Solopreneur? Increase Your Productivity by Narrowing Your Focus

Our world seems to value multi-tasking. We are expected to do multiple things at once, with attention going in multiple directions. When you have so many things to do, it can be difficult to focus and be productive. As a result, one of the best things you can do as a solopreneur is to narrow your focus and concentrate on only a few things at a time.

What’s the Most Important Thing Right Now?

Before you go crazy trying to get everything done, prioritize your task list. What is the most important thing for you to do right now? Consider which business items you want to accomplish first. Whether it’s putting together a social media campaign, answering emails, or writing a blog post, try to figure out what the most pressing thing to do right now is.

In some cases, you won’t be able to accomplish some tasks until preliminary objectives are met. Recognize that this is the case, and order your task list so that it flows naturally. (Prioritizing your tasks is the thing to do right now.)

Once you know what your priority is, focus on that one thing first. If you have more than one big project you are working on, break it down into bite-sized tasks, and devote a certain amount of time each day to it. The important thing is to block out a certain amount of time in which you are only doing one thing.

Once you finish an item on your list, move to the next important item and focus on it. You don’t need to be doing multiple things at once. By narrowing your focus in this way, you will be more effective at getting things done.

Fighting Distractions

It’s tough to fight distractions. They’re all around us. However, there are ways that you can minimize distractions. Some of these strategies include:

  • Set a timer and work exclusively for that time period. When the timer goes off, allow yourself a small break to stretch your legs, meditate, get a snack, or engage in some other activity.
  • Use full-screen view: In some cases, it’s possible to use a full-screen view on your computer. Switch your screen to this mode, and the only thing on your screen will be what you’re supposed to be working on.
  • Choose ideal times of the day: Pay attention to when you are most productive. Then, focus on working during that time period. It can also help to work when natural distractions, such as children or a significant other, aren’t present. Do as much work as you can when you have minimal distractions.
  • Assign times for social media and email: Rather than answering your email as it comes in, or flitting off to Facebook or Pinterest periodically, choose regular times to engage in these activities, and stay away otherwise.

Trying to do too much at once as a solopreneur can backfire on you. Multitasking doesn’t help you accomplish more. Instead, it divides your focus and results often results doing a poor job on most of your projects. Narrow your focus, and you are likely to increase your productivity — and your work is likely to improve as well.

Written by Tom Drake

Tom Drake writes for Stupid Cents and Canadian Finance Blog. Whenever he's not working on his online endeavors, he's either doing his "real job" as a financial analyst or spending time with his wife and two boys.

2 Responses to Solopreneur? Increase Your Productivity by Narrowing Your Focus

  1. My daily and weekly to do lists are sometimes the only things that stand between me and chaos. I am guilty of checking email way too often though. I should probably try working with Outlook closed and see if it improves my productivity.

  2. A very good friend of mine refers to this as “do the dreaded deed first”. Usually, the most important thing on our agenda is the one that will have the biggest impact, so we dread doing it. No idea if that’s fear of failure, fear of success or some other fear, but it’s real easy to busy ourselves through creative avoidance to keep us from doing what’s most important.

    Those who can discipline themselves to do the dreaded deed first are probably the biggest success stories.

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