Friday, 6 April 2012

How Focus Can Help You Build a Successful Blog

I recently did a time management course and there was something which I heard the speaker say which really resonated with me. He said that when it comes to time management, you don’t really manage time, but you manage yourself instead. The amount of time available is always the same, sort of like a constantly flowing river, but what is not the same is what you do with the flow of time and how you use it to make your life or online business a success.

So when it comes to blogging or other online businesses, the area which is key to your success is the amount of focus you have when doing your work. Focus determines how effectively you use time, and lack of focus usually leads to wasted time.

There are two main aspects of focus:

1. Quality of focus
This refers to where you are putting your focus on NOW. For instance you could be intensely focused on playing a game on your computer for hours during the day, but if your aim is to build your Internet business, then the quality of this type of focus is considered to be low for the intended goal.

The quality of your focus is also dependent on whether you are able to stick to one thing at a time without getting distracted or trying to do many things simultaneously.

2. Quantity of focus
This is the amount of focus you can apply on one thing at a time. Many successful people are able to focus on a task for a prolonged period of time with no self imposed interruptions. Self imposed interruptions are things like checking your email or aimlessly surfing the net after you’ve spent only 5 or 10 minutes working on an unfinished blog article. Fragmented focus such as this can chew up hours of time and energy with no desirable result.

Psychologists and scientists have found that around 40-50 minutes of focus on a single task or activity is optimal.

People generally aren’t able to focus on one thing long enough to actually achieve or produce anything of great worth. In other words most people’s capacity for focus is low but the good news is that this can be expanded and strengthened just like a muscle.

So our main objective is to hone our skills so that the quality and quantity of our focus will lead to achieving our goals. This means that we are able to focus on one relevant task at a time and that we are able to focus up to 40 to 50 minutes on each individual task without self imposed interruptions.

Below are some steps to help guide you in strengthening your focus muscles:

i) Identify 2 or 3 things which will give you the most leverage to make your Internet business succeed

This will vary from person to person but you should be able to find a couple of really important tasks which you can start on. One example is spending 50 minutes every day building your site’s content by working on articles.

Another example is, educating yourself in a particular technology or subject until you are at the point where you feel confident that you can apply this to help make your website succeed.

ii) For each of the things listed above, write down what your desired outcome is

This is important because it will help you focus on the things that you want to achieve not on the things which you do not want or you are trying to avoid. For instance, before Michelangelo started his masterpiece sculpture of David he knew what he wanted to achieve with the block of marble and he focused on this desired outcome by chipping away at it for more than 2 years until he eventually accomplished his goal.

Knowing your desired outcome will help keep you focused on the right tasks.

iii) Focus daily on the tasks identified in step 1 for periods of 50 minutes without distraction

If you do this daily over a long period of time such as months or years, you will start to see your tasks through to completion, but more importantly, you will rapidly gain momentum with what you are trying to create or achieve. You may choose to repeat these tasks daily by allocating 4 to 8 hours overall, but at the very minimum you should at least perform one block of 40 or 50 minutes for each task per day. Don’t forget to take short breaks between each 50 minute period and take the time to leave your computer and go outside for a short walk or have a drink of water or cup of tea.

All big achievements and successes in life or online business come from building a momentum using focused effort. To use the muscle analogy again,  just like you would be able to eventually lift heavier weights if you trained regularly at the gym, regular sustained focus which is repeated over the long term, will build enough strength and momentum to enable you to take on more load or bigger tasks with respect to your Internet business ventures.


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