How to Ditch Distraction and Finally Focus

Abstract avatar vector illustration about cogwheels gearI don’t know about you, but being a solo-entrepreneur can REALLY bring on distractions.

If you show up for a job, you know where to go, when to show up, what to do and when to clock out.

But when you own your own business the opportunities are limitless.  This is a double-edged sword.

On one hand, we have the ability to do just about ANYTHING that we want.  This can be pretty amazing and I certainly won’t complain about it.

But on the other hand, we have the tendency to try just about EVERYTHING.  Well, this is a different story.  There’s only so much time in the day and for every minute we get distracted that’s one LESS minute that could be spent building our current business.

So how in the heck can we ditch the distractions and regain control of our time.

I’m going to suggest a super technical and complex approach called an “Ideas Folder.”  Of course, I’m being sarcastic about this being overly technical and complex.  This is a very simple way to keep your attention focused where it should be…building your CURRENT business and earning an income.

An ideas folder can be a physical folder that you store in your filing cabinet (which is what I used to do) or it can be a digital folder on your computer desktop, or better yet, tucked away in your documents folder so having it “in your face” doesn’t create more distraction.

Here are 3 reasons an “Ideas Folder” can be so powerful:

  1. It allows you to stay focused on what’s working NOW in your business.  You’re here for a reason and you made the decision that your current project or business was viable.  Don’t let complacency steer you off course.
  2. You can always start a new idea later.  Just because you came up with a “zinger” of an idea today doesn’t mean that you can’t tackle it next month…or next year.
  3. Most distracting ideas are just that…distracting.  When you set an idea aside and come back to it later, it’s my experience that this idea doesn’t seem quite as brilliant as it did before.  In fact, I’ve tossed ideas out entirely after going back a few days, weeks or months later.

But how do you set it aside without feeling like you’ve lost a great opportunity?

I tackle this in 3 steps:

  1. I have a folder on my computer named “Ideas.”  Pretty brilliant, eh?  Inside this folder rests other folders representing each of my ideas.  That simple.
  2. Next, I create a word doc and brainstorm any thoughts that come up regarding the idea.  I might write down people I can contact, possible business names, etc just so that I feel that I won’t “lose” any of my thoughts if I come back to this later.
  3. Last, I spend $12 on a domain name if the idea is going to be based on a new website, blog, podcast, etc.

That’s it.  This process might take 10-15 minutes, but then I can let it rest instead of wasting hours or even days pursuing an idea that is actually just a distraction.

I hope this helps take control of your time and ditch the distractions.  Of course, you can do the same with newsletters or blogs that you read, but are currently finding distracting.  Make a list of the names, unsubscribe or create separate email folders to send them and take a break from them for awhile.  You can always subscribe again when the time is right.

If you have any ideas or tips about getting out of distraction and into action I’d love for you to share by leaving a comment below.



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Leave a Reply 4 comments

Gary Pool - May 9, 2014 Reply

Hi Tom,
Thank you for your frequently helpful and inspiring information. I always appreciate it.
Gary Pool

    Tom Buford - May 9, 2014 Reply

    Hey Gary,

    Thanks as always for checking it out!

Dave - May 10, 2014 Reply

I often have several projects going at the same time. If they don’t have a due date, I put them in a list on the todolist. I spend a hour on one and then move it to the bottom. If it is complicated I can link the Porject to a document that details what I want to do and when. This way I don’t worry about forgetting to do something. When ideas about a project come up I can quickly go to that project sheet and enter it, for future action.

Liesel - August 24, 2014 Reply

Oh I LOVE this! It’s my constant challenge to stay focused and not rush off with a new idea (and I do seem to get so many every week!)

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