Marketing your business online is overwhelming. For everyone. You’re not failing if you don’t always feel on top of things.
It’s not just all you need to learn and all you need to do, it’s that you’re learning and doing it on a digital platform that is filled with constant distractions.
Does this sound familiar?
“Some days I look up and it’s the end of the day and I’ve not accomplished one single thing toward my goals. My competition seems to be everywhere and producing so much — videos and blogs and white papers and Tweets and Pinterest graphics and on and on! How are they doing that?! Do they have more hours in the day than I do?I really need to figure out how to be more productive!”
Sadly, you’re working with the same number of hours in the day everybody else is working with. And I’ll bet those guys aren’t any smarter, more creative, or more hardworking than you either.
So what’s the secret?
It’s not an app or a better project management tool or an improved filing system that you need. Don’t get me wrong, all these things are great, but you don’t have a productivity problem.
You have a focus problem.
How do I know you have a focus problem? Because in today’s world of digital distractions and multi-tasking, we all have a focus problem.
The good news is, those who recognize that and take a different approach — a more focused approach — stand to gain a competitive advantage. Get more done, be less anxious and overwhelmed, and produce more valuable things to put into the world too.
Professor Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World came up with a formula:
work accomplished = time spent x intensity of focus
So, the goal is not for you to be busier. Or to try to cram more into your day.
The goal is to get into more states of flow during your work day: longer periods of intense focus without any interruptions.
That sounds simple enough, right? No, I agree, it doesn’t sound simple at all. It means first creating an environment where you can work without any distractions — both those created by others and those that are self-imposed. MUCH easier said than done (and I’m going to be discussing this topic a lot in future posts.)
And then it requires re-training your brain a bit, because most of us have the attention span of fleas. (You know what I’m talkin’ about!) When our minds get fatigued, we’re used to flipping back and forth between tasks on our to-do lists, checking email, getting a quick fix of instant gratification on Google, Facebook, Instagram…
Working like this for any length of time has the power to change the way our brain functions, to the point where we lose the ability to sit still for any length of time — focusing on one single task in deep, focused concentration, and without any interruptions.
The good news is, you can re-train your brain! It might be a little uncomfortable at first, and you might need to build up (maybe you start at 10 minutes and work your way up to an hour, two hours — three! Just imagine what you could get done!)
Even a few more minutes spent each day “in flow” can be transformative — because pretty soon your brain will start playing along and the act of concentrating on a single task will become much more comfortable.