Search

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Entrepeneur 16 May 2019 08:55
40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused
Image credit: Stitch Fix

Today, being an entrepreneur can be all encompassing. You are always on, all the time. The danger of living in a world where it is possible to be on call 24/7 is that the majority of your time may be spent fielding phone calls, emails and social posts -- meaning the tasks you wanted to complete remain untouched. But it doesn't have to be this way.

We spoke to 40 successful entrepreneurs on what strategies they use to maintain focus and get work done.

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Don’t let your inbox take over your to-do list.

Don’t let your inbox take over your to-do list.
Image credit: NerdWallet

Name: Tim Chen
Company: NerdWallet
Strategy: Each Monday I prioritize what I want to accomplish that week, and then I think about what I've done at the end of the week and share it in an email to my employees called "Reflections." It's a great way to make space in your head, otherwise your inbox and email becomes your to-do list, which is ridiculous because you didn't create that to do list. [It was sent to you by other people.]

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Take it one step at a time.

Take it one step at a time.
Image credit: Zocdoc

Name: Oliver Kharraz
Company:
Zocdoc
Strategy: I had the benefit of studying at a Jesuit monastery. We studied complicated texts and immersed ourselves, pushing our attention spans to the very limit. It's like meditation in that you learned to direct your thoughts. It's an active skill, like working out.

Pick something that you want to think about, and only think about that. Don't let anything else enter your thoughts. Try for five minutes in the beginning -- and know that just like a marathon where you start with just a half mile to begin with, in the end you'll be able to do it for hours once you train for it.

Read more about Kharraz: This Founder Says to Succeed You Need to Question Everything

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Compartmentalize.

Compartmentalize.
Image credit: Nicole Franzen

Name: Jennie Ripps
Company: Owl's Brew
Strategy: I try to compartmentalize my days. For instance, I'll spend an hour before the workday sending out emails, and I won't look at incoming emails until everything is completely outbound. I find that I focus more when I do only one thing and not a million things; it cuts down on the noise.

Read more about Ripps: The One Thing This Entrepreneur Does Each Day to Stay Productive

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Take steps toward the big goal.

Take steps toward the big goal.
Image credit: Michael Bezjian | Getty Images

Name: Jen Rubio
Company: Away
Strategy: My best advice is to keep your eye on the prize. I think if you always keep in mind the bigger thing you are working towards, it's a good gauge to make sure that everything you're doing is a step towards that goal. An inch toward the bigger goal can actually be a massive step forward. Whether your bigger goal is to IPO your company or you're really focused on building a team, make sure everything you're doing every day is in some way a step towards that. When those opportunities come up, take a step back and ask yourself if it is actually contributing to the brand you're building.

Read more about Rubio: Use This Founder's Top Tip To Make Your Meetings Work For You

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Put your phone away.

Put your phone away.
Image credit: Weebly

Name: Dave Rusenko
Company: Weebly
Strategy: I have a personal policy that any time I'm with someone -- at a meeting, dinner, or over drink -- that I will never check my phone or watch, and make sure to keep 100 percent focus on the person. This carries into our meetings. We have saying at the office during meetings, "laptops down." Unless you're the presenter, the rule is everyone needs to shut their laptop in the meeting. It allows the person to be physically and mentally present.

Read more about Rusenko: Weebly's Founder Explains the Richard Branson Moment That Changed How He Ran His Company

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Tackle big things first thing.

Tackle big things first thing.
Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images

Name: Angie Hicks
Company: Angie's List
Strategy: It's about prioritizing things during the day. I tend to want to get things off my plate first thing in the morning that are just must dos. I tackle them first and go from there. Inevitable, your day gets away from you, so if it's big thing it gets the first spot in the morning.

Read more about Hicks: This Introvert Founder Swears by This Management Tip

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Celebrate your wins.

Celebrate your wins.
Image credit: Michael Bezjian | Getty Images

Name: Kara Goldin
Company: Hint
Strategy: Find time for yourself every day to do something you love. For me, that's exercise. It clears my head and allows me to focus on what's important in the moment. Also, celebrate your wins. If you focus on three things that you have done well lately it will help you to tell yourself, "you can do it!"

Read more about Goldin: The Entrepreneur Behind a $90 Million Company Shares How You Can Get Past the Naysayers to Build a Successful Business

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Practice saying ‘not now,’ not ‘no’

Practice saying ‘not now,’ not ‘no’
Image credit: Stephen Lovekin | Getty Images

Name: Daniel Lubetzky
Company: KIND
Strategy: As entrepreneurs, we tend to have a desire to create a lot of different things. When there are so many things that you want to do, it's hard to say "no" to any of them. Instead, I try to say "not now." Not now doesn't mean not ever; it just means that we'll get to it once we're done accomplishing whatever we're focused on today.

Read more about Lubetzky: How a 9-Year-Old Taught This Super Successful Entrepreneur About Taking Risks

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Three is the magic number.

Three is the magic number.
Image credit: BloomThat

Name: David Bladow
Company: BloomThat
Strategy: Before I go to bed on Sunday, I plan out my week for each day, and ask myself what I need to get done each day. At the top of the list, I highlight my three most important tasks for the week. These are the thing I have to be focused on. I modify it as the week goes on, and I return to that list multiple times a day. If I didn't have that from the get go, it's easy to get pulled in different directions. Before the dust gets thrown in the air, it helps keep me focused on what I need to accomplish for the week.

Read more about Bladow: This Founder Has 3 Simple Tips to Achieve Maximum Productivity

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Question everything.

