Without clear guideposts to direct you, it’s hard to know whether or not you’re spending time on the things that matter.
You could easily be flapping away in the winds of chaos. It may look impressive, but you’re not going anywhere.
So it can be useful to have a set of guiding focuses in your business.
These areas of focus help structure your action and act as a filter for whether or not you decide to do something. They also help you achieve balance in your actions, acting as a gauge to determine when you’re lopsided and have been spending too much time and energy in one area. Regularly taking stock of how you’re spending your time helps you realign your course back to a balanced approach.
For myself, these areas are divided into four categories:
These act as a reminders for me to focus on what matters most. And they bring awareness to my actions so I don’t get too imbalanced or distracted.
Here’s how I think about each one:
- Write. It’s pretty obvious what this means. My business is centered around writing. Nearly everything I do in my business hinges in on writing in one way or another. I write on the blog, in emails to my list, when I create a product, when I mindmap, and when I connect with others. For you, this might be something different. It may be speaking or playing guitar. This first area should be whatever your mode of creation is. For me, it’s writing. If I didn’t write, I wouldn’t have a business.
- Train. This area is about improving your skills. You always want to be thinking about the question: “How can I upgrade my skills? What useful things can I learn to provide my people with more value?” This might be learning how to build a highly engaged newsletter or getting some type of new coaching training. It’s a good idea in this area to focus on improving your strengths, rather than your weaknesses. You also need to think about essential skills you may need to improve to make your business more effective, like keeping better track of your finances or taking better care of your body to give you more energy in your business.
- Connect. Creating awesome offerings is great, but unless you connect with the right people, you won’t have an audience to share them with. In order to succeed you need to talk as much as you walk. This means being an unabashed self promoter. Your gifts need to be shared, so why not talk about them?
- Optimize. If training is about improving, then optimizing is about implementing. It’s about regularly reviewing and creating awareness around what you could do better, then taking action to do it. Some things aren’t as easily tracked (like trust and authenticity), but the stuff that is trackable you should monitor. Subscribers, revenue, and conversion rates are a good place to start.
Of course, there will always be some overlap in areas of focus when you’re taking action. You’ll often be connecting while you’re writing, and optimizing can often involve improving your skills.
Now, you might want to use this structure or define your own. I adapted this one from Charlie’s Three Cs, a great article to read on the subject. Hat tip to Charlie for encouraging me to start thinking about this.
I don’t get too deep into trying to tag each task or project I do in each of these areas. But you could you do that if you wanted to. For me, it’s more of a background filter that helps me answer the question: Am I doing something that’s important?
So, what do you think: Could you use something like this in your business?