One of the biggest challenges that I have faced growing my business and knowing how to stay focused and motivated – and I hear this all the time from people that I work with – is that we get really overwhelmed really quickly.
We have so many things to try and balance and juggle that we feel like we’re spinning multiple plates at the same time. Sometimes it’s also that lack of clarity as to which things do I focus on next.
Staying focused is an area that I think I’ve really improved on personally in my business and in my life. I want to share with you today an exercise that I’ve been using for the last 12 months that’s really enabled me to change everything. And I mean, everything.
A Simple Exercise to Stay Focused
This is the simplest exercise that you can do. I’m going to share a template with you at the end of this that you can download and use for your 2021 planning.
I’ve definitely found that one of the biggest challenges for me is not necessarily in the how to, the strategy. It’s more how do I actually balance between spending enough time in the business, spending time in my family and my life with my health, with my friends, all of these things.
I want to share with you a simple exercise that you can do to really focus on making 2021 a year where you feel less overwhelmed, more clarity, and more focus on what your next steps look like. Remember it’s about the small steps, big wins.
It’s the small steps of imperfection that are better than giant mammoth leaps. The four questions that I’m going to share with you, these are the things that I look at every week. What works really well for me is that on a Sunday morning, I’ve just found this sweet spot of time, where I’m in bed with a cup of tea, my journal and my planner.
How to Stay Focused for 2021
I take a blank piece of paper and I split it into four quadrants. If you’ve got a piece of paper in front of you and you’re reading this, please feel free to just do this along with me.
The first area that I focus on are my wins.
My wins for the last seven days for the week that we’ve just finished which is why I like doing this on a Sunday. Sunday for me is just that really good time to reflect on the week just gone and then also plan for the week ahead.
I literally think about what I have achieved this week. I just brain dump everything onto that little quadrant on my piece of paper. Every little thing.
It could be things like; I’ve got on top of my emails this week, I attracted two new clients, I launched my new course. It might be, I had two litres of water every day. I exercise three times this week. I had a day on my business rather than a day in my business. I managed to increase my social media following by X amount. I increased my podcast listenership by X amount.
It could be anything at all that’s related to your business, your life, your health, any area at all that you feel that’s been really great for me this week. Maybe you’ve made some more connections. Maybe you have made an important decision. Maybe you’ve been quoted in a piece of press or somebody comes to you and asks something of you and you think, Oh, that’s something on my bucket list.
List out all of your wins, and I really want you to think about listing the small things and the big wins.
Then on the flip side of that on the next quadrant, on the right hand side at the top of your piece of paper, I would then think about your challenges.
What’s got in your way this week that maybe if it hadn’t have been there, you would have felt like it had turned into more of a win than a challenge.
Typically things that go on the list for me are things like my energy. Maybe I’ve just had a really flat week energetically. Maybe it’s been the time of the month. Maybe you’ve had a fallout with a family or friend. Maybe you’ve not felt very well that week. Maybe you have had a client who you wanted to work with and they decided not to work with you, maybe that’s been a challenge for you financially. Maybe one of the challenges is you felt really overwhelmed.
Maybe you’ve been copycatted that week. Maybe you’ve applied for a trademark that’s not been successful. Think about what are the challenges, what’s got in your way.
What’s really interesting is that often when I get stuck into my challenges, my main challenges tend to be myself. It tends to be when I step back and do that helicopter view of my week I think, do you know what, it’s me that’s got in my own way. It’s me that’s lacked the confidence or the drive or the not-good-enough feeling that, I can’t possibly do that, that inner critic voice has come out to play this week.
Often when I look back at all the challenges throughout the year, it’s really been myself that’s been the biggest challenge. This is one of the great things about doing this exercise every week. If you’re going to print out the template we provide you with, print out 52 of them and put it into a folder or have one notepad where you just split your piece of paper into the four quadrants.
Then what you can do is you can go back and that’s really powerful because what you perceive to be a challenge now, in six months time may have turned into a win or actually may have just turned into something that was never a challenge in the first place. It was just something you believed to be a challenge. It was a mindset shift that was required.