Question everything.
Image credit: Pure Barre | Getty Images

Name: Bastian Lehmann
Company: Postmates
Strategy: With our teams we constantly try to question our assumptions. We don't ever want to wake up and find that the world has changed around us. The best way to do that is to question everything, stay ahead of things and understand change.

Read more about Lehmann: This Founder Shares the One Trait He Looks for in Every Hire

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Keep email to a minimum.

Keep email to a minimum.
Image credit: ThirdLove

Name: Heidi Zak
Company: ThirdLove
Strategy: I check email once an hour or less. If I check it more, I lose focus. So, I set aside five or 10 minutes to check email and then spend the rest of the time thinking about what I need to be doing.

Read more about Zak: What This Founder Learned at a Farmstand Helped Her Bra Startup

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Do activities where you aren’t thinking about work.

Do activities where you aren’t thinking about work.
Image credit: Stitch Fix

Name: Katrina Lake
Company: Stitch Fix
Strategy: Doing things where it's hard to be distracted like running and cooking -- and in some ways it's actually commuting. There's so many days when I take the bus to work, I feel like I can clear my mind. I love that time.

Read more about Lake: Stitch Fix Founder Explains Why the Worst Piece of Advice She Ever Got Was to Raise A Lot of Money

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Think deeply, away from screens.

Think deeply, away from screens.
Image credit: Steve Mack | Getty Images

Name: Scott Harrison
Company: Charity:Water
Strategy: I'm always looking to find time to think on something deeply without interruption. Carving out time away from devices and screens can be extremely beneficial to focusing. Take the time to go on a walk or sit in the park.

Read more about Harrison: Everyone Can Adopt This Founder's One-Step Productivity Advice

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Focus your to-do list with numbers.

Focus your to-do list with numbers.
Image credit: Angela Weiss | Getty Images

Name: Ayah Bdeir
Company: LittleBits
Strategy: It seems really simple, but just numbering the list of things you have to do. Just taking a few minutes to put the things in order that you need to get done is a very focusing kind of exercise. Then if in the middle of the day something becomes number one, moving that up on the list is actually a very active focusing agent, because then you're like OK if number one doesn't get done, then the rest doesn't matter. It really helps you zero in on what's important.

Read more about Bdeir: This Successful Entrepreneur Explains Why Revenue Is Not the Most Important Thing (and What Is)

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Set time limits.

Set time limits.
Image credit: Courtesy of Box

Name: Aaron Levie
Company: Box
Strategy: Most things I'm working on, max, I spend 30 to 60 minutes and then move on to the next thing. It's a strategy that works for me, but it's just not how I define a strategy for staying focused.

Read more about Levie: Why This Founder Says You Shouldn't Be Afraid to Go Big

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Get in your own world.

Get in your own world.
Image credit: Courtesy of Brooklinen

Name: Vicki Fulop
Company: Brooklinen
Strategy: Big sound-proof headphones with music or rainforest sounds.

Read more about Fulop: Use This Founder's Simple Email Strategy to Keep Burnout at Bay

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Always ask yourself ‘why?’

Always ask yourself ‘why?’
Image credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Hyman

Name: Jennifer Hyman
Company: Rent the Runway
Strategy: Focus on the big picture and the "whys" behind your work. If your work isn't mission driven or emotionally resonant to you, it will be very hard to maintain passion and focus over a long period of time, which is critical in entrepreneurship. Too often, ambitious, type A people stay on "the track" going from great college to a competitive job to the next competitive job without stopping to think about what they are passionate about and how they want to spend their time. Personally, I am inspired by creating a new behavior in the world: renting clothes that makes women feel like the best version of themselves every day. Focusing on this mission to empower women not only keeps me focused, but helps me prioritize the right strategic choices for the company.

Read more about Hyman: Rent the Runway's Jennifer Hyman Shares Her Worst Advice Ever: 'Shut Up and Act Sweet'

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Do the think you are putting off first.

Do the think you are putting off first.
Image credit: Courtesy of Sarah Kauss

Name: Sarah Kauss
Company: S'well
Strategy: I try to do the most important thing or the thing that I most dreading first thing in the morning and get it over with.

I look at my calendar and think about what is that thing that's going to drive the business. What is that thing that I need to do that's going to have the impact on the bottom line or have the impact on the day and just do it.

Read more about Kauss: This Successful Entrepreneur Shares Why You Should Do The Thing You Dread Most First Thing Every Day

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Work in short bursts.

Work in short bursts.
Image credit: Courtesy of Tristan Walker

Name: Tristan Walker
Company: Walker & Company
Strategy: I spend the first hour and a half of my day reading. I try to read three to four hours a day. I don't have too much time, so I just try to find those little nuggets to learn something and get into a working mindset.

Read more about Walker: This Successful Entrepreneur Explains Why You Don't Need Billions to Build a Brand That Hits Home

40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Company wide progress reports.

Company wide progress reports.
Image credit: Courtesy of Melanie Perkins

Name: Melanie Perkins
Company: Canva
Strategy: Good communication is one of the most important aspects of being a good leader and helping the team make good decisions on achieving their goals.

Throughout the week, each team catches up daily progress, and on Fridays we do a company-wide standup which is a great opportunity to bring everyone together and share knowledge. Our structure of small, empowered teams enables everyone to be nimble and move quickly and also gives each team ownership over their work so they can be as effective and creative as they can be.

Rad more about Perkins: She Was Told 'No' 100 Times. Now This 30-Year-Old Female Founder Runs a $1 Billion Business.

Continue reading original article...

Tags

Randi ZuckerbergMichael BezjianBarbara CorcoranBloombergJennifer Hyman
You may also like