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A Lesson From A Box of Cereal

As entrepreneurs we are drawn away from focusing on what makes us money daily, from household chores to the internet. So how can we focus and get stuff done? Why do we wander of from the tasks of the day that make us money?

Distractions from the table
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As a start-up business this is a behavior we have to work on and be aware of. Heck even old hats at business struggle here to, it is about discipline. A dear friend and colleague of mine is an organizational expert for business owners and here is her take on the subject:

Carrie Greene: I was having breakfast with my children. We're not an overly talkative bunch in the early morning. We were talking about the plans for the day and making idle conversation.

My son Josh finished his cereal. He was still hungry and wanted more. He got up, went into the kitchen, got the cereal and brought the box with him to the table. He poured himself more cereal and put the box down on the table.

As soon as he put the box down the quiet talking at the table stopped and all four of us stared intently at the cereal box.

Sounds perfectly normal, right? It was, and the question is why did this happen? None of us had any interest in what the box said. In fact, we had all seen the box before and had already read everything on it. The point was that it was in front of us and therefore drew our attention away from the casual conversation we were having.
Sure our little chitchat wasn't that important but in comparison to re-reading the side of a cereal box it's vital. Yet, the box called to us.

The same thing happens in our business. We might be focusing on something intently and working on it when something new is put into our line of sight and distracts us from the doing what's important.

It might be something insignificant such as a "you've got mail" notification that pulls you off course. You know what happens next, an hour (or two) later you realize you're still "doing email."

These little seemingly unimportant things grab our full attention. It's up to us to stop the distraction or pour what we need out of the cereal box and put the box away.

Here are five strategies you can take to help you assess what is important and keep your attention where it needs to be.

1. Be aware of the types of unimportant things that call your attention.
2. When you begin to work, purposefully decide what you want to be doing.
3. Clear the deck (your desk, your mind, your to-do list, your conscious) of other ideas and should they come up while you are working remind yourself of your goal.
4. Permit yourself to focus on the things that are really important and more importantly, permit yourself to say no to focusing on the other things.
5. Keep your eye on the prize. What is the most important thing for you to be concentrating on that will help you, your business and your clients?

Bonus strategy...shut off your email notification!

Carrie has a great new book out as well that would be a perfect addition to you collection of books for business: From Chaos To Cash check it out.

So what are you going to apply to your day? Hopefully all 6 strategies! For me shutting off the email notification is the hardest one. In my mind I need to reply to clients when they email, not later now. Where did that thought process come from? It is crazy how many destructive habits we have acquired, time to take a stand and shift so we can generate more revenue. Are you ready to kick that cereal box off your table?

What are your challenges in getting things done?


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