The next box underneath is lessons. This is where you can take some time to reflect on what lesson did you learn about yourself this week? What do you need to let go of? What do you need to be open to?
Maybe I’ve learned this week that I need to be open to more opportunities. I need to be open to expand my business into Instagram or LinkedIn, or maybe something’s come up for you there. What did you learn about yourself?
This is the box that I call the deep reflection box because normally what comes up on that piece of paper immediately is what I call the shallow lessons. Then what I do is I take my shallow lessons and I turn them into deep journaling questions.
Think about what is this lesson telling you? This is where you can move it from shallow lessons to deep lessons. What is this lesson telling you and where can you take that lesson?
Then the final box is focus.
What is your focus for the next seven days? This is where you can link this back into your quarterly rocks.
One of the things that we do at the start of every year is we look at the 12 month plan and we map out in the diary what’s going where during the year. That will include launches, programs, it might include periods where we’re working on developing something new into the business.
It’s about creating ecosystems, products and services for your ideal clients. We map all that out for an entire 12 months. We put in all of our holidays so we know when do I not want to be working? When is my team not working. Then we focus on breaking that down and filling out in detail a quarterly plan.
We do this from a sales and marketing perspective. What’s the quarterly plan and what’s our quarterly content plan that’s going to support that quarter’s focus. That’s what I call the big rocks.
What are your quarterly big rocks? Your focus is then really about narrowing that down even further into weekly focuses. So if you know, for example, that quarter one of 2021 is you’re launching a new product, then you’ll want to work backwards from your launch day. What are you launching? How are you launching that? What are the focuses that need to happen in the weeks prior to that launch?
So that focus box might be, this week I need to write out my email sequences. I might need to go and do some Facebook lives. I might need to go reach out to my connections or my partners. There may be some focuses specifically around what you’re launching.
There may also be some focuses around things in your personal life. Maybe you need to go and book that dentist appointment or you need to book a day off for yourself, book that spa day, for example. It doesn’t have to be all business focused, but it’s linking this back to your vision. What is the vision that you’re creating? What is it that you value the most? If you focus on what you value, you’re much more motivated to actually do it.
How many times do you – and I include myself in this – write a to-do list and then we pick off all the easy ones or the ones that we feel really motivated to do either because they’re easy or because we really want them to happen. Then how many times do we put things on our to-do list that we just don’t really want to do?
Can it be Delegated?
That’s the time to think, do I need to focus on that or can it be delegated? Can it be delegated to my partner? Can it be delegated to a virtual assistant? Can it be delegated to your team?
That focus box doesn’t necessarily need to be things that you need to do but it’s where’s the focus. Can you see the difference there? Where’s the focus first and then who needs to actually perform the action or the task that’s associated with that focus.
The motivation part is really interesting. Sometimes I will look at my focus box and think, okay, here’s my list of focuses. What am I motivated to do the most on a scale of one to 10 and I’ll put a little number underneath it.
Maybe that focus is I need to do my tax return this week. Focus number one, because it’s really important. It’s a high priority task but I don’t need to do that. I’m going to outsource that to my bookkeeper or my accountant. It still gets completed but I’m not wasting my energy doing something that I can pay somebody else to do and that will free up more time of my time.
Deep Lessons to Stay Focused and Motivated in 2021
When you’re looking at what are your wins, what are your challenges, what’s the focus ahead and what have you learned about yourself, I would then take that shallow lesson and turn it into a deep lesson.
The way that I would do that is once I’ve done that grid, I’ll then get my journal out and I’ll use some questions across the week to really dig deep underneath that lesson. What is that lesson telling me about myself? Because often when we do this deep journaling work, that’s when some real magic can come up. This is about cultivating a deep relationship with yourself.
This is where you can find that opportunity to hear, tap into that inner true voice, that intuition. This is about being really proactive, not reactive.
There’s often a reoccurring pattern with this because it’s the brain’s way of just reaffirming and telling you what it’s gathered from history about a belief. But remember that a belief is not necessarily true. The brain thinks that it’s truth because the brain doesn’t know how to differentiate between truth and fiction. It doesn’t know how to differentiate between the two. It just takes information as exactly that, as information.
