When I began to take my first steps as a budding entrepreneur, I remember having big dreams about everything I could accomplish with my business.
Dreams of bettering the lives of others dream of financial stability, and dreams of being able to quit my day job to spend more time with my family. At first, I was motivated and excited to start my business, but as the going got tough, I began to lose focus.
There was a time when I would wake up every day and find no motivation to continue doing what I thought I loved. It got to a point where I knew my lack of motivation would ultimately hurt the success of my business, but I still struggled with finding the drive to make progress happen.
I learned from the experience the value of motivation and the importance of discipline. There’s a significant difference between motivation and discipline, but it takes time to understand why truly.
Motivation is fleeting and exciting; it comes and goes as your thoughts race from one vision to another. This gives you the natural drive to do something, but once that motivation passes, it’s easy to find yourself in a rut.
Discipline is quite different from motivation because it’s not fleeting. When you are disciplined, you don’t have to wait for the moment of inspiration to strike.
Instead, you can teach yourself to accomplish essential tasks even when you’re less than motivated. Discipline involves organization and planning, requiring self-control to stay on task and on time. However, once you’ve mastered the field, you’ll feel more focused each day, and as a result, you’ll become more productive – whether in the office or at home.
Learning self-discipline can be challenging, but there are some simple ways to reduce distractions and stay focused on the task. Focus doesn’t just happen; it requires discipline to stay focused. For example, it takes discipline to continue working on your business plan after spending 8 hours at the office, even though you know it’s easier to watch television instead.
Without a doubt, staying focused improves productivity. InYou’reikely spending much more time than you think doing unproductive tasks throughout the day, as it’s simply human nature for us to become distracted. On average, we spend around 2 hours a day distracting ourselves at the office, and we typically spend only 11 minutes on a task before we delight ourselves. While these distractions often disguise themselves as productive tasks (such as checking emails throughout the day), they can usually be completed after the main job has been completed.
The key to staying focused is to resist any distractions thrown your way. While this isn’t always easy, there are some simple ways you can make the process more effective:
Keep your workspace organized
One of the many ways we distract ourselves throughout the day is by spending more time than necessary searching for the office supplies we need. When your desk is organized, you will spend less time looking for the paperwork you need or a pen to sign said paperwork, and you will also have fewer distractions on your desk.
The organization not only helps you find what you need quickly, but it can also help you stay focused on the task at hand. By separating your workspace into categories, such as paperwork, notebooks, and office supplies, you can reduce the time you spend searching for items. It would be best if you also designated a spot for incoming and outgoing paperwork so you know where to put and retrieve documents as needed. This will help you stay organized, limit distractions, and make it easier to find items.
Get your task schedule organized
Knowing what you have to do and when you should be doing it is an excellent way to establish better focus. Creating a daily plan with tasks you must do at work and at home is a perfect way to remember your responsibilities and keep you on duty throughout the day. This should be done by prioritizing the tasks and set tasks daily minimums to achieve. From there, it’ll take discipline to see a difference in your productivity. Still, by following a schedule you set for yourself, you’ll have a visual representation of the work you’ve accomplished throughout the day, which in turn may work to motivate you.
Additionally, for the tasks that require more than a few hours to complete, break them up into smaller chunks to complete over days. This will provide clarity on what needs to be done and when allowing you to track your progress more efficiently.
Organize your emails
In today’s business world, we use emails for important communication day in and day out. While this form of communication is far less cumbersome than sending paperwork through the mail, emails can be a hassle to keep track of – especially if you’ve got a day job and a side business, with essential emails from each. Instead of using emails as a distraction throughout the day, only check your emails at designated times, which you should set each morning before you begin your tasks. Then, as you check your emails, sort them into relevant folders for easy access in the future. This will save you time when looking for a specific message and reduce time away from other essential tasks.
To ensure that you don’t miss any important emails, it is essential to organize them. Utilizing labels and folders in your email account is a great way to stay organized. Create folders labeled as “work,” “personal,” and “side business,” and then put the emails you receive into the correct folder. This will make it easier for you to find the emails you need when you need them. Additionally, it is essential to keep your inbox neat. This can be done by archiving or deleting emails that no longer need your attention.
Schedule your time spent online
We’ve all gotten distracted by our devices at some point throughout our workday. When you have access to a smartphone, tablet, and computer all at once, it cannot be easy to stay away from Facebook for hours. Avoid this distraction by scheduling social media time throughout the day and staying away from your devices until that time. It’s typically a good idea to shut off all devices you do not need for work to minimize. In addition, time spent working away from the computer can be an excellent way to improve productivity, as many find themselves feeling more focused with a pen and notepad than with a computer and keyboard.
Taking a break from screens and spending time in nature or with friends can help maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Your next steps
When people think of ‘discipline,’ they often believe it is all about self-control and willpower. It isn’t: discipline involves plenty of organization and planning, requiring self-control to stay on task but mastering a skill also brings better self-awareness.