How To Get Focused If You Struggle With Consistency
I have a problem. As a business owner, it’s a rather big problem, actually. I have a million ideas running through my head at any given moment—some of them really good ones actually—but I struggle with staying consistent. (And consistency always wins!)
My problem with consistency stems from some inherent personal flaws: excessive creativity, gets bored easily, super excitable, only likes to do the fun stuff.
Does any of this sound like you?
Well, the good news is that you can still be a productive and effective individual if you suffer the same kinds of flaws as I do, it just takes some work. Here’s what you can do to get more focused in your business:
What to do if you’re super excitable
I really love what I do, and it definitely shows in the work I produce. However, being in love with my job also means that sometimes I get too excited by a new prospect or a new opportunity. When you’re super excitable, it’s easy to take on too much—and sometimes just too much of the wrong stuff.
It can be near impossible to be consistent if you’ve got too much on your plate. (There just aren’t enough hours in the day!) So the first step toward better consistency is saying no to some opportunities: the ones that will drain your energy, the ones that don’t provide much benefit, the ones that aren’t aligned with your vision. The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Once you’re sure that what you’ve taken on is right for you, get serious about what’s truly important. “Nothing kills consistency like a person who doesn’t understand their own priorities.” With so much going on, it’s easy to get off track, so put your priorities into your schedule and don’t waiver when something “shiny” comes along.
Client wants a call when you’re set to go to the gym? Well, there’s another eight hours in the day to schedule it. Plus, there’s always tomorrow!
A potential new lead wants to talk when you’re planning on finishing a project for a client? Well, a potential new lead is just that: potential. Your clients pay you NOW and deserve your attention.
What to do if you’re excessively creative
Excessive creativity might not sound like a flaw because, after all, who is going to complain about being able to transcend ideas and patterns to develop new and original work? The truth is it’s not about the creativity, but rather how a creative brain can sometimes inhibit my ability to stay focused.
When I’m in the zone, I think of nothing else. I also struggle with switching to a new project when the time calls for it. So how do I combat my own creative nature and turn it into consistency? Well, I give in to it.
By giving into my creativity and letting it take over, I stay hyper focused on one thing. I could spend hours strategizing and putting together an action plan for one client or an entire day writing content—just because that’s where my mood takes me. Instead of meeting self-imposed milestones, I could do a project from start to finish in one sitting.
Consistency comes into play here because by giving in to my creativity, I’m always ahead of the game. I do what feels right to me when it feels right to me, and then I am fully prepared a week or a month in advance. Now, I can take all of that work I created while in the zone and spread it out over days and weeks so my work is “consistent” until the mood strikes me once again.
What to do if you get bored easily
Because I get bored easily, focus is always an issue. That could mean I have trouble staying focused on a singular task or project, or I can get distracted from larger initiatives if they aren’t yielding the results I expect to see.
The first issue can be combated by doing project milestones in bulk and planning ahead. (See the two above sections!) The second issue, however, is a bit more tricky, and for a business owner, it can be dangerous.
Because we all have an easier time moving forward when we see results, focus on the little wins. If you take some time to think about it, you’ll find them. Use those wins to fuel your next steps. If you’ve dedicated a significant amount of time and energy to one strategy, but you can’t seem to find any wins, it’s time to reexamine your strategy.
Stop and ask yourself a few questions:
1. What is it that I need to happen?
2. Why isn’t this happening?
3. What could I be doing differently to make this happen?
4. How will I keep myself focused on taking the right steps every day?
When you answer these honestly, you should be able to identify some areas for improvement.
Positive change takes time and consistency, so if you find yourself bored with your efforts and/or your results, you must figure out WHY. Once you do that, you can make a plan of action. My biggest tip for staying consistent when you get bored easily? Find a partner to help you stay accountable when you’re struggling to stay accountable to yourself.
What to do if you only like to do the fun stuff
So this beautifully creative brain of mine likes to stay active, which means tasks like research, social media posting, follow up emails, etc. are just not my cup of tea. While it’s all well and good that I don’t love these tasks, they still need to get done.
The truth is that whatever in your business feels a bit yucky to you, is likely someone else’s zone of genius. So for consistency’s sake, I hire people to do the things in and for my brand that drain my energy and keep me from focusing on what I do best.
This isn’t as crazy as it sounds, I promise. Challenge yourself to hire someone for five hours a week to take over what you can’t or don’t want to do. Five hours, that’s it. Instead of spending time trudging through or training yourself to do these tasks better, hand them off to someone who is brilliant at them. You’ll be surprised how much of your own time is freed up when you allow yourself to do only what lights you up.
Meet the Author: Shauna Arimtage
Shauna is a Marketing Director or Fractional CMO helping early-stage startups scale with effective strategies, creative solutions, and unparalleled integrity by making the most of small budgets for maximum impact.
As a vocal advocate for women in business, Shauna is on a mission to redefine what it looks like to be a working woman and to support other women doing the same. She spends her free time traveling with her husband and four kids while drinking Coca-Colas. Connect with her on Instagram at @shauna.armitage.