pulled out of our work. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Top performers don’t have notifications turned on, and neither should you.
However, turning off notifications isn’t always enough. As humans, we’re naturally drawn to things that are designed to be addictive, like our phones and apps. That’s why I take it a step further and put my phone in a different room when I need to focus on a task. This way, I’m not even tempted to check it.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re trying to focus on a task, but there are just too many distractions around you?
I’ve definitely been there. Even just having multiple tabs open on my computer can be enough to throw me off track. It’s like my brain is constantly trying to shift focus to something else. It’s the whole “squirrel” concept, where something catches your eye and your brain starts thinking about it, even if it’s just for a split second. And that’s not even taking into account the legitimate distractions that come up in life, especially as a parent.
But the thing is, we have to be intentional about what distractions are worth our time and attention. As a mom of four, I know that if something happens with my kids, that’s a distraction that’s worth it. But a lot of the distractions we allow into our lives are things that we’re doing to ourselves. We’re the problem. And that’s where we have to start figuring out how to eliminate those distractions and create an environment that allows us to be more productive and focused. It all comes down to setting up your schedule and being intentional with your time.
The HERO FOCUS Method
I’d like to share with you a simple yet effective technique that I have been using for a long time with my team and clients. It’s called the H.E.R.O. F.O.C.U.S. method and each letter stands for something that can help you refocus when you feel out of balance.
The first step is “harnessing your vision”. This means taking a step back and looking at the big picture before diving into the details. For me, this means revisiting my vision and reminding myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. So, before I get focused on the granular, I have to go into the big picture. When I tap into the vision of what I want to achieve, it creates an energy within me that I bring to the table. This energy is what sets the tone for my workday and how I approach my tasks. Instead of feeling unmotivated and uninspired, I am driven by the bigger picture and the purpose behind what I do.
The second step is “elevate”. This step is all about elevating yourself – your energy, your mindset, and the way you choose to show up as a leader. For example, I was feeling really tired and unmotivated today. But instead of giving in to my fatigue, I had to shift my mindset and elevate my energy. I did this by taking my shoes off and walking barefoot on the grass to ground myself, jumping on the trampoline to get my lymphatic system moving, and listening to music that energizes me. So, I had to find a way to elevate myself in order to show up the right way.
The third step is “review your goals”. This is something I do every day to stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed. By breaking down my goals into smaller, manageable tasks, I can stay focused on what needs my immediate attention and what my team can help me with.
Now, I know some people might feel resistance towards taking the extra time to do these steps. But in my experience, taking 10 to 15 minutes to get myself right before diving into work actually saves me time in the long run. When I optimize my time by focusing on the high leverage tasks that have the greatest impact on my business, I’m able to produce more and see a greater ROI on my efforts.
O is for “optimizing” your time. Most of us believe that being busy equates to being productive, but that isn’t always the case. Focusing on high leverage tasks is the key to making the most out of your time. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of work, but we need to remind ourselves of the bigger picture. What are the tasks that are truly mission-critical and that will help us move forward towards our goals?
Identifying these tasks is crucial. You need to know which ones will generate the most revenue, attract the most clients, or have the biggest impact on your business or team. By focusing on these high leverage tasks, you can avoid spending time on things that are not as critical. It’s about making the most of the limited time you have and investing it where it matters most.
Then, we go into F – “finding your focus”. So, once you’ve optimized your time and identified the high leverage tasks, you still have to narrow your focus even more to really see results. That’s where you start to identify those key tasks or projects that would have the biggest impact on your business.
To help me stay focused on this, I use a whiteboard where I have listed six main areas of focus in my business. However, one of these areas stands out as the game-changer, the one that pushes all the other five forward. I highlight it in a different color, star it, and make it my main focus. Whenever I sit down to work, my attention goes straight to that one thing, and I give it my energy and attention first. This has been crucial in helping me stay on track and make real progress towards my business goals.
O is for “organizing”. After identifying my key tasks, I focus on organizing them into a task management system. So I still have a to-do list, but I prioritize the most important tasks during the period of the day where I’m most focused and energized. The other tasks that require my energy and effort are saved for later when I’m not as productive. I use Asana to keep track of my tasks and progress, and it has been a game-changer. As a visionary, I used to hate all task management systems until we found one that works for me. It helps me avoid the stress of trying to remember all the tasks and allows me to anticipate and manage the fires that might come up.
Next is C and that stands for – “control distractions” as much as possible. I have a dedicated workspace, and my team knows my sweet spots, which are usually from 9 am to noon when I’m writing and creating. We avoid any meetings during that time, and team connections happen outside of those hours. I use noise-canceling headphones to minimize distractions, and I try to keep as few tabs open as possible. If I don’t need internet access, I even shut it off to eliminate the temptation to get sidetracked. It’s all about creating a system that works for you and eliminates unnecessary stressors.
