Eliminate Confusion To Increase Focus
Over the last two weeks alone, I've had half a dozen people in my community or from my newsletter share that they're struggling with knowing what to do.
- how do you use a content calendar for your blog posts and social media?
- how do you get so many projects done each year?
- how do you schedule your day?
In this post, we'll take a step back and look at the mindset rather than the strategies that allow creators to get the outcomes that matter most.
Let's start with identifying and eliminating the problem of confusion.
You're Stuck Because You're Confused
This is a bold statement, but it's likely true.
It was true for me just a few months ago. I was working with my coach and talking about my goals for the year and the projects that I had lined up for Q1 and Q2 of this year.
She stopped me mid sentence. "I'm sorry, maybe I'm confused, but did your goals for the year change?" she asked.
"Um...nope. They haven't. So I guess I'm confused..." I replied.
There are different levels of confusion - confusion about your ultimate mission and vision. Confusion about what you want to accomplish this year. Confusion about what projects you should focus on for this quarter. Confusion about what to do this month, this week, or even today.
Heck, minute by minute as you scroll through social media you'll see dozens of ads telling you that this is the secret to happiness and riches.
When you add all of that up you get: confusion.
If you've ever sat down at your desk, ready to work, opened up a browser or a new document, and then sat there for minutes (or even hours), staring at a blank screen, you've experienced this confusion I'm writing about.
So, what to do about it?
The antidote to confusion is clarity.
Yeah, no duh. Right?
Yes, but often the simplest statements can provide the most clarity.
When you feel stuck or confused, you need to do things that give you clarity.
Doing so dissipates the confusion so that the path ahead, as well as the next steps, become crystal clear.
I recommend the following approach, which will refocus your mindset to create clarity, rather than confusion.
First, look at your long-term vision. Is it still what you want to be pursuing in your life and business?
If so, great! Move to the next step.
If not, then take the time necessary to free write about what you want your life and mission to be about, so that you're driven to get up every day and work toward realizing that vision.
Second, look at your goals for this year. What do you want your life and business to look like at the end of this year, or 12 months from now?
What projects will you have created? What new revenue or audience milestones will you have achieved? What does your day to day life look like?
Third, go one level deeper. Look at this quarter, or the next 90 days. What 1 to 3 projects do you want to create? What is going to be your near-term focus?
Fourth, look at this month. What do you need to focus on this month to reach your 90-day and one-year goals, that also is in alignment with your greater vision?
Fifth, your day-to-day and weekly strategy come last. What do you need to do on a daily basis - the habits, practices, rituals, etc - that will inevitably help you reach your goals for the quarter?
For example, if you're trying to grow your email list to 10,000 people, then you would need to do activities every day - or at least every week - to get more people to sign up for your list.
You would then track these activities and the results, so that you can do more of what works and less of what doesn't.
But if you start with the activities, strategies, tactics, and tracking, you could end up in a very different place than where you set out to go.
Just as a plane that takes off in Los Angeles, if they're just 1º off course, could end up in Washington, DC, rather than their original destination of New York City.
The reason why we have all of these levels - weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually - is because we want to course correct often enough to prevent us from getting off track.
When we change direction every single day because we're distracted by the latest tactic, we end up with confusion rather than clarity.
The answer is to realize that you have more control than you think, and to take ownership of your current experience.
If you're confused, get clarity.
If you're unmotivated, get a bigger vision.
If you're stuck, take action - any action - and then adjust course along the way.