How to Focus in a sea of content!

by Nancy Hassel, Amerian Pet Professionals I often get inspired by others, who doesn’t right, but in this day and age of constant content coming at us 24/7 without any break from it, unless you shut everything down.  We are so easily distracted and not focused on what we should be – when it comes to our businesses, careers, and jobs.   A few weeks ago Facebook and Instagram were down, for the entire day.  While many of us rely on those platforms for business purposes, that day I happen to be super focused on prepping for Global Pet Expo, and didn’t even know that they were down until 4:30 in the afternoon.  When I tried to post a business post on Facebook in the morning I thought something was wrong with my WIFI that morning.   So I moved onto to prepping for Global all day.  Someone posted the next day a meme that said something to the effect of ‘most productive workday since 2004,’ hilarious, but also sad and true.     How could you focus better if you weren’t consumed daily by social media and what everyone else is doing?   What action steps toward those goals for your business could you really be taking if you had a clearer vision with fewer distractions?   (Of course, if your actual job is doing social for your business or career, it can be even harder to focus).   Recently, at a networking event with members of American Pet Professionals, one of our members said, “Right now my biggest struggle with my business is focusing, I get distracted by all the things.  There are so many Facebook groups, information, webinars, downloads, I feel like I should be doing all the things.  I find it really hard to stay focused and not try every social media platform, or every new thing that comes out." Can you relate?  I am sure you can! It’s hard not to get distracted by everything on social, or feeling that you should be doing everything everyone else is doing, the FOMO, (fear of missing out), and shiny object syndrome?   I get it, but if you really paid attention to time wasted on social media, how much you are distracted or trying to do it all – you will definitely see how your focus is lost.    Here are some ideas to try, test out, to help your focus and productivity:   Leave Facebook Groups that are not serving you, but just bringing you down that rabbit hole of trying to connect and be everything to everyone.  (That last part never works by the way!)  I know you may be thinking, what?  But I get so much from that Facebook group – do you really?  If they are not serving you or your business – why are you there?               I was in a paid Facebook group with a ‘top’ business influencer for almost 6 months, and while the information was ok, it was mediocre at best.  I was wasting $49 bucks a month to see the new shiny object for business and social, which frankly you can find free on Youtube or Google!  So if you’re in one of those monthly FB groups that you have to pay for, measure what you're paying for against your time spent in there and if it is pulling you from your focus and steps toward your goals.   Un-follow people.  Gasp! Yup, I said it.   In the last few months, I have un-followed a bunch of business influencers who I have followed for years (and still admire).  The constant you should do this that or the other thing (on social and business) was, well crazy distracting.  Now you can always re-follow them, but you also may find that their advice was not helping but hurting you in trying to do it all.  Those influencers have teams helping them – so if you’re a solo entrepreneur or even have a few team members of your own you may not see the same results as them.   I still have a few that I follow and like, and a few podcasts that I listen to on the regular that serve my business, my soul and I really look forward to.   And I take from them what will work for my business, and not apply every single thing they say, as I know what will work and what doesn’t at this point.    Pick a social media platform that you love and really dive into that.  For example, I have always loved LinkedIn, have been on there since early 2008 or 2007, but not as focused on it for years, even though I went on 1 or 2 times a week.  Re-focusing on LinkedIn this year has been a ton of fun, not as distracting as other social media platforms with less time spent on there.   For me and the connections and IRL (in real life) meetings with other business professionals in and out of the pet industry has been amazing.  But if LinkedIn is sooo not your thing, focus on what is. (Connect with me on LinkedIn!) So if Instagram is your jam and you just love it, and it is delivering results for your business, dive in, make that your number 1 platform.  Or if it is Pinterest, Youtube, or whatever, really pick one platform for the next 6 months to a year and work on that – let people know that’s where you will be the most part.  Measure your results during those 6 months, be honest with yourself, your business and see what is working and what is not.   Another simple idea is to shut down your social media, email, turn off all notifications on your phone, set an alarm to work on a project for 2 hours a clip.  The more you do this daily the easier it will get to focus and be less distracted.  (Remember the old days when email was the only distraction from getting your work done?)   Be strategic when you do go on social, set a time limit 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour.  Don’t get sucked into the notifications when you open Facebook, ignore the PM’s, (if someone really wants to get in touch with you they will), and schedule posts ahead.  You can use the scheduling tool on FB, Twitter, and there are so many other scheduling services that you can batch a month’s worth of posts across different platforms – so you’re not posting daily.  Time saver for sure.   Only check and respond to your emails during a certain time frame each day.  Now I know that can be harder to do if you’re waiting to hear back from someone, or need materials sent over.  But just try it.   You don’t have to go all Tim Ferriss and make a big announcement about you are only checking emails 2 days a week for 2 hours at a clip - but narrowing down your time on email will be a lifesaver for sure.  Make that commitment with yourself, even opening emails after 10 am could help you focus big time!   Get off, up and away from your computer and phone every single day.  Have a dog?  Take that dog for a lunchtime walk break (not just a potty break) a real break.  I often am walking my dog for a few miles at lunchtime – it is so important to do.  I don’t answer my phone, don’t look at social, just enjoy nature and the time spent with my dog.  Meet a colleague or friend for coffee – catch up, brainstorm, leave your phone out of it!   Get up earlier.  While the rest of the world is sleeping if you get up an hour or two earlier to either take some time for yourself or to get 2 hours of work done – it will change your life.  Help you focus, and make you feel less stressed knowing you have already accomplished more than the average person. 😉   Lastly, please stop the comparison game.  You are you– you have a ton of expertise, inspiration, and knowledge to bring to the world, even if you are just starting out in your business.  Stop worrying about how polished everyone else’s Instagram looks and BE yourself, please!   I fully believe the comparison game, spurs imposter syndrome in us – where you think you are not good enough or not expert enough and so on.   That imposter syndrome can be crippling for us – and it is all in our heads!  So please I beg you, stop worrying about that top influencer with a big team creating 24/7 content with the best filter and lighting and just be you, bring what you have to the world, people are looking for it, whether you realize it or not.    I would love to know from you if you try any of these tips if they have helped, and also anything that you do to stay focused with your heads down working on your pet business! Comment below. 🙂    ]]>

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