You’ve got to show your brain, where is the evidence to support this lesson? Where is the evidence to support this belief? Sometimes I’ll do that on a piece of paper. I write, “what am I telling myself, is this belief actually true, where is the evidence to support this belief?” On the other side, “where is the evidence to counter support this belief?”
For example, let’s say one of my challenges has been that I can’t possibly launch this course because it’s not perfect enough yet. The lesson in that for me is about the perfectionist voice. The lesson in that for me if I dig really deep is that I feel that in order to be successful, it has to be perfect. But is that really true? Where is the evidence to support that the belief is true and where is the evidence to support that the belief is not true.
I could probably list a ton of examples of when I think that belief is true, but also I can list a whole load of evidence to show it doesn’t have to be perfect. Actually what is even perfect? My brain starts to question, what does perfect even look like? Does perfect actually even exist? It’s only perfect in my mind by the levels of expectations that I’m placing on myself and those level of expectations often come from other people’s opinions, not my own.
So it’s a sense of worthiness, a sense of confidence. You can see in that example how that shallow lesson can really turn into a deep, meaningful lesson for yourself. Be curious to just explore some of those for yourself.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Stay Motivated for 2021
Some of the other questions I’d also ask myself are things like when I’m focusing on something, which hopefully will then turn into one of my wins for the following week, think about how you’re going to reward yourself. If you achieve that focus, how are you going to reward yourself?
How Will You Reward Yourself?
It’s one of the things I think we don’t do enough of. We don’t do enough celebrating of our own successes.
How are you going to reward yourself? Where’s the motivation? If you can, try and find a motivator that is internal rather than external. It’s internally motivated so that you get that sense of self gratification rather than it being about what other people are going to say. Internal motivation rather than external motivation.
What Skills Do I Need?
I’d also ask myself things like, if my focus is this, what skills do I need to work on this? Do I need to upskill? Do I need to work with someone to up-skill? Do I need to upskill somebody else to take that focus on. Who do I need to contact this week to change that from a focus to an action?
So maybe it’s, I don’t know how to do a Tiktok video. I need to go learn, how do I go and learn that? What do I need to do?
What Habits Do I Need to Change?
I also sometimes think about what habits do I need to change? Are there things that I’m doing week in, week out that are not serving me.
That might be for example, sitting at my desk all day long and not getting a break. That’s a habit. That’s about creating a new habit that gets me off my chair, out of my desk and out onto a walk. What habits do I need to change? Some of those habits you won’t change overnight. That’s okay, but it’s bringing that awareness.
Bring Awareness to Focus and Stay Motivated
That’s the first step. Bringing the awareness to what habits are not serving you, to look to change. I’ll also think about who am I surrounding myself with? Am I surrounded myself with people right now that are bringing negativity into my life that are not helping me. They’re not serving my mission and my purpose. Think about who you might need to surround yourself by the coming week.
How are you going to hold yourself accountable? I’m actually not a big believer in accountability buddies because I think if you’re motivated enough, you’ll do it anyway. But it’s finding that level of motivation that’s really important. Who needs to hold you accountable, who needs to give you a little bit of a shove?
This is one of the things I love about hosting my mastermind because we get that level of accountability in the group. Think about where you could hang out to get that level of accountability. Also, as I mentioned before, think about who you can delegate to.
Not everything it has to be done by you. This is about building your team, being in that CEO mindset of you running your business. Delegating and outsourcing tasks that are not high value tasks, either energetically or, by you delegating that out to somebody else, you can spend that time on something else that’s going to be a high performing task. That’s going to move you that little one step closer to where you want to get to in terms of your vision and your purpose.
Stay Focused for 2021
I hope that’s been really useful for you. You can find all the links to journals and resources below that I think will really help just to take this to the next level.
I’d really love to hear what you’re using. What planner you have chosen to use? Which planners have you tried and tested that maybe haven’t worked? Which ones are your favourite ones? I’d really like to hear from you about that in the comments below.
Finally, if you would like a little template to get you started with the exercise that I’ve shared with you today, then head to the website, www.themoneypanel.co.uk/time-management. Click on that link and download a little template that can help you to get started with what I’ve shared today.
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