AMY PORTERFIELD: Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield. Today we are talking about overcoming distractions.
Talk about life imitating art. Here I am trying to record an episode about overcoming distractions and I have had to rerecord this intro several times. The Amazon delivery guy keeps knocking on my door.
We are babysitting my mom’s brand new puppy, Emma, and she keeps barking like crazy. Hobie has just decided to start pounding on something in the garage directly below my recording studio and then I keep getting different texts about a project we’re working on and my team needs my feedback and they can’t find me because I’ve been in this recording studio for a while.
They have started to text me and that’s pulling my attention away from getting this episode recorded. Yes, I could turn my iPhone off. I wasn’t smart enough to do that in the beginning so it kept pulling my attention away.
Distractions are real, especially when you work from home. There are a million more distractions that come up. Have you ever stopped in the middle of what you’re doing to go wash the dishes or get the laundry out of the washing machine to put in the dryer?
Little things like that happen all the time when you’re working from home. It fully takes you out of the game. If you’re focusing on getting a project done and then you stop to do little things or your husband is pounding on something below your recording studio it just takes your focus away.
All of those little things really add up. So how do you focus when life gets in the way? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
As I’m talking to you right now you likely have a bunch of plans. No matter when you listen to this recording, it’s going to be relevant for you. At the time of this recording we’re getting into July. There are summer vacations, weddings, barbecues, so much for you to attend and so many different opportunities are knocking at your door right now.
How do you plan your webinar campaign or how do you get your course done? How do you do anything meaningful for your business when there are so many life distractions? That, again, is exactly what we are going to tackle.
I definitely know how you feel. I was inside of my Courses That Convert closed Facebook group just recently and one of my students, Natalie, posted this, (I must be getting old because the printout is tiny and I literally have to squint to read it. Ugh. I hate getting old):
“I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining or being immature about this but I need a bit of talking me off the ledge. I joined Courses That Convert last year and I feel so mad at myself that I’ve yet to launch my course. I’ve obviously procrastinated a lot, mostly out of fear, I’m sure, that I’m not the expert and why would anyone want to learn from me, even with my 40+ years of experience as a full-charge bookkeeper?”
The girl has a lot of experience under her belt but she’s starting to doubt herself. She asks why anyone would listen to her. She goes on:
“I was wondering if there are any more testimonials or posts about Amy’s CTC students about their success with launching their course. I feel like if I was able to see more success stories then maybe I wouldn’t allow so much overwhelm to beat me down.”
Natalie is not necessarily just talking about the distractions. I kind of started out with life distractions but there are so many distractions that get in the way of us getting stuff done. One of the distractions is getting too much into our head and thinking we are not good enough, we aren’t the expert, no one is going to buy “this”.
This happens a lot with my Courses That Convert students. They are creating the content and in that moment they are thinking that no one is going to buy and wonder why they are doing this. As a total side note, that is why I created a bonus inside Courses That Convert all about how to presell your course before you’ve ever finished actually recording the entire course just to make sure people will buy it before you sit down and spend all that time recording and creating the content.
Remember, if you are in Courses That Convert there is an entire robust bonus taking you through, step by step, how to presell your course before you sit down and record everything. Natalie, I just want to make sure you’ve seen that bonus.
Back to Natalie’s post. I love that my students inside that private Facebook group responded perfectly around Natalie’s comment. They said, “Natalie, you do not need more success stories or inspiration. You need to make it a priority and have a clear plan to get it done.”
I love that so many students said this to Natalie. Of course there are success stories. Of course she could look at testimonials. But she already knows that my course is legit. She already knows people are getting great results. That is not what she needs. That is a big fat distraction.
Instead of her pouring over other people’s success stories, because she’s already seen those, she needs a plan. Today Natalie, I’m talking to you and anyone else out there who can relate to Natalie and just feels stuck or overwhelmed or just plain old distracted.
I’m going to give you some useful tools and strategies to move you forward. Here’s the truth, those big projects (creating your course, getting your webinar campaign done, working on funnels, writing emails for your promotion) are the ones that drive your business forward. Those are the projects that actually make you feel really good when you open your bank account and you realize you are creating consistent revenue. You’ve got to get the bigger projects completed in order for that to happen.
You can be distracted by answering emails every morning or with busy work. I have been known to organize my Dropbox when I really should be recording videos because recording videos feels really heavy in the moment since it is a lot of work so I just want to be distracted. I find myself cleaning my office and organizing my Dropbox. All of that is important but not in the moment when I should be recording my videos.
We have all been guilty of either making ourselves distracted or just getting distracted with life so I think this episode is important.
One more thing before we jump in. I want to remind you I am doing two live events in San Diego at the end of the year. If you are looking to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and you are interested in list building and course creation and webinars and launching online and you want to learn more about Facebook advertising and you just want to be around other people that are building businesses online just like you then you’ve got to come to this event.
