March 8


How to Achieve Focus and Productivity: Tips from a Successful Entrepreneur

I have 4 businesses…maybe 5. OK…I actually have one business and 4 separate sub categories.

Screw it….I love creating things. There is no number.

I’m a right-brainer. That means my ideas, creativity and passion for creating is stronger than organizeing my sock drawer. There are 4 basic personalities (pick your DISC profile) and plenty of crossover between the meticulous, process-oriented business owner and the highly creative and visionary entrepreneur. Regardless of your dominant side, you probably have more ideas than minutes in a day (1,440 minutes if you don’t include sleep).

I have over 3 notebook pads on my desk and all of them are at least 1/2 filled with funnels, drawings, arrows, concepts and brand names that are all worth millions….maybe more. My whiteboard has daily habits on the left and  a prioritized task list on the right. In the center…my big idea.

Not my actual notepads. Stock photo used to hide my illegible handwriting.
Not my actual notepads. Stock photo used to hide my illegible handwriting.

My VA probably knows (and tolerates) my ADD better than my clients.

“Ken, please build a framework for this website, then, do research on these 3 blog topics. This afternoon, send reminder emails to these three clients regarding their Best Seller launch.”

“OK,” he replies.

4 minutes later I type, “URGENT: Pause those tasks and research a better hosting provider. Hostgator puked on us again.”

“Will do” he says.

20 minutes later I say, “Push that last task to tomorrow. Our server is back up now.”

“OK,” he politely agrees.

Damn…I need to give him a raise.

When it comes to balancing work; focusing on important tasks first can eliminate the urgent ones later. Remember the 4 quadrants from Steven Covey? Like many of you, I did read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and, perhaps like you, I dutifully used my Franklin Covey planner for only 9 months. Like most of us (including 70% of Accenture managers, according to a partner I spoke with there), I don’t use my paper planner anymore.

[tweetthis]”Putting out fires can be exciting….but it’s never very productive.” -Doug Crowe[/tweetthis]

I wonder how many right brained entrepreneurs take time to sharpen their axe? If you are a right-brain business owner, do you dedicate consistent time to planning and completing those big projects you so effortlessly create in the shower?

Take the following image below and put THIS on your whiteboard. Every time you log onto Facebook or are inclined to check your email 16 times per day, pause and get back to building the systems you need to attain the freedom you desire. If you can’t build the systems, hire someone who can.

Focusing on "Important" tasks will prevent 90% of your "urgent" ones.
Focusing on “Important” tasks will prevent 90% of your “urgent” ones.

I personally get a mild thrill when the left side of my brain kicks in for a bit. It does always reflect in my results in a permanent manner. Does that mean the training and the formation of those new habits was totally lost? When we learn and apply something for the magical 21 or 30 days, does it always become a permanent habit?

Not by a long shot.

This is especially true for highly creative entrepreneurs. Most of us are sponges for learning, sharing and trying new things. The danger is not in the attempts (we thrive on the danger of the unknown). The real risk is in not trying at all (rarely happens) or in self-sabotage of that which is working. (Two steps forward and three steps back)

Taking 3 steps forward and sliding back one or two, however, does result in a bit of forward progress. The executives at Accenture, even though most abandoned their Franklin Planners after 8 months, did develop some new skills. In many cases (including my own), I still write down my goals, tasks and objectives and assign the A, B, C with lower case numbers next to the letters. However, instead of refilling the paper planner, I write my tasks on my whiteboard. I used to put this list on my phone, but the white board stares at me all day while the phone screen has auto shut off.

It can be insanely frustrating to watch those process-oriented founders and CEOs, with singular focus, create their millions with patience and persistence. Those left brainers certainly have what it takes to stick with and complete their projects. It’s even more frustrating when they accomplish the “big win” at 35 …or 25 years old.

Right brainers? Well, our artistic side is one that can never be shut off or even turned down. To try and do so will be about as successful as getting a penguin to fly. We simply aren’t built for it.

The better solution if you are a right brainer like me is to compliment and augment your skills with vendors, partners and employees who are left-brainers. When hiring your administrative assistant, get someone who can accept you for who you are, but is your near opposite personality-wise.

If you are a left brain CEO, make sure your marketing and sales team are right brained, slightly disorganized and sickenly optimistic. This will insure a well balanced team for your organization. Just be sure their support staff have personalities and skills sets that supplement, not duplicate their own.

A balanced team is the only way your business(es) will thrive and grow.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe for Strategic Insights You Can Use