I recently interviewed several work from home women about their #1 Challenge. Far and away, the top response was DISTRACTION. This one challenge is the fertilizer in a seed-bed of challenges. Let's talk about it.
DISTRACTION - WHAT IS IT?
Dictionary.com defines distraction as, "A condition or state of mind in which the attention is diverted from an original focus or interest."
A modern definition comes from the movie "UP"... SQUIRREL!
The battle for the attention of a work from home woman (actually, for any woman caring for a family and working) feels like a fight to the death. Every. Single. Day.
The typical scenario includes (in no particular order):
- Typical household responsibilities: cleaning, laundry, meals, errands
- Social Requirements
- Church and/or Community Involvement
- Network Events
- Product Creation and Delivery
- Continuing Education
- Husband's Social Calendar
- Children's Social/Academic Calendar
- Extended Family
- Self-Care (yeah! right!)
And, without a doubt, there are a half-dozen more I could list. And you could, too.
And every one of these is important. It's not like you can just toss one off to the side. However, we do all the time. Which of course lets the weed of Guilt grow like mad.
The prefix "dis-" means - "apart, asunder, away, utterly, or having a privative, negative, or reversing force". The word "traction" means - "the power that is used to pull something."
When we attempt to build a business and let "dis-traction" rule, we are pulled AWAY from our goals and purpose.
How do we fight and win the battle of distraction and all of it's seedlings of Guilt, Disappointment, Lack of Respect and Low Income?
3 STRATEGIES TO GET CONTROL OF YOUR GARDEN
Strategy #1 - Define the Garden Area
Boundary Edge Number 1: A clear and concise decision that YOU are a CEO of your business.
As the CEO of your business you must decide to BE THE BOSS. At the end of every day, you have to ask yourself this question, "Would I hire me or fire me today?" When you answer YOU'RE FIRED more than YOU'RE HIRED, you need to spend some time working in this area of your Business Garden.
Boundary Edge Number 2: A conversation with your family.
Often our family doesn't understand what we're trying to accomplish. And, in this instance, if you are a wife and mom, this discussion needs to include a conversation with your children. *Strategy #2 will help with this.*
Boundary Edge Number 3: A clear overview of your whole life.
Women carry a lot of responsibility. And, even though the goal is to HAVE it all, we simply can't DO it all. Often, when we create a plan for the day, week or month, we forget to leave flex time in the mix. What about special invitations or events? What about emergencies? When we don't have a built-in buffer zone, we can find ourselves stressed to the breaking point.
Boundary Edge Number 4: Learn to Say No.
This edge lines right up with Boundary Edge 1 and 3. You are the boss. You get to decide what you will and won't allow in your business. But you are also a woman who wears a lot of hats. It's okay to say no in business and in your personal life. Learn to say No and you'll be a lot happier.
Strategy #2 - Create Rows
A strategy planner, digital or paper calendar, Filofax, Bullet Journal - whatever you call it and prefer - is necessary for a highly-effective and profitable business. And, when used properly, it can help your family get on board with you and understand your activities and goals.
As CEO, you get to decide what you plant in your garden. If you don't plant anything, it doesn't mean nothing will grow. It means weeds take over. Weeds of Regret. Weeds of Guilt. Weeds of Disappointment. Weeds of Self-Recrimination.
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But with careful planning, watering and weeding, before you know it, your business garden will be filled with new clients, consistent income and personal pride.
The great thing about gardening is that you can grow a lot of wonderful things in a small space. Your rows of corn (exponential profits), can support tendrils of green beans (hobbies, travel, education for you and your family). In the shade of the corn and green beans, juicy watermelons (fun and adventure) grow to an enormous size. BUT, it takes planning and care.
If your business has an "off" season, this is the time to plant underground (beets and carrots) or winter-weathering crops (like cabbage) that are easy to care for, yet provide amazing yields. This is the time to make sure you have your finances in order for tax season. Use these quieter opportunities to do more networking and relationship building. Establish a habit of using these off season times for special adventures to rejuvenate the soil of your creativity and spirit.
Strategy #4 - Enlist Partners
The old saying goes, "Many hands make light work."
It sounds archaic, but when you think about your Business Garden, it simply means partnership helps get your harvest in more quickly.
You needs a few different kinds of partners in your business.
A partner to create a plan for the business garden. A coach can help you make sure you have the boundaries set up, the rows properly staked, and a strategy for growth in place.
Partners for legal and financial advice. Develop relationships with financial advisers, bankers, small business lawyers.
Partners to distribute the harvest. Strategic business partners (also known as joint venture partners) who serve the same market can help you get your products and services out to a greater market. Sure, you make give a percentage of the profits to them, but they can connect you to more people, more quickly.
A FINAL THOUGHT ON MULTI-TASKING
I'm a recovering multi-tasker. I mean, why do one thing at a time when you can do 10? Am I right or am I...
Multi-tasking is a sign you are living a distracted life. I'm sorry. I said it.
Some personalities are simply more prone to multi-tasking. But more and more science proves that all we do is task-switch. When we task-switch, we disrupt the flow of information we need for the project at hand. It is a great way to procrastinate, create a mess in your office space, and rarely complete anything to it's best possible conclusion.
I leave you with this great infographic on the cost of distraction, er, um...multi-tasking.
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