Back in 2005 when I was preparing for my first online business, there were no Whatsapp and Social Media. The only distractions were email and SMS.
Nowadays, there are a lot more distractions.
Most of them are not only unproductive but counter-productive.
I’m sure you know what I mean.
All the endless chatting and scrolling on social networks…
I used to love working at night, because that was the time when most people had slept. I usually worked until 2am.
But now that I know sleeping late is bad, I try to sleep before 11pm and wake up at 6am.
Without the quietness of late night, and with increasing distractions from Social Media, and from kids! (I love this distraction, but they are still distraction from business aspect), I had to find another way to get the focus I need.
Here is a trick that has worked for me.
1) Plan and create an action list
I have a 1-2 year plan. It doesn’t require changes too often once I have decided on one.
Then I have an action list, which details all the things I need to complete in order to achieve the plan.
This list is what I look at regularly.
This list is ever changing because whenever I have a new idea, I will add it to the list. Whenever something is done, I will remove it.
Everyday I work on the things in the list.
The amount of time to work on the list is not fixed, because it depends on how fast I can finish the daily business chores, which is not in the list, but necessary to operate the business.
I just have to make sure that things in the list are progressing.
What I’m trying to achieve is this…
Imagine you’ve set a goal to run 50km. It doesn’t matter how long you run everyday, as long as you run, it’s just a matter of time before your goal of 50km is achieved.
So, by creating a detailed action list and working on the list regularly, I can be assured that my big plan will eventually be accomplished.
2) Set aside a certain time to ONLY work
Another thing I do to keep myself focused, is by setting a certain time that is only dedicated to creative work.
During this time, I will refrain from checking emails and messages.
Honestly, my ‘undisturbed’ time is not long. Just 2 hours a day, from 10am to 12pm.
Here is how my typical working day looks like:
8:30am ~ 10am – I start work at 8:30am and strive to finish most of the business chore by 10am.
10am ~ 12pm – This is my ‘undisturbed’ time. I work on things in my action list in these hours. No email, no message, no phone.
12pm ~ 1:30pm – It is still working hours, but it will not be so intense. I give myself the flexibility to do other things while working.
After 1:30pm – After 1:30pm, the kids are back from school. I will check and reply emails, because they do not require much focus. Other than that, I am free to do anything I want, with the kids or for myself.
As you can see, I don’t really work a lot. But this way of time management has helped me to keep the business growing.
There are many people who seem to be working hard everyday but practically achieve little things.
Because they are not focused.
One can be sitting in front of the computer whole day, working on stuffs.
Question is, are they taking focused actions that lead to a definite goal?
No. Most people work spontaneously.
2 hours of focused action is far better than a whole day of spontaneous work.