U is for “using” the 80-20 rule. Focusing on the 20% of tasks that generate 80% of your results is not a new concept, but it’s something that I had to actively work on implementing. I used to have this never-ending to-do list that I thought was necessary to be productive. But in reality, a lot of the things on that list were low value tasks that could be delegated or eliminated altogether.
I’ve also learned that there are certain times of the day where I’m naturally more energized and focused and during that time I try to prioritize those high leverage tasks that will make the biggest impact on my work. It’s tempting to try to do everything at once, but I’ve learned that I’m much more productive and effective when I focus on the most important things during my peak energy times.
And finally, S is for “setting standards and boundaries” around how I operate throughout my day. We are so used to bouncing from task to task, constantly checking the to-do list and feeling overwhelmed by all the things we have to get done. So now, when I have a specific task that needs my full attention, I set aside a block of time for it and make sure there are no distractions. For example, when I need to record in the barn studio, I clear my schedule for the next three hours and focus solely on that one task. I don’t look at my to-do list or check my phone because those things can wait.
Sometimes, I have shorter blocks of time, like 30 minutes, where I focus on the less important tasks that I still need to get done. I set a timer and challenge myself to finish the task within that small window of time. This helps me stay on track and get things done faster.
If you’re struggling with focus and productivity and you just can’t seem to get in that state of flow, I’ve got something that can help you out. It’s a playbook that I usually only share with my clients, but I’ve decided to make it available to everyone. It’s called the Focused Entrepreneur, and it’s a step-by-step process that has completely transformed the businesses of those who have used it and you can get it for free at luminaryleadershipco.com/focused.
Secrets to Staying Focused
Now, let’s jump into the little known secret strategies of a lot of entrepreneurs and leaders when it comes to staying focused.
First, it’s important to acknowledge that your mindset is a practice. So, how do you prepare your mind for the work you’re about to do? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question and simply mimicking someone else’s practice without considering how it works for you can lead to frustration and disappointment. You need to have the leadership and confidence to develop a practice that works for you and helps you achieve your goals.
If meditation isn’t your thing, don’t force yourself to do it. For me, getting my mind right involves a few different things. First, I focus on my body. If I’m feeling low energy or my brain is foggy, I’ll do some grounding exercises, such as taking off my shoes and letting my bare feet touch the ground. This can boost my energy and help clear my mind. I also jump on a trampoline for a minute or so to get my lymphatic system moving, which is essential for overall health.
Once my body is in a good place, I focus on getting my mind right. Visualization and prayer work well for me, but everyone is different. Visualizing my goals and getting excited about them can be challenging since my mind tends to wander. Writing things down helps me stay focused. Prayer is also an important part of my routine. So, the key takeaway here is to find what works for you.
The Pomodoro technique is another strategy that can help you stay focused. This technique involves taking breaks to recharge the mind and refocus. It is not about sitting for hours on end without taking a break. Instead, it is about breaking down work into intervals and taking breaks in between. The standard for this technique is about 20 to 25 minutes.
Also, successful entrepreneurs and leaders make far fewer decisions than one might think. There are a few reasons for this. One is that they have someone in place to act as a barrier between them and the decisions that need to be made. This person is someone they have empowered and trained to make decisions based on the company’s values. As a result, the leader can trust that this person will make decisions that align with their vision without having to be involved in every step of the decision-making process.
Another reason is that they have a clear understanding of their values, priorities, goals, and mission. With a tight focus on these things, they know right away whether something is the right fit or not. When priorities are locked down, it’s easier to make quick decisions because there’s no need to ponder over whether or not an opportunity aligns with one’s true north. It either fits or it doesn’t.
By minimizing the number of decisions that need to be made, we can become more productive and effective leaders. This means empowering our team members to make decisions without constantly needing to come to us for approval. It also means being intentional about the tasks we take on and eliminating those that don’t align with our priorities. Even seemingly small decisions like which email to open or respond to can add up and contribute to decision fatigue.
Top achievers get super specific. They make sure their goals are measurable so that they can stay motivated and focused. Having a specific goal to work towards keeps me inspired and motivated. It helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed by a long to-do list and instead, I can laser focus on whether a task will help me achieve my goal or not.
And lastly, focusing on one thing at a time. I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible mentors who have demonstrated the ability to block out anything that wasn’t the one thing they were focused on at that time. For example, if they were writing a book, they were just focused on the book and they delayed gratification on other projects that might come more easily or might get them a win sooner, to stay focused on that one thing. They didn’t multitask.
I know how frustrating it can be to feel like you cannot get focused for your life- but there are many things you can do to increase your focus. And before you dismiss these tips as things you’ve already tried, ask yourself: have you implemented them consistently and with practice? It takes time, effort, and patience, but you can get there, you can get focused!
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
- If you’re struggling with focus and productivity and want some help, download this FREE Focused Entrepreneur Playbook: luminaryleadershipco.com/focused.
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