I had something in common with a lot of our clients, I struggled to focus on that one thing. In corporate we used to be praised for multitasking, we now know better. But in today’s business, we’re constantly surrounded by distractions competing for our attention. How then to focus, and do that one thing how it deserves to be done.
In order to succeed, you need to do one thing … and do it well. We need to be able to focus on the project or tasks that delivers the best outcome at that point in time.
An example. Our business strategy for 2019 includes the following projects in order to achieve our goals:
- Website Redesign ✅
- Launch fixed price services 3️⃣
- Launch online course 4️⃣
- Attract more of our ideal clients 2️⃣
There’s a whole lot of tasks that come under these strategies. An overwhelming number and we’re already in August! I’m not going to achieve all of these this year (but I will achieve them!) because I want us to do each thing well, and in order to do that we’re focusing. We prioritised, our website redesign was the foundation for our other strategies so we did that first. Next I need to ensure my growing team has the work they need, so attracting more of our ideal clients is our current ‘one thing’.
Tasks that fall into this strategy include:
- Updating our lead magnets and landing pages
- Updating our email sequences
- Being more present on LinkedIn
- Being more strategic on Instagram and Facebook
- Reaching out to our existing clients to let them know we have capacity for referrals at the moment
- Consistent newsletters
- Consistent blog posts
- Paid campaigns
- Targeting new audiences
It’s exactly the same with clients. Here’s the steps we follow with them. Steps I hope will help you to focus on, and do that one thing, amazingly well.
Step 1: Knowing Your One Thing
How can you possibly focus when you have so many ideas! They are the soul of your business, they are what keep you improving and being relevant. Ideas drive growth.
In a strategy session we’ll brainstorm the ideas. All ideas are listed in a doc which is constantly updated, once documented it’s out of your head … making it easier to focus on the idea you’re prioritising.
Then we come back to our client’s goals. That’s our why for when that one thing gets hard!
In our list we prioritise the ideas, determining which gets us closest to achieving their goal. That’s our focus.
Step 2: Create Our One Thing Project
Now we break our One Thing into actionable, measurable tasks using our Project Brief Template:
Milestones are added to the client’s calendar (or project management tool such as Asana or Trello).
Step 3: Form a Habit
It’s all well and good doing steps 1 and 2 but executing an idea, keeping the focus, is where so many of us fail to complete. I’ve created habits to help me focus. For me it’s a must do to login to LinkedIn each morning before I do anything else. My streak target (number of days in a row I’ve kept up with this habit) is 39 days. That’s pretty impressive, for me! In committing to 20 minutes every week morning I’ve ‘been present on LinkedIn’ for 13 hours, that’s 13 hours I wouldn’t have been able to do without forming a habit. And it’s paying off.
So with our client’s we look at habits we can form which helps us focus on tasks within our one thing.
We keep streak targets and align these habits with outcomes … so when temptation presents to do something ‘more important’ they can keep their focus.
Step 4: Be Accountable
When I was working with a coach I was so worried about coming into our next call not having done my ‘homework’! Just the fact that I had to be accountable helped me to focus and get things done. So whether it’s your virtual assistant, OBM, coach, mentor, colleague … you get the drift. Be accountable for your milestones to someone you don’t want to let down. We’re so much more likely to let ourselves down than we are others.
I’m responsible for checking in with my clients so they’re accountable for their milestones.
Step 5: Setting Yourself Up To Focus
- Turn off or shut down any other application not needed for the task you’re working on. For that reason I put my “one thing” in ProWorkFlow, our project management tool. All the info and files I need for the task I’m focusing on are in here so I can shut down my other applications.
- Move your phone away from your desk or turn it onto airplane mode.
- Use an app such as Forest to help you stay focused and be present.
- Keep your goal where you can see it. Remember WHY you need to focus.
- Work to an outcome, not to a task. By giving yourself 45 minutes to have your eBook ready to send to your VA by 10am, they’ll then be able to go live with your ad by midday. The outcome is new leads coming in this afternoon rather than tomorrow (or the day after).
- Have music or background noise if this helps you to block out everything else.
Step 6: Review Your One-Thing
Plans do change and being flexible and adaptive is just part of what makes you the successful business owner you are.
With clients we have monthly strategy sessions and go through our project brief template. In these sessions we:
- Track performance, are we meeting our milestones? If not why? What needs to change so we do. Our milestones themselves, our client’s workload, extra resources?
- Has the goal changed? How are we tracking in terms of meeting the measurements of the goal?
- What have the wins been? Take a moment to celebrate those and talk about what impact they’ve had.
- What are the frustrations? How can we reduce or eliminate those?
- Has the one thing itself changed? Life and business is never stagnant, emergencies happen and priorities change which then affect our why. For example if we go back to the top of the list, originally my second focus was going to be creating our fixed price products. But we took on a couple of new contractors I didn’t want to miss out on and a couple of our larger clients took on in-house staff meaning our hours reducing, so my focus changed to lead attraction.
I think I’ve covered everything I cover with clients. Download the project brief template if you haven’t already. Write down your goals and your ideas. Prioritise and follow the steps above. By focusing on one thing, by ticking it off one task at a time … just imagine what you can achieve!
If you need a hand, a brainstorming session or an accountability partner book a Milestones Strategy Session with me.
Because two heads are always better than one when it comes to planning out how to focus on your one thing!