Does this sound familiar?
You walk into your office, say hi to the team, set your laptop up, check emails, check a few different subreddits, check Indie Hackers, check Slack… and suddenly it's lunchtime.
This used to be me, unfocused and working late hours because I couldn't prioritize. I didn't work late hours because I was “grinding” harder than everyone else on my team, I just couldn't prioritize and I usually don't go home until the essentials are done.
Everything on the internet feels like it is fighting for your attention. And it is. So if you struggle with focus like I did (and still sometimes do…), I am going to walk you through what our team does to stay focused, motivated, and productive.
I'll warn you now if you are looking for a magic bullet, this may not be the post for you, but if you want to learn two tactics that work unbelievably well for me, Rahul, and the rest of the Ghostit team, then keep reading.
Let’s start with me. The first thing I had to do was admit that I have a focus problem.
When I finally did this, I found myself Googling "best entrepreneurs with ADHD" and trying to Jedi mind trick myself into thinking my lack of focus was actually a strength in disguise. This was in fact just me wasting more time. In retrospect, I understand how ludicrous that was.
I was reading all these self-affirming articles on how Richard Branson has ADHD and Virgin Group is a huge success, therefore, Ghostit will be a huge success because I can't focus and get my work done.
I'm not a doctor and I definitely can't self-diagnose ADHD by reading entrepreneur.com and thinking I am like other professionals that actually have ADHD. Here I go losing focus again so let’s get back to my system for better focusing.
Every morning or evening, I sit down at my desk and write down one to six or eight things I need to get done.
Here's my list from yesterday:
1. Content distribution and comments to drive inbound traffic.
2. Ad creation/customer work
3. Upload podcast
4. Finish landing page and case study
5. Plan next 30 days of Ghostit content creation (prep for April)
6. The road to 100 blog post
Then I rank those in order of importance and put them into my calendar based on blocks of time I think it will take me to complete each task.
Of course, things will pop up but by structuring my calendar in such a way where chunks of time are blocked off, if something does pop up I can look at my calendar and calculate the opportunity cost of giving up some time to do something else.
I find this helps me tremendously with regard to structuring my time. Admitting I can't focus allowed me to come up with this process. This process is a combination of Chet Holmes and Ivy Lee scheduling and time management tactics.
Rahul and I wear very different hats within Ghostit, so I asked him if his process differs from mine.
His routine looks like the following:
First thing, write a to-do list. Once the items are listed out on that list he attaches timelines and dates to each item and ranks them in order of importance.
Like myself, Rahul cranks out tasks in order of importance (seems like common sense right?). At Ghostit, we use Google Suite and Monday Project Management so notifications and dates are attached to each item to be delivered.
When everyone is in the office it is usually pretty quiet because everyone is wearing headphones. I find playing one song on repeat gets me into the flow but Rahul finds that the same genre but different songs allow him to get into flow easier.
He also finds that a clean desk and proper breaks for recharging help him focus (I usually see him playing with devil sticks or doing pull-ups on the office pull up bar).
And when distractions present themselves, Rahul just taps into his inner voice telling him to stay focused.
Good habits/tactics are great for the day to day part of execution but the real driver for each member of the team is accountability. Any member of the team that doesn't do their work is easily noticed by other team members and it's hard seeing everyone around you work so hard when you don’t.
Our customers count on us, our team counts on us, and everyone we have told that Ghostit truly matters are all the people who are holding us accountable.
If you want the TL:DR of staying focused here it is:
1. Be accountable to someone/group of people.
2. Write down everything you need to do.
3. Rank those to-do's in order of importance.
4. Listen to some music that helps you get into the flow of things.
5. Rinse and repeat!
In next week's Road to 100, I'll give a summary of new customers, benchmarks, where we stand, and what the future of Ghostit is likely going to look like. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter to get notified when we publish these posts! They are an exclusive look behind the scenes of Ghostit.