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7 Ways To Instantly Improve Your Focus

When you focus, you’re able to accomplish lots of high-quality work. Your creative juices are flowing, and you make it all look easy. However, today’s ever-connected digital life can make it feel impossible to focus on any one task.

If it seems like you can never spend more than a few minutes on a project before picking up something else, it’s time to take control of your time! From new workflows to different boundaries, try these tips and tricks to improve your focus and increase your productivity.

Embrace Single-Tasking

The myth of multi-tasking has had a good run, but it’s time to let go of this outdated idea. Multi-tasking, where you try to work on several different projects at once, simply isn’t effective. Multi-taskers accomplish less and make more mistakes than people who work on one project at a time.

Take a look at your usual workday and see where you might be multitasking. Maybe you’re answering emails while on the phone, or are trying to proofread two different documents at the same time. Instead, start tackling each of these tasks separately. You might not think you have room in your schedule to handle them individually, but you’ll probably find that tasks take less time when you’re more focused.

Batch Your Days

Take single-tasking to the next level by batching your days. When you batch your work, you focus on all the similar parts of different projects, one at a time. For example, if you need to send updates on various projects, write and deliver all of these updates one after another. 

When you batch work, you save resources because you’re performing similar jobs at the same time. There’s no need to load the same software multiple times a week, get into the right mindset every day, or track down supplies more than once. Batching is a great way to reduce the workload of your routine tasks.

Reduce Interruptions

Your workday is probably full of interruptions. Chat alerts, pop-up email notifications, ringing phones, coworkers popping by your desk, and countless other modern reminders pull you away from your current task, interrupting your workflow and breaking your focus.

Remove as many interruptions as you can from your environment. When you’re working on a project, aim to make yourself unavailable for anything else. If you can close your office door, log out of your email, and set yourself unreachable on chat, you’ll be able to focus on your most important work.

Your work culture might not allow you to go fully offline, but you can still try to reduce your interruptions. Turn off notifications on your personal accounts, block off time on your calendar, and ask drop-in colleagues to circle back at a better time.

Build In Breaks

Don’t push yourself past your breaking point. Regular breaks can help you stay more focused than trying to power through hours of work. Build breaks into your routine to keep your physical and mental abilities sharp. 

You can experiment to find the style and frequency of breaks that work best for you. Whether you prefer short but frequent breaks or look forward to one longer change of pace a day, it’s important to take these breathers. You’ll discover new ideas and trains of thought come easier after a break. Your body will also feel better when you stay hydrated, eat meals at a decent hour, and walk around during the day.

Focus On Your Circle Of Control

No matter how talented or high-ranking you are, you can’t control everything. You’ll be able to focus better and stress less when you spend your energy where it’s effective. 

From other people’s mistakes, to international trade wars, to the weather, it’s easy to fixate on what could go wrong with a project. But when you focus on events you can’t control, you’re wasting your efforts. Instead, spend your time and energy working within your circle of control. Your focus will be improved when you’re thinking about realistic, workable solutions.

Set Achievable Goals

Lofty goals are a vital part of your company’s growth, but it can be hard to know where to start with a big task. Break your goals into smaller steps and sub-goals to help them feel more approachable. You’ll have an easier time making plans, taking action, and focusing on your work when you’re reaching for a small, realistic goal each day.

Prioritize One Task A Day

No matter how careful you are with your time and energy, there will be days when it’s hard to focus. Last-minute directives from your boss, an unfavorable news cycle, and other emergency situations can require all your energy without any warning. You can still keep making progress towards your long-term goals when you prioritize one task a day.

Every day, identify what’s most important to accomplish. If you could only do one thing that day, what task would be most impactful? Front-load this task and take care of it as soon as you can. Even if the rest of the day’s plans are ruined, you can better focus on the emergency situation when you know that your priority task is already taken care of.

How To Start A Small Business Blog In Five Simple Steps

A blog can be your company’s voice in the busy online marketplace. These online publications are easy to start, even for small business owners, and can help you reach new markets and customers. Learn how to strategically start a blog, target your ideal reader, and learn from measurable impacts.

