We all have the same 24 hours in a day to get things done. The only difference between the highest producing salespeople and everyone else is how they spend their time. This is why focus is such a critical part of achieving your goals. In fact, time and time again, wildly successful people in fields ranging from entrepreneurship, to sports, to art, cite focus as the key to their success.
A focused salesperson is likely to be a successful one. But in today’s distraction-filled world, staying focused is more difficult than ever. Between phone notifications, office banter, administrative distractions, and our human propensity for daydreaming, keeping your mind and activity focused on productive tasks can be challenging. So we’ve put together a helpful guide with some daily rituals for salespeople that will help keep you laser focused. Here they are:
1. Prepare for the day ahead
It might be tempting to come into work every day and just wing it, but this won’t help you if you’re trying to stay focused. If you actually take the time to prepare for each day, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll be facing. This is important so that you can understand where you’ll need to focus your energies and how to spend your time as wisely and efficiently as possible. Preparing for the day ahead also allows you to create a comprehensive picture of where you stand on any of the daily challenges that you’ll face.
2. Ask yourself questions when you get distracted
When you do find yourself getting distracted, it can help to ask yourself a few questions. If you keep these in mind throughout the day, you’ll find that time spent being distracted will start to decrease. Ask if what you’re doing is making the best use of your time. Ask if this is what you truly wanted to be doing when you pictured yourself at work. And most importantly, ask what you could be doing that would be the most productive option, then go and do it.
3. Make a list
Lists are an excellent way to keep yourself focused because they take the guesswork out of how you should be spending your time. Depending on how you want to organize your tasks, whether it’s in order of importance or difficulty, having everything written out can serve as a guide that can get you back on track and keep you focused. When you come into work, look at the list, and check each task off as you complete it throughout the day. When you catch yourself drifting, just look back at the list and move on to the next task.
4. Take occasional breaks
There are some people who are such high achievers that they can work like machines day in and day out. These people are exceptions. The rest of us need to take breaks throughout the day to stay productive and not burn out. Make sure you take time in between each activity to decompress, whether it’s five minutes or an hour-long lunch break. Also, don’t forget to get up from your desk and move around throughout the day, otherwise you’re risking your physical health too.
5. Put a clock to it
There are a lot of highly focused people (like Elon Musk) who prefer to work in highly-efficient, timed increments. This means setting a timer and spending that time focused on a particular task, whether it’s for a half-hour or more. Then, you can take a 5-10 minute break before resetting the timer. The key is to work uninterrupted while the timer is going, and not allow yourself to get sidetracked by anything else. Of course, this method doesn’t work for everybody, but it can be a great way to channel your focus.
6. Remember your “why”
If you don’t have a driving force, then it’s going to be difficult to stay focused. Whatever your reasons are for wanting to achieve your goals, you not only need to keep them in mind every day. You should also constantly tie them directly into whatever work you’re doing. So if it’s your children that are your “why” every day, make sure you think of them and why you’re doing what you’re doing whenever the going gets tough, or when you’re having a hard time focusing on the tasks at hand.
7. Eliminate your biggest distraction
If you’re anything like me, then it’s likely that you have one really big distraction throughout the day, and more than likely it’s a website or a social network that sucks you in at the expense of everything else you need to get done. Whether it’s ESPN, or Twitter, or texting with your partner (this one might be harder to eliminate), if you can identify the really big distractions and then completely eliminate it during work hours, you’re likely to see a bigger ROI than you would by trying to nip all of the little distractions in the bud.
8. Just do it
I hope Nike doesn’t sue us for using their slogan, but it really does apply in this case. Sometimes, you just need to force yourself to sit there and do the things you know need to get done instead of procrastinating or allowing yourself to get distracted. Once you’ve identified the things that you should be focusing on, the ones that really move the needle, just sit down and start doing them, and before you know it, things will be flowing in the right direction. Sometimes, just getting started is the hardest part.