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Three Simple Ways to Stay Focused

While I was trying to find a subject to write about this month that would be of interest to my readers, I did many things with my computer.

I stared at a blank computer screen. I played solitaire. I checked my email several times an hour. I played solitaire. I re-worked some of my existing web pages. I played solitaire. I joined online business organizations. I played solitaire. I read ebooks (new ones I just downloaded and some I downloaded a while ago and never got to read). I played...

Do you see a thread emerging here? Besides that I like to play solitaire.

I lost my FOCUS! I was doing what I found to be easier than the task at hand. Which was getting out this month's issue of my newsletter.

This is easy to do when you don't have a BOSS telling you what to do. You must have the DISCIPLINE to be on your own and to take charge of your own situation.

Remember, you sign your own paycheck!

When evaluating whether you have what it takes to start your own business, some questions that always come up are:

"Are you a self starter?"
"Can you work on your own?"
"Are you willing to make sacrifices?"

Even though what I was doing with my computer were constructive (OK, except for the solitaire). I had lost track of my priorities. It was time to publish my monthly newsletter and I was doing other things instead.

It was easy to make excuses for not focusing on this month's issue. Writer's block, other things on my mind, email must be read, and so on.

As a self-employed individual, you have to shake yourself back into reality. It is so easy to get distracted. You have to tell yourself:

"Hey it is time to get back to work. Let's get your priorities in order!"

This is when you need FOCUS and DISCIPLINE.

It is so easy to take the path of least resistance; but doing good work is hard and requires dedication.

Downloading and reading emails or ebooks (and playing solitaire) is a lot easier than putting together a newsletter.

So let's talk a little about FOCUS and DISCIPLINE and how to prioritized your tasks.

I wrote an article recently on "Time Management".

In the article I talk about how difficult it is to manage your time in a home based business and how important good time management can be to the success of your business.

The article ends with the statement of how important "Focus and Discipline" are to someone who is self-employed.

Not only do you have to manage your time; but you have to use that time wisely. All the time in the world is no good to you if you waste it.

Time management, focus and discipline are skills you must develop if you are going to be your own boss. These are skills you have to learn just like marketing, the computer or copy writing.

Once learned, these skills must be practiced and developed.

As a Small Business Coach, I don't always practice what I preach. In my ebook "10 STEPS TO YOUR OWN HOME-BASED BUSINESS", I devote a whole chapter to FOCUS and DISCIPLINE. It is that important.

I have been doing this for over 30 years and I still have problems with FOCUS and DISCIPLINE.

I must constantly remind myself of my priorities and what has to be done and when.

So how do I deal with FOCUS and DISCIPLINE?

I play solitaire... just kidding.

Here are several ways to bring back your FOCUS and DISCIPLINE.

Some or all of them may work for you:

Make Lists

I find tasks easier to "focus" on and more manageable when I organize them in writing. It makes me feel more in control.

You can do this is several ways:

1. Post-it Notes.
2. 3x5 Index cards.
3. Dry-Erase boards.

I am a great one for the "dry-erase" board because of their ease of use and multi-color markers. I have them all over the house and my home office.

Here are just a few uses I find for them:

1. To-Do lists. I get a feeling of accomplishment as I check them off.

2. I jot down ideas for future projects. While surfing the net or reading an ezine or ebook, I may get an idea I don't want to forget.

3. Flow charts for Web page links. Because of the marker colors available, they are great for laying out a web site and can easily be changed.

4. I have one that is a blank calendar month. I keep track of up-coming events and important due dates.

5. They are great for presentations to clients or to map out a course of action for yourself.

I am sure there are 100s of uses you can come up with that I haven't thought of.

They come in all different sizes, are quite inexpensive and are carried by most office supply stores.

I also make extensive use of the Post-it Note and the 3x5 Index card. Here I also make use of the various colors they come in for different purposes.

I love to be "organized". It makes my job so much more enjoyable and doable. But that's a subject for another article.

Take A Break

If I am working on a project and hit a "brick wall", I stop and maybe I'll play a little solitaire. :o)


Sometimes you just need to step away for awhile and regroup. I always have more than one project going at a time so if I need a break, I can switch gears and still be productive.

Sometimes though, I just take a walk and come back later or another day and I find that the obstacle is no longer there and I am able to complete my task.

For some reason, frustration just makes the "brick wall" thicker and a little break brings things back into focus.

Scrap The Whole Idea

I know this may sound funny; but sometimes, as you work on a project, you come to realize it wasn't such a good idea in the first place and rather than "beating a dead horse" your best course of action is to cut your losses and move on to something else.

Don't let this plan of action or lack of action discourage you. Many of the most prolific inventors, including Thomas Alva Edison, abandoned many attempts in favor of a new direction before they found the solution to their problem.

Sometimes trial and error, although at times costly, can be the best teacher.

These are just some simple things you can do when you lose your FOCUS and DISCIPLINE.

Remember, if you don't love what you do, your going to be frustrated and miserable...

...and not very successful!

About the Author ---- Jim Capobianco, the author of "10 Steps to Your Own Home-Based Business", has been self-employed for over 25 years, both on and off line. At his web site, and in his newsletter, The Cap-Tech Times, he shares his experience and expertise when it comes to owning your own business. Come pay a visit at:


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