The Most Important Trait For Running A Successful Online Business From Home (+6 Books To Improve Focus)
Here are a few eye-opening stats to consider:
According to the U.S. edition of the 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, Americans check their phones an average of 52 times each day. Apple says that smartphone users check their phones about 80 times a day.
The average student cannot focus on a task for more than 2 minutes without becoming distracted.
We swipe and tap our phones about 2,600 times each day.
Pedestrian deaths have increased significantly as a result of both drivers and pedestrians looking at their phones (you’ve seen pedestrians walk right out in the street staring almost trance-like into their phone, right?). In fact, 25% of driving accidents are due to distracted drivers.
Our gadgets are real bona fide addictions that, as a society, we’ve normalized. They are without a doubt one of the best ways we go about dopamine farming.
We get anxious when we can’t check our apps, and we jump from thought to thought and task to task without being able to focus too intently on anything, for very long.
It’s like our brains are going chihuahuah.
There are a lot of reeeallyyy bad implications for all of this, but my focus is on building an online business. And trust me…
…If You Cannot Focus, You Will Not Be Able To Run A Successful Online Business
That’s right. In my opinion, the #1 most valuable trait you need to be able to cultivate to build and maintain a successful online business is also a trait that is going extinct: FOCUS.
Once a brain is distracted from a task that requires focus, it takes an average of 25 minutes to get thoroughly back into the flow. If you want a real lucrative online business of your own, so you can design your schedule and work from home (or anywhere), then you, my friend, MUST separate yourself from the herd.
You must take back your focus, learn to dissolve distraction, and reliably and consistently be able to focus on the task at hand.
Here’s how I cultivate Focus:
Do timed work - if you haven’t been working on improving your focus, it’s no doubt a raucous animal that you are going to have to coax into submission. So, start out easy on yourself. Work for one-hour time blocks, permitting yourself zero distraction during that time. Then, take a 15-minute break to let your mind wander around the vast interwebs or your apps so you can get that good ol’ gadget fix. There, there.
As you inevitably become distracted during the one-hour work sprint, just remind yourself that in less than an hour, you can go indulge that distracted thought you’re having. but for now: work. If one hour is just unthinkable for you, do half-hour blocks of completely focused work. Whatever you can stick to. Slowly, you will start reprogramming your brain to be able to maintain focus better and better.
Put a No Other Tabs rule in place while you’re working - wherein you aren’t allowed to open any browser tabs that do not apply directly to the task at hand. No Facebook, no Pinterest, no YouTube (unless you need a quick tutorial on something), no meal planning for next week, no checking your bank account, no Googling why your right buttcheek hurts, no emailing old friends! Just work. Just focus on the task at hand. Everything else is justified procrastination and is only hurting your brain and your future.
Don’t keep your phone with you - Folks, it was just about a decade ago that we didn’t even have phones with these capabilities and we were fiiiiiine, arguably better, so quit acting like it’s your lifeline to all of life. It’s not. And cell phone radiation has been shown to cause tumors and other weird crap anyway, so don’t keep that thing on your person! Don’t keep it on the desk or table or couch you’re working from either! Put it in the other room - if someone needs you in case of emergency, you’ll hear it.
Have a To-Do list each day, and strictly adhere to it - Every morning, and sometimes the night before, I write out my to-do list for the day on my planner (analog is my thang), writing the most important tasks up top, moving down to daily life chores and self-care routines, then adding some bullet points of things I would really like to accomplish if at all possible. Usually, I end up crossing off every single thing, and many nights I stay up a little later just to get them crossed off. Become devoted to your planner, let it be your boss, learn to hold yourself accountable in this way. If you find yourself meandering throughout the day, go to that to-do list and start moving down it, no excuses and no procrastinating.
Movement - the mind needs a break from focused work. It doesn’t need breaks every 2 minutes in the form of unproductive distractions, in fact that can hinder neuroplasticity and optimal brain health, but we do need structured breaks. Movement is crucial. Often, in my breaks between work sprints, I will just hop up and do a set of burpees, or I’ll jog around the house when I have to go to the bathroom or kitchen anyway. The point is to stretch and get blood flowing. Three items I cross off every single day of the week, in addition to work tasks, are: walk, yoga, and exercise. And I usually position those activities between work sprints to keep my brain alert and balanced.
Meditation - I know the word itself is stigmatized to a lot of people. Meditation sounds boring, it sounds exhausting, it sounds possibly religious to some, it sounds woo-woo and you’re probably going to read right past it. It’s one of those things we already know is good for us, and maybe one day we’ll get around to it, but not right now. Too busy.
I’d urge you to reconsider. Meditation really does change your brain. And guess what, you need that brain to be in tip-top shape if you plan on running a successful online business. Especially in the first couple of years of your new business, your brain is going to be full of gobblygook, and meditation is the way to come in and clean house.
Meditate in the morning, meditate mid-day, meditate at sunset, before bed, whenever you want to. But try to do it daily, for atleast 10 minutes. I meditate for 20 minutes, twice a day, and it has become a solid foundation I can always fall back on, not to mention my internal dialogue is a lot more relaxed and positive, I don’t worry so much, I’m a better problem solver, and I just feel… happier. In Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans, nearly every successful person (if not all) that he interviewed had this one thing in common: they had a daily meditation practice.
Get inspired - another way I stay focused is to feed myself inspiring content from others. Usually, this is via a YouTube video or audiobook. When I take a break during the work day to clean the kitchen or make food or shower and get ready, I almost always turn on a YouTube video to listen to during that time. I recommend listening to other successful online business owners and entrepreneurs and inspiring motivational talks to keep you focused on your goals and to keep that spark of ambition alive and well!
Recommended Books To Help You Cultivate Focus & Stay on track:
I’m Tiffany - a Squarespace web designer & SEO specialist. Here on the blog I write about Squarespace SEO, Squarespace design tips and tricks, and musings and advice on running an online business.
Let me know how I can help you!
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