Helping small business owners develop extraordinary businesses that really work for their customers, their employees, themselves and their families

How to get focused to get more things done

In the current coronavirus crisis and shutdown, many business owners are finding it hard to get focused on the things they need to do.

This is a time of great distraction with all of the noise in the news about the scope of this disaster in our world. Our environment is frantic and emotionally charged, making it hard to focus.

Since most of us are in self-isolation, it can also be hard to get motivated and “get our engines going.”

How can we get focused?

First, you should have goals and activities scheduled in support of your goals. It helps to use a datebook planner or a smartphone or an online equivalent and to schedule “appointments with yourself” for getting tasks done. It’s best to have starting and endpoints for these appointments, so that you envision what you will be doing during your day.

A member of a Facebook group of small business owners said he tried doing this and deep breathing, and still wasn’t making headway.

My suggestion to him was to start writing — Anything! Write a favorite advertisement or marketing promotion piece (sales letter) ten times in your own handwriting. You will “catch” the creative juices behind the creation of that piece, which should stimulate you to work on your own promotions.

Speaking of deep breathing, this is my principal way to get focused. It may be the writer wasn’t doing it properly.

There is a reason that we tell a person under stress to “Take a few deep breaths!”

I learned this procedure to become focused as a student of martial arts. I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I have also studied Aikido and American Kenpo.

Our Tae Kwon Do and Aikido classes started with a meditative breathing exercise. Joe Hyams writes about the practice in his book, Zen in the Martial Arts. (The American Kenpo school had a very abbreviated “bow in” procedure that didn’t include a meditation practice. I think this was a mistake.)

The purpose of the breathing exercise is to clear the distraction of the outside world from the student’s mind so that the student can focus on what is happening in class (and hopefully avoid getting clobbered!)

When I have given presentations to groups and they are noisy and chatty, I ask them to play a game with me and lead them through the breathing exercise. This has been effective to quiet a group down so they give me their attention.

The procedure is very simple. Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Pay attention to your breathing. Inhale through your nose. Fill your diaphragm (the muscle for your lungs.) (Your stomach should be relaxed and stick out.) Hold your breath for 5 seconds or so. Breathe out through your mouth. Do this ten times and you should be relaxed and your mind should be clear and focused. Some people call this “Buddha breathing.”

(This is also a great procedure to teach your children to use before they take a test or when studying.)

After you practice the breathing exercise a few times, you should be able to achieve the relaxed, focused “state” after only two or three breaths.

I HAVE JUST TAUGHT YOU A PRICELESS LIFE SKILL that can save you countless hours over your lifetime “getting started” with your projects and help you deal more effectively with stressful situations.

Practice It. Use it. And, reap the benefits.

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Helping small business owners develop extraordinary businesses that really work for their customers, their employees, themselves and their families