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How to Focus on the One Big Thing
This one thing I do." – Philippians 3:13
How does a busy and successful business owner cope with the mounting demands and pressures of being an entrepreneur? The biblical strategy above makes all the difference for me.
Don't get me wrong. I'm great at multi-tasking when necessary, and I don't usually freak if 10 people in my office come at me at once. But to take the high-impact actions and accomplish the strategic imperatives that will give you the desired result, nothing helps more than this one bit of ancient wisdom: "This one thing I do."
Here are some strategies that will help you focus on the ONE THING.
1. Mentally, accept that you won't ever get everything done. If you have a clean desk at the end of the day, every day, something is massively wrong. Your business is probably on the brink of failing and you just don't know it. If your desk is chronically swamped, celebrate that you've got plenty of BIG things to accomplish.
2. Constantly assess and reassess:
• What you can delegate and then delegate it.
• What you can eliminate altogether and then eliminate it.
3. Determine which actions and plans will give you the best results. Identify the 6-10 strategic imperatives you must implement or risk extinction. To decide where to start, list each item and rank them for impact and ease.
• Rank each item for the amount of positive impact it will have on your business, using a 1-5 scale with 1 having the least impact and 5, the most.
• Rank each item for how difficult it will be to accomplish, with 1 for the most difficult and 5 for the easiest.
• The item with the highest overall ranking is the one you tackle first. Commit to focus on that 5-5, your easy high-impact item. Now you've turned the ONE THING into the ONE BIG THING.
4. Set aside sacred uninterrupted time to play with this ONE BIG THING. Allow nothing or no one to interfere with or break your focus.
• Begin by cleaning out all thoughts that don't relate to the ONE BIG THING (e.g., email from your attorney-client, your ill family member, etc.). If you struggle with this, develop a ritual to accomplish the cleansing. It's not easy, but the payoff is huge. Remember, a cluttered, tense mind accomplishes very little and only increases the stress of managing a business. Replace the clutter with silence and your productivity will soar.
• Communicate respectfully to others that you are unavailable. Use phrases such as, "Let's schedule a time to meet on this," or "I'll be available in one hour. What time after that works best for you?"
• Eliminate interruptions you can control. Turn on your voice mail and turn off your email. "You've got mail" is not music to your ears when you're working on the ONE BIG THING.
• If part of your day is rarely interrupted (such as early morning or late evening) and you work during this time anyway, reserve that time each day for the ONE BIG THING. My favorite time is early morning before my office opens. I can get big things done three times faster. Try it. Before you know it, you'll be getting lots of ONE BIG THINGS done.
5. Gradually add another ONE BIG THING to your to-do list. Soon you'll be working on more than ONE BIG THING at a time.
Where you focus is where you get your results. Apply these principles and even on the most hectic days you'll spend quality time focusing on your ONE BIG THING, the thing that truly matters and will make a difference in your business.
About the Author: Inc. Top 10 Entrepreneur Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD is the founder and president of Vickie Milazzo Institute, the oldest and largest legal nurse consultant certification company. Pioneered the legal nurse consulting profession in 1982. She is the author of the self help book for women, Inside Every Woman.