STOP YOURSELF FROM GETTING DISTRACTED IN BUSINESS June 29, 2021 | Business Tips | motivation , business growth , time management By Adam Kiesel, NPI, Inc.'s Digital Marketing Assistant One main benefit of becoming a small business owner is breaking free of the typical corporate structure. You set your own hours, make the important decisions, and continuously choose which direction you’ll head in next. However, these benefits can also quickly become challenges. When you’re overwhelmed, it’s easy to get sidetracked and feel as though you’re stagnating. Focus on what really matters with these tips: Begin by recognizing the distractions. First, you have to recognize what’s taking up your time. While you’re going about your day, try to be more aware of what you’re doing and where your thoughts tend to take you. You might be surprised about the things that tend to steal your energy and attention. From scrolling through your phone to speculating about the reason for an unreturned email, there’s always something readily available to distract us from a goal. If you need to, write these down, along with how long or how often you tend to do them. Then be sure to note which of these is something you personally have control over. For example, you can limit mindless scrolling, but you can’t control whether someone gets back to you in a timely manner or not, just your own thought patterns related to their behavior. Don’t compare your business to others. A mistake that new business owners make is shifting the focus from their business to a competitor’s. It’s important to know the difference between learning from a successful competitor and thinking you won’t be able to achieve the same. Don’t simply use their success to highlight your own setbacks. Find the right balance and soon you’ll notice a change in how you approach running your business. Know when you’re being purposeful and when you’re operating on autopilot. Generally speaking, routines are a good thing. In fact, the word, “routine,” probably first brings to mind a morning regimen, workout schedule, or report-writing approach. However, it’s important to keep in mind that routines can arise around not-so-healthy situations as well, especially when it comes to thought patterns and reactions. If you’re a non-confrontational person whose autopilot behavior is avoiding a potentially unpleasant interaction, make the purposeful decision to address it head-on instead. Let’s say an agent stands you up for a meeting over coffee and you unexpectedly run into them at an open house just a week later. Instead of assuming you’ve lost your chance with them already and heading right back out the door, go up to them and let them know you missed them. This is a purposeful behavior that cuts your autopilot reaction off at the pass, and it also happens to be the one course of action that could net you that meeting in the end. Set and follow working hours. Working independently means that you are in control of your time. You get to decide when you want to start and end your day, and even your work week. Creating a work schedule is the easy part, but sticking to it is where you can run into issues. You more than likely will start off working in a home office as you build your business. Not having a physical separation between your work and home can cause you to blur the lines mentally. You can easily become distracted by family, maintenance tasks, or the allure of relaxing on the couch. Even if you don’t have a home office, try to find a secluded place where you can devote your full attention to business. Take a break when you need to. As previously mentioned, burnout is one of the main reasons that small businesses quickly fail. While you should work hard during your set business hours, it’s perfectly fine to step back every so often. Taking a small break during the day lets your brain reset so that you can refocus yourself. You’ll be more aware of what you’re doing, letting you identify distractions easier. Get up from the desk for a couple minutes, grab something to eat or drink, stretch or do whatever else you need to wake back up. Remember to track your breaks, ensuring that you’re still making the most out of your day. About the Author Adam Kiesel, Digital Marketing Assistant Adam's responsibilities on the NPI, Inc. Marketing Team include content creation for our websites, blogs and social media accounts. He also works on informational items to be sent to current and prospective franchisees. Adam joined the staff at NPI in 2020.