10 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

10 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused
September 25, 2017 focusdigitalgh

Today, being an entrepreneur can be all encompassing. You are always on, all the time. The danger of living in a world where it is possible to be on call 24/7 is that the majority of your time may be spent fielding phone calls, emails and social posts — meaning the tasks you wanted to complete remain untouched. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We spoke to 27 successful entrepreneurs on what strategies they use to maintain focus and get work done.

1. Don’t let your inbox take over your to-do list.

Name: Tim Chen
Company: NerdWallet
Strategy: Each Monday I prioritize what I want to accomplish that week, and then I think about what I’ve done at the end of the week and share it in an email to my employees called “Reflections.” It’s a great way to make space in your head, otherwise your inbox and email becomes your to-do list, which is ridiculous because you didn’t create that to do list. [It was sent to you by other people.]

2. Create time blocks

Name: Daniella Yacobovsky
Company: BaubleBar
Strategy: I am pretty OCD about creating to-do lists, and I am constantly prioritizing what I put at the top of the list. I also think it’s important to break your workload down into digestible nuggets. I break things down into things that feel doable within a span of one to two hours. That helps me methodically sort through everything that’s on my plate.

3. Take it one step at a time.

Name: Oliver Kharraz
Company:
Zocdoc
Strategy: I had the benefit of studying at a Jesuit monastery. We studied complicated texts and immersed ourselves, pushing our attention spans to the very limit. It’s like meditation in that you learned to direct your thoughts. It’s an active skill, like working out.Pick something that you want to think about, and only think about that. Don’t let anything else enter your thoughts. Try for five minutes in the beginning — and know that just like a marathon where you start with just a half mile to begin with, in the end you’ll be able to do it for hours once you train for it.

4. Get outside.

Name: Merrill Stubbs
Company: Food52
Strategy: Take breaks. I really step away from something after I’ve been working on it, take a short walk, talk to someone who has nothing do with what I’ve been focusing on and stay hydrated. I usually just walk around our office in Manhattan.

5. Compartmentalize.

Name: Jennie Ripps
Company: Owl’s Brew
Strategy: I try to compartmentalize my days. For instance, I’ll spend an hour before the workday sending out emails, and I won’t look at incoming emails until everything is completely outbound. I find that I focus more when I do only one thing and not a million things; it cuts down on the noise.

6. Stay active.

Name: Ryan Holmes
Company: Hootsuite
Strategy: Like lots of entrepreneurs, my attention is always pulled in a dozen directions at once. The one thing that really helps me stay focused is exercise. After I jog, do yoga or get out and do some backcountry skiing, I always come back with more clarity and focus.

7. Take steps toward the big goal.

Name: Jen Rubio
Company: Away
Strategy: My best advice is to keep your eye on the prize. I think if you always keep in mind the bigger thing you are working towards, it’s a good gauge to make sure that everything you’re doing is a step towards that goal. An inch toward the bigger goal can actually be a massive step forward. Whether your bigger goal is to IPO your company or you’re really focused on building a team, make sure everything you’re doing every day is in some way a step towards that. When those opportunities come up, take a step back and ask yourself if it is actually contributing to the brand you’re building.

8. Meet your goals head on.

Name: Julia Hartz
Company: Eventbrite
Strategy: Embracing challenges and learning from failures. When we set out to build Eventbrite, we had to face many challenges and come up with creative solutions to get past them. Each time we learned new ways to cope, we became a stronger and more cohesive team. However, staying focused is an ongoing challenge: The bigger you get, the more opportunities you have to take your eye off the prize.

9. Put your phone away.

Name: Dave Rusenko
Company: Weebly
Strategy: I have a personal policy that any time I’m with someone — at a meeting, dinner, or over drink — that I will never check my phone or watch, and make sure to keep 100 percent focus on the person. This carries into our meetings. We have saying at the office during meetings, “laptops down.” Unless you’re the presenter, the rule is everyone needs to shut their laptop in the meeting. It allows the person to be physically and mentally present.

10. Solitude.

Name: Jeff Chapin
Company: Casper
The strategy I have to remove distractions is pretty simple. Headphones and music with no words and an office where there’s no people.
Writer: Nina Zipkin
Credit: entrepreneur.com

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