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Focus, Focus And Then Focus Some More.....

Over the past 12 months I’ve been really trying to nail down what my ‘thing’ is. I know I tend to get distracted and want to do everything, i start things and don’t finish them, which isn’t conducive to building something of importance or influence, which is something i want to do. I had a revelation at the beginning of the year that my thing really is making. I want to allow people to make and create, i don’t want to sell finished products. I’m a creator of ideas, rather than of finished products. So I chopped a load of products of my inventory and really tried to focus with this new clarity. This led to some clearer goals for my business (which I’ve been frustratingly alluding to for ages now), and I’m happy with that but I’ve been really frustrated recently that I just haven’t been achieving anything, or moving quickly enough toward the goals I have set for myself. I’m always busy but only making tiny steps forward.

This has a lot to do with the fact that I’m working hard trying to keep money coming in, and this is a real juggle between trying to establish something new. I’ve been taken away from the parts of my work that really set me alight and I know other people love too… creating new products, styling shots, video tutorials. There’s so much in my head waiting to come out but I’ve not been prioritising it because I’ve been working on the nuts and bolts of the business, and just the day to day getting orders out. Plus throw in a summer holiday and a major studio move and I’m just trying to keep my head above water let alone establish something new.

So I’ve been really searching for answers, wanting someone to tell me how to change this. How to keep a business going on a daily basis and to move it forward and expand it. No ones got the answers that I hear you cry but they do! I had another light bulb moment yesterday, cementing things I think I already deep down knew and was working towards but making it so crystal clear that I feel like a block has been removed and i’m ready to go again!

So you may have heard me talk about Brendon Burchard before. Have you come across him? He’s brilliant. Most famous for his book High Performance Habits ( you can get a free copy here!) My husband first introduced me to him, he’s loved him for a while and uses his journals. Well I’m listening to the book at the moment and I’m on chapter 4. The book is full of evidence based theory about high performers, what we know they do and how they operate etc. Anyway, this chapter talks about increasing productivity so my ears were all open! He talks about the need to PLAN to spend around 60% of your week doing those things that are going to make whatever endeavour you are working on influential and important. He talks about ‘prolific creators’ like Beyoncé, smashing out hit album after album, Apple in their prime releasing stellar product after stellar product, Seth Godin releasing daily blog posts. What is it that you know is your gold? For me it’s content creation, new blog posts, video tutorials, creating new products and styling and photographing them. This is what I know I’m good at and is going to move my business forward and help me build something of value and importance, not the admin, replying to emails, messing around with product descriptions, that I seem to spend MOST of my time wrapped up in.

If I know this is what’s going to move my business forward, then Brendon says, I should be spending about 60% of my working week obsessively working on this! And he’s right!

I’ve got to get serious about planing in the time for this, and about delegating and finding ways to stop doing the stuff that currently fills my day. For me, that’s starting to employ someone regularly (which is scary and a risk!). It’s being ruthless with my time and protecting that creative time. It’s developing systems for holding stock that means less time spent of making up orders and more organisation and quick despatch. It means saying no to more things that I don’t have time for and aren’t a part of my plan.

Of course it’s all a balance, I can’t ignore the running of my business (be assured, I will still reply to emails!), but i am determined to streamline it so that the core of what i do, my main work is focussed on the main thing, the things I know are going to propel me forward. And this insight from brilliant Brendon has switched something on in me and given me the answer I needed right now!

So I just wanted to put this out there in case it helps you!? What’s your ‘thing’, Brendon calls it PQO prolific quality output, that you need to be focussing on and spending over half of your working week on? How can you protect that time, what can you stop doing to allow you to spend more time doing the main thing?