I am going to be presenting along with my business partner, Devin Duncan, and Rick Mulready. He is going to be teaching you some really cool Facebook ad strategies. It’s going to be a fabulous event. I’ve got a lot planned for this.
It’s the first time I’m opening up enrollment beyond my bonus members. If you are a bonus member for B-School or 90-Day Year with me then you have first dibs. You are going to get to grab your seats, of course, for free because you are a bonus member.
However, if you are not a bonus member and have always wanted to come to one of my events to meet me and learn from me and my peers as well, this is your opportunity. Tickets are not yet available but they will be incredibly soon and you will want to get on the wait list.
If you go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/events you can get on the wait list. The minute we open up tickets beyond my bonus members (they are going to go fast so you definitely want to be on the wait list) we will send you an email.
Tickets are $997. It is a one-day event in sunny San Diego at the end of the year. We will send you all of the details. Go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/events if you want to know when we open enrollment.
Let’s get to it.
I’m going to cover five strategies I use when I feel distraction creeping in and taking my focus away from the big projects that I really want to be working on.
#1 – Make it a Priority in Your Daily Planning – I know you’ve heard this one already but are you doing it? Let me put a little twist on it. Michael Hyatt has something he calls The Big Three. That basically means he will only work on three main tasks per day.
He then filters anything else outside his Desire Zone. That’s what he calls it, his Desire Zone. He eliminates, automates, or delegates everything else. He sits down and decides on the three main tasks he’s going to work on that day and the three main tasks have to be in his Desire Zone. I’ll link to where he talks about this more in depth.
If something is not in his Desire Zone he’s not going to work on it. From there he eliminates, automates, or delegates everything else for that day. I love those three words.
What if you can make those three main tasks all about the bigger project you have at hand? Have three main action items that will drive the specific project you’re working on forward. The name of the game is getting to completion.
Stealing from Seth Godin, you’ve got to ship it. These three main tasks all tie to you “shipping” your one main project you’re working on. Imagine how many projects you could knock out throughout the year.
Another tip is to separate your creative tasks versus mechanical tasks on your planning dock. I know that planning for a new campaign takes extra brain power. I will want to plan for that in the morning under my creative tasks. I know a campaign is a bigger project that drives my business forward so I need to make time for that.
Two things with that. When we’re talking about creative tasks versus mechanical tasks I try to make sure the mechanical stuff, meaning if I need to read a contract for a new Facebook ad agency we’re working with or if I need to go over the details of our live event with Chloe (who is pulling it all together inside our team) then that’s the kind of stuff I will do later in the day.
I like to do my best stuff in the morning when I do my best work. I will do my creative stuff in the morning and I will make sure there are very few mechanical things on my list. If we’re pulling from Michael Hyatt’s three main tasks I might actually just block one hour for the mechanical stuff (that’s a weird word, I know, but you get the point).
I might do three main creative things in the morning. I might review sales page copy for a new program I’ve created, I might work on some slide decks for that same program, and I might review some of the emails we want to send to get people on the webinar for that new program.
That might be three different creative tasks I do in the morning and early afternoon. Then I will save an hour after lunch where I will give myself time to work on the mechanical things and in that hour I might be able to do two or three tasks but they are all related to just getting the busy stuff done.
I do it a little bit different than Michael but I still make sure I chunk my time. I also like it when those three tasks I’m working on are all closely related and I’m not doing major context switching but am just working on one program and looking at the different elements of that program. It’s just something to think about.
When you make time in your calendar for this stuff the distractions become less and less. And here’s a little tip, if I’m going to go into my office and work on slide decks for two hours I will let Hobie know (because you guys know he’s home a lot because he’s a firefighter and works 24 on then 24 off) because when he is home he is completely distracting.
He is the hunkiest distraction I’ve ever seen but he is still a distraction. I will say, “Okay Babe, I’m going to be in my office for two hours working on slide decks. Once I come out let’s have a cup of coffee together or lunch together.”
I will let him know when I’m coming out. I don’t know if you guys listened to the episode I did with Hobie where I interviewed him about what it’s like to be married to an entrepreneur but one thing that he said in the episode is that he really likes when I tell him when we can actually have time together during the day.
If I give him a time he will get busy doing chores around the house or whatever he’s working on and then he knows when it’s noon so I can have lunch with him. I will finish my project as well instead of just coming at him at any time and saying, “I’m ready now. Pay attention to me.”
He might be working on a project. So respecting his time and mine is important for us. Anyway, that becomes part of eliminating distractions when I communicate with my spouse about what I’m working on and the fact that I can’t be distracted right now but will come out of my cave in two hours and we will do lunch. Do you see how that works?
You’ve got to communicate with the people in your household and you’ve got to get it on your calendar. I say to work on the most important stuff when you are your best. If you’re a morning person that’s when you work on it. If you are a night owl maybe that’s when you work on it. You’re the boss, you get to choose. But you’ve got to be smart about your time.
