Focus useful to combatting EADD
Do you have entrepreneurial ADD?
If you’ve been involved in business for as many years as I have, you understand that most basic business theories haven’t changed much. In some cases, however, new information surfaces that can dramatically impact the success of individuals, and even change the future of entire companies.
ADD (attention deficit disorder) or AD/HD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) are neurological brain chemistry conditions.
Individuals with ADD are energetic and creative. They love ideas and are anxious to share them. Most find it challenging to focus on one thing, which makes it difficult to even start a task, let alone complete it.
They can be impulsive and easily distracted.
So what’s the relevance between ADD and AD/HD and business practice?
First, there is evidence that a high percentage of successful entrepreneurs possess some degree of ADD or AD/HD.
Second, entrepreneurship is alive and thriving. EADD, or entrepreneurial ADD, is common term used to describe the realities of being your own boss. Whether you are an individual with a degree of ADD, or a business owner with EADD, the same issues will surface sooner than later.
Individuals that begin and build their own business are usually passionate and enthusiastic. They can be daring risk-takers.
Many I know have little formal education but are very smart, even brilliant. They are innovative, creative and even insightful leaders.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the stimulus of new information causes continual distraction from the issues at hand. The good ideas are lost to the next big idea.
This can lead to major consequences, frustration and even inappropriate behaviour. New entrepreneurs can soon become overwhelmed with the volume of details running their operations.
Focus, planning and follow-through suffer. This often leads to frustration and possibly, shifting poor outcomes on to others.
This is a sensitive yet serious situation. Whether you know you have a degree of ADD, or recognize yourself as having EADD, the primary obstacle is the ability to focus.
The following suggestions may help you to develop some constructive habits.
It’s really useful to focus on results rather than focus on individual tasks. Establishing your “Why” — your vision of what success looks like, is very powerful.
J.D. Meier, an author and productivity blogger, recommends you set no more than three things you must do each week. Develop a mental picture. Then do not devote time to other ideas until you’ve accomplished your three objectives.
Set up a file system — a parking lot — for all your great ideas. Get them out of your head and store them where you can find them. Keep your mind and focus on the matters at hand.
Checklists are a must. They create a visual reference and reinforce your attention to your Why.
Experts say most people’s optimum focus time is somewhere between 20 and 45 minutes. Actually time yourself to discover how much time you can devote to one task before becoming distracted or interrupted.
Then break you day into blocks of time. If your optimum is 20 minutes, set a minimum of 5 minutes break time before continuing on to the next task; if 45 minutes, add 10 to 15 minutes each hour.
You must get up, move away from the computer/phone/desk and do something completely different. Do not mindlessly browse the web or YouTube. This only leads you “down the rabbit hole”, which eats up hours in your day.
Multi-tasking is really a myth; it should be referred to as task-switching. It’s impossible for the human brain to focus on several things at once.
It’s been proven that it actually takes longer to switch and refocus between tasks for some. Tackle one item at a time.
Resist the urge to answer the ringing phone or text beep. You can shut devices off, or even go to a quiet space for 20 to 45 minutes. I’ll admit it takes practice.
Establishing priorities is also a skill. Everything seems important and needs to get done.
Author Mike Michalowicz of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur recommends putting a $ sign next to those activities that directly generate revenue, including ones that sustain top-level customer service.
There is always the urge to try something new. However, find the tools that make sense to you and then utilize these for a minimum of two months.
This takes discipline. A coach, respected mentor or task buddy can help you stay on track.
This information just skims the surface of a very extensive subject. I encourage you to do further research to discover the available resources.
You may even discover that ADD is the root issue. This is a good thing. It will answer a lot of questions for you and help you to select tools that work best in your individual situation.
You can learn how to challenge your creative talent and enthusiasm and achieve the success you deserve.
ActionCoach is written by John MacKenzie of ActionCoach, which helps small- to medium-sized businesses and other organizations. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 403-340-0880.