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The Butler’s Focus Rant

#News

7 Jun 2019

8 Comments

Wake up… Coffee… Gym?? Office!

Emails… Projects… Calls… Accounts?? Stress!

AHHH!

I am sure most of you are familiar with the feeling that creeps up every now and then, that gutting feeling of being overwhelmed.

You have all of these things that you want to achieve, innovations, deals to close, product or service improvements.

Send another ten emails, sell another five products.

And before you know it, you are stuck in the quagmire of “brain burnout.” That moment where you get nothing done—because you are trying to do everything.

Oh, how well I know that feeling!

Over the last four years, I have personally experienced this several times, and every time there was a turning point where I used that moment to grow. Not just personally, but professionally.

I’m talking about the exact moment when I REALISE that I am in the quagmire and then start working my way out.

Many of you will say, well that’s too late. And you’re absolutely correct!

By the time that you find yourself in brain burnout, you will have to work ten times harder to get out of the hole you have created for yourself.

So, at what point do you have to lay the groundwork to avoid slipping into this habit of over-commitment, you ask?

Right now. Today. Tomorrow. Always.

The reality is, that if you want to grow your business aggressively—no matter what form your business takes—you have to be ever-aware of the pitfalls of over-commitment.

First things first….

Delegation

Giving up control of essential tasks can be very stressful, especially when you remain convinced that you are the only one who can “do it right.”

Of course, deep down, you know that this can’t be true.

What’s crucial here is to take emotion out of the equation.

Start looking at your team or hiring options and work out:

  • What are the tasks that are taking up most of my time?
  • Which tasks can be automated?
  • Which tasks can I hand over to team members?
  • Which tasks can I outsource economically?

Ultimately, you should perform an Expected Value Calculation and determine the risks involved in passing your tasks on to someone else—as well as the expected upside that could result from you having your time back.

What you will soon figure out is that the reward is far greater than the risk. And that by letting go, you quickly gain a lot of additional traction that you didn’t previously think you had.

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Prioritisation

Now that you have established which tasks you need to be doing personally and which tasks can easily be carried out by your team, the next step is to figure out which task to focus on first.

This is where I find that there could be a few right answers.

Personally, I prefer to create a list of all the priorities that I need to take care of. And because I’m weird, I actually mean that I write a list list… like on paper. 🙂

I then go through the list and look for quick wins. After all, we’re all dopamine addicts and earning a swift result helps set the right tone for the rest of the day.

So, maybe there’s a painful email you’ve been putting off replying to or some Facebook messages. Maybe there’s a video you need to record.

Whatever it may be, you’ll know what the quickest win is. Go ahead—smash it out!

And when I say smash it out, I mean—Get In The Zone!

Put your headphones on and crush it until it’s done.

Now that you’ve completed the task, you can (finally!) cross it off the list.

Ahhhh, there it is—dopamine!

Off to the next task. And then the next.

And before you know it, you have managed to get through your list!

Caveat: Do you have some really big tasks?

Something that will take a few days to complete?

Not a problem! Set yourself time slots to work on them.

By limiting the amount of time you work on any given task, it will seem far less daunting, more achievable, and the quality of your work will reflect it.

Don’t forget. Focus is not achieved purely through lists and planning.

Focus comes from within. I recommend looking at:

Most importantly, I find that focus comes from a happy home life too.

Happy grinding!

8 Comments

Eric Arinduque

Nice one. Thanks for the article. In my case, I have one day (Sunday) where I stay unplugged. That means the phone and laptop are off. I just use the phone to record videos, but in no way am I checking emails, catching up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, etc. I need that one day to recover, engage with the real world. Then, I feel I have an increased appetite and energy to take on a new week.

    John K

    That’s a really nice way to rejuvenate the brain. I try to do the same – Sundays unplugged. Just go out and do some stuff, run some errands and let your mind wonder. Those days are true bliss sometimes!

Bibi Raven

YES – this is sooooo true. I’m a good specialist, a good salesperson, but project management, planning, and focusing do not come natural to me. I’m so happy to hear you have similar issues 🙂 I’m working every day to improve on this. Reading stories like yours really really help. Thank you <3

    John K

    Hey Bibi!
    You are so welcome! I think that it’s so common for us to assume that “we are the only ones” that are experiencing XYZ, but once we start reading and sharing etc. we get so much perspective of how other people went through their struggles.
    Thanks for the kind words 🙂

Life Hacker guy

Nice post Jonathan. I can completely relate to this and struggled for years micro-managing staff and focusing on the minutiae when I should have had a top-down approach. Still prefer to work in small group though and be hands on. Cheers, Adam

    John K

    Adam! I do think that working in small groups and being hands-on is a beautiful thing. You can become the bottleneck for growth though. I have considered this many times throughout the growth of my businesses. Because I very much like to be hands-on myself. I just catch myself being a “helicopter manager” sometimes and need to back off 😀

John

Happy home life is huge. It’s hard to work if you’re arguing with your wife or whoever is close to you at home. And sleep. For me and my feeble mind, the main thing is getting rid of distractions. Email, Youtube, Facebook, IG, people talking to me when I’m working.. major focus killers. Once the focus is dealt with, then comes all the other things like handling tasks the right way. Good stuff.

    John K

    Hey John, Thanks a lot for your comment! I couldn’t agree more – A happy home life should come first and foremost. Once you are “at peace” with the world you are able to look at things in a whole different light.
    For me one of the hard things with distractions such as social media, is about finding a healthy balance. So much of our business these days depends on a healthy relationship with the audience. And yet I would be quite happy not being on social media at all.
    It feels like we are programmed to always consume – and the more we consume, the more we want to consume. Its a vicious cycle. This is why I believe strongly in creating a focus plan and sticking to it. 🙂

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