1. Make A Plan And Determine Your Goals

In the earliest planning stages, a blog is no different than any other business project. Treat your new blog like you would any other decision. You wouldn’t try to launch a new marketing campaign on the same day you developed the idea, so likewise, don’t rush into publishing your first blog post. Give yourself time to plan before going live.

A clear plan and meaningful goals will help your blog be successful. Look to your business plan and consider what a blog can do for your overall targets. Do you want to increase sales or conversions this year? Showcase your services through your posts. Do you need to spread brand awareness? Focus on fun content readers will want to share with their social media networks. Are you trying to strengthen your relationship with your customers? Humanize your company with behind-the-scenes posts and employee spotlights. Decide what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog before moving forward.

2. Think Through The Logistics

Your blog doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy to be successful, but you will need to consider the practicalities before you publish. Decide who will write and maintain the blog, as well as how often you’ll post new articles.

Allocate enough time and resources towards writing your blog. Every small business is different, so you have lots of choices for selecting writers. If you have a marketing or social media position, managing a blog is a natural fit for these roles. In leaner companies, a new blog allows staff to take on fresh challenges. Some small business owners prefer to be the voice of the company and do their own writing. Outsourcing is another option. You can also mix and match these strategies to use a variety of writers.

Whichever model you choose, make sure your writers have space in their schedules. Set aside a couple of hours for each post. Readers respond best to high-quality, engaging writing, which does take time to produce. After you’ve published a few articles, reexamine your workflow and see if you need to make any adjustments.

3. Determine Your Audience

Plan your blog subjects with a particular audience in mind. Think about who is likely to visit your website, what they’re curious about, and how you can add value to their day. 

If you’ve created marketing personas or ideal customer profiles, use these exercises to build your blog audience. A marketing persona is a fictionalized character who represents your average customer. Keep these personas in mind and your blog posts will quickly come together.

If you don’t have an ideal reader in mind, learn about your current audience. Look at existing data from web analytics, social media, email campaigns, customer surveys, and more. Use these insights to build a picture of who is already engaging with your business online. Think about this customer’s needs and plan your first series of blog posts about topics that meet their desires.

4. Start Writing

Once you’ve identified your goals, answered the practical question of who is doing what, and found your target readers, you’re ready to start writing. If your writing team is confident and experienced, this might be the easiest part of the process for you to manage. Simply give your goals to your writers and let them get to work.

For new bloggers and smaller shops, writing can be a different story entirely. It can be hard to start writing even when you have a robust plan. Blank pages are intimidating. Luckily, simple exercises can help you get your ideas on paper.

Many people find that speaking their thoughts feels more natural than writing them down. You can probably talk about your small business for hours, so turn on a voice recorder and start talking about your article’s subject. Once you’ve said everything important, you can listen to your recording later to write down what sounds the best. 

You can also try brainstorming exercises. Find a stack of sticky notes or index cards and jot down everything you know about your blog’s subject, writing one note per card. Once you’ve written down all your thoughts, look through your collection of notes. What main ideas jump out? Sort cards into piles of similar themes. Then, choose the three biggest piles and adapt those cards into your blog post. Use the leftover notes as a jump start on your next article.

5. Learn and Adapt

After you start posting to your blog, make sure to track its performance. Reflect on the goals you set and see whether the blog is making an impact. Are you finding changes in conversions, web traffic, email clicks, or any other metric? Your posts may be lead to increases in unexpected areas, so take a look at all of your analytics at regular intervals.

As with any project, you can try new strategies when you don’t see enough movement. If you’re not reaching your original goal but are seeing growth in other areas, lean into the success you do have. For example, if you find a growing social media reach, be sure to share all of your blog posts on your social platforms. If email subscriptions are going up, make sure your email campaigns are fresh and current. Engaging, authentic writing will grow your customer base over time. Stay confident and keep publishing.