#2 – Be Clear About What You’re Doing and Why You’re Doing It – I’ve talked about my website refresh before. I did an entire podcast episode about all of the mistakes I made when I was creating my brand new website. I talked about what worked and how we got to the finish line.
If you remember that episode, I was really, really terrible about not getting clear about the entire project and how we were going to move forward. I put the entire project on one of my team members and didn’t give her a lot of information.
I expected her to run with it but wasn’t really available so I wasn’t clear about what we were working on and why we were doing it. I guess I knew why we were doing it but that also wasn’t top of mind for me because I was working on a bunch of other stuff. I wasn’t available to her so it was so unfair the way I set up my whole website relaunch.
Once we had a clear plan in place and we were crystal clear on what we were doing, why we were doing it, and we put it into Asana. I made myself more available for feedback and insight. We were golden once we had it locked in.
We were floundering for a while because we were not crystal clear on the what and the why. It’s also funny because I didn’t enjoy the website relaunch process until I got clear around it and until we treated it like a real project.
If you’re not enjoying what you’re working on right now and that’s why you’re allowing yourself to get distracted by everything in the house, that’s why you are doing all your laundry today because you don’t want to be working on the big project you should be working on, you likely don’t have some good organization around it and you likely don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It likely feels heavy to you so you don’t like to be in that space of feeling uncomfortable so you are letting the distractions take over. You’ve got to get real with yourself and if that’s happening it’s time to get reengaged in your project.
#3 – Get Charged – I don’t know about you but when I start a new project it can take me a bit of time to get going. I kind of hate this about myself but now I just know this is how I am, this is how it’s going to be, and I know it will eventually click.
When it’s a really big project and know it’s really important to my business when I’ve communicated to all of you that I’m working on it so that you all know it’s going to get done I feel a little bit of pressure on myself and it feels hard and kind of uncomfortable so I don’t want to sit in that so I allow the distractions to take over.
Once I allow that to happen for just a little while I’m pretty good at recognizing the project feels heavy and overwhelming and that I have started letting all of the distractions get in the way. I can’t do that. I set pretty clear deadlines for myself and my team so as soon as I start to slip from those deadlines I know something’s going wrong.
It usually has to do with the project feeling heavy. I’m nervous about it and don’t want to stay in that awkward feeling so I let myself be distracted. However, here’s the great thing. Because I only work on the projects I love I know it’s not that I hate the project. It’s that I’m just a little bit overwhelmed by it.
After is see that distractions are happening and my deadlines are slipping I sit down and immerse myself back into the project. I give myself a big chunk of time to really get in it. I do my research, put my slides together, watch some videos to inspire me around the content I’m working on, whatever it might be. If I go for full immersion, whether it be for a day, two days, three days, I’m excited.
I am finally focused and on it. I feel charged. I remember the why and this recently just happened with List-Builder’s Lab. Over the last few weeks I’ve been telling you guys that I’m revamping List-Builder’s Lab. It’s become List-Builder’s Lab 2.0.
Because of that I feel a little overwhelmed because I told all of you I’m getting it done. I told all of my students inside List-Builder’s Lab they have some amazing updates coming. I think it became a bigger project than I had anticipated so I got nervous.
I thought, “Oh my God, I told my students this would be done in July and my team’s been working on it. I’m feeling behind. I let myself get distracted.” Then I realized I love the project, I love teaching list building so let’s sit down and go for full immersion.
I did that for a few days and I was off to the races. I did not let any distractions get in the way. It was like I would eat, sleep, and breathe list building just for a few days and Boom! My mojo was back. I was able to get in the zone. I knew exactly what I wanted to put into those slide decks. I wasn’t white knuckling it anymore.
I had to get excited about the topic again versus doing a little here and a little there. I just needed a full immersion. That is what changed the game for me. That got me recharged. Now it feels effortless. But for a while there I got stuck in overwhelm and it felt like I was white knuckling it the whole time.
You’ve just got to know your triggers and pull yourself out. So get charged about whatever it is that you’re working on and let me tell you, you will get hooked on it and it will be so easy to avoid the distractions.
#4 – Set Your Flow – I’ve already talked about this just a little bit so I won’t go into much detail here. I know that you have to devote big chunks of time to the big, important projects. I talked about being a morning person. I will only do creative stuff in the morning.
Even beyond that, I want you to put two or three hours that you’re only working on your webinar slides on your calendar. Or put two or three hours that you will only work on creating a core lead magnet for the home page of your website.
Whatever it might be, you can’t do a little hour here, a quick 30 minutes there, tomorrow maybe an hour. When you spread it out like that and only give yourself a little bit of time if you have one distraction you are wiped out. You are totally off your game.
If you do the three hours, like I mentioned where I tell Hobie I’m going