How many times have you asked this question - If I could just have some quiet time and could focus on ONE thing, it will get better? I have said this over and over throughout the years. I wished I could just accomplish SOME thing that would make a difference in my business and life.
Here's what I learned. I was focused on too many ONE things! I could not stay clearly focused on just one thing. I focused on client work, client retention, payroll, and all the things that come with running a business.
Not only is it difficult to focus on one thing in terms of task work, but then you must add in all the “noise” in our industry around so many things, such as:
- You need to change the way you price
- You need to go to advisory services
- You need to get better technology
- You need to find a niche and specialize
- You need to market your practice
- You need to get higher-end clients
- You need to identify and change the services you provide
- You need to document your systems and processes
- You need to think about when you sell your business
- You need to work on your business
- You need to do …. Blah, blah, blah
I got so overwhelmed with all the noise that I would try to do everything at once. Did that help me? NO!
I got stuck and would get frustrated! I had constant “shiny object syndrome.” I enrolled in program after program. I implemented and wasted so much money and time on technology that was not right for me. None of this helped either! It was just a distraction or just something else to think about. It also sidetracked me from what I really needed to be working on.
I had to decide what I needed to do. My options:
1. Just keep working the way I had always done and keep getting the same results.
2. Just keep working harder and longer and keep getting the same results.
3. Try changing everything and getting worse results because you were not getting anything accomplished.
4. Change ONE thing that was my biggest pain point at that time.
Of course, like many of us, I took the long way to get to option 4! Over the years, I tried the first three options first and never accomplished anything. Then I tried option 4. I started just picking one thing. When I decided to stop trying to do it all at once and just focus on one thing before moving on to something else, it was a revelation! WOW, that was so much easier!
I know running your practice is hard. Believe me, with everything you are juggling, it helps when you only solve one thing at a time. When you choose only one thing, it keeps you laser-focused on that one thing.
If you are like me, you love education. But when we take class after class it makes it difficult to stay focused on one thing. Every course or webinar gives you new ideas and you want to implement those ideas. Sometimes, though, these are all just distractions from what truly is a pain point in your business. You drive your team CRAZY with all your “new” ideas. After a while, they stop listening. We all need to and want to learn more ways to help our clients or our business, but it has to be the right time to implement what you have learned.
I cannot tell you how many times I started something new and never saw it to completion. I cannot tell you how many pieces of technology I have subscribed to on a trial and never went anywhere with. I just would mess with it for a while, but I never had the time to truly invest in it. Then I would just pay for it month after month. Do you know why? It was not the one true pain point in my business.
Want to know why I did this?
I did it to keep from working on the hard stuff. Pain points are hard to work on. If you knew how to fix them, they would not be pain points. Most of my pain points went deeper into my knowledge level so I avoided them. I kept thinking if I could just have the right piece of technology then it would solve it. It rarely did because you must put the time and effort into the new technology which you do not have.
What was my ONE thing?
My one thing was to get my systems and processes documented. My team was driving me nuts! My entire team spent so much unproductive time asking questions. I literally would refer to myself as a ringmaster of a circus. That is how I felt every day! I came to work early and left late every day. Worked weekends and holidays because that was my only “quiet time.” I knew if we would just document everything, most questions would be answered in the process.
How did I pick one thing and stick to it?
First, write down or type out what your one thing is. Put it on your desk! Look at it and focus on it.
1. Identify the things that are keeping you up at night or driving you NUTS! Here are just a few examples:
- Is it fear of missing deadlines or tasks?
- Is it because you do not get anything done because you feel like you are in a circus? (This was one of mine.)
- Is it a lack of profit?
- Is it a lack of sales?
- Is it too many clients?
- Is it that you have that one large client that takes all your resources and time? (This was one of mine.)
- Is it you not getting paid what you need to get paid for your personal lifestyle?
- Is it cash flow?
- Is it not being able to take time off because you have no one to do the work?
- Is it feeling like you are always “on-call”?
2. Identify the ONE thing you are going to work on now by breaking down the level of importance of each thing on your list.
3. Identify and break down steps to solve that one problem. As you are creating your list of steps, remember, you only are working on one problem at a time.
4, Reserve at least 30 minutes every day to work on that one problem and stick to it. Do it when you are at your best working time and place. Perhaps before you open anything else on your computer.
If you are a checklist person (like me), mark off what you have accomplished each day. This way you can see progress, especially if there are many parts to your one thing.
Reflect on your accomplishments.
Reflection is the most important step. Many of us forget to look at what we accomplished so we always feel defeated. Always look back! When you reflect, think about what it looked like before and what it looks like now. Think about what it means to you to have that solved and what you no longer are having to do.
My point is this, you can change anything you want to. You must have a narrow focus and stay focused on that ONE thing! Working on one thing at a time can feel like you will never get to all the things that you want but I promise you will. It is all about prioritizing and executing your plan!