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Small Business Effectiveness: Kill Distractions & Focus

Yesterday I told you about target strategic threats to your business, your small business Osama bin Laden, that could provide focus for you on that single challenge that is holding you back, even when it seems out of your control.  Focus is a funny thing.  With it, you’re at least at your best when trying to get something done for your business.  Without it, you either don’t get it done or you get it done poorly.

The Math Homework

My 10 year old son is in the 4th grade.  Through 3 1/2 years this kid has pulled in exceptional grades, oftentimes straight As during a semester.  This year he is struggling more, especially with Math.  The weird part is, although the concepts are getting harder and harder to grasph (I never had Math this advanced at his age, already doing algebra), it isn’t lack of understanding that trips him up on the tests and take home stuff.

It is lack of focus.  The errors that drive his mother and I to drink are literally things like…

  • leaving his name off of the top of the page
  • doing the wrong problem, mixing up answers in the answer block
  • only doing part (a) of a 2 part problem
  • subtracting when he is supposed to add
  • copying the problem incorrectly

I’m no educator, but I don’t need a sheepskin to know that there is something else banging around in his head that is distracting from this stuff.

One of the things my wife and I discovered is the environment where he does his “round 1″ of homework.  He is in an after-school karate program.  Before his karate class, all the kids have “quiet time” to get homework done.  I wandered in one day during quiet time.  I found out that quiet means no one is allowed to kill another; however, the kids with no homework or who finish earlier are apparently right at home with getting face time with the kids still working.  I watched my son trying to get his Math homework done while 3 other boys were trying to tell him jokes to get him to laugh, asking questions about his Nintendo DS, etc.  I’m not whining,  because I know there are days when my kid is one of the perpetrators.

Death of Distractions

This little episode reminded me of my own loss of focus when doing tasks like writing this blog.  Little things like the email tone, the telephone, my two dogs in my home office freaking out when a truck rides by, all serve to disrupt the flow of thought and at a minimum make me have to re-connect with what I am doing.

I bet at your office you have distractions too, things that get in the way of your actions to eliminate your target strategic threat.  You have the same ones I just listed, instead of dogs it is more likely employees coming in to ask you oh so important things like where the company picnic is going to be held this year. 

I just had to reschedule an Executive Video Interview with a customer this morning.  She attempted to do the interview away from the office via wireless connection, but the video quality was choppy from limited bandwidth.  We agreed to do it hard line from the office, but the distractions of phone, fax, email, and employee were too much for her.  We are now going to do it from her home office, and she has no dogs to speak of!

Is your office scene total chaos disguised as hard work?  If you can’t get something done at the office, it just may be.  You may find that in order to get done the strategic stuff that you either have to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, or get the heck out of the office to be productive.  Get rid of the guilt and do it, because what you should feel guilty about is not being able to be your best and get done the main thing you need to do while serving all of the well-meaning (questionable) people around you.

Get away, sequestered, and get your focus back and start seeing the results you deserve for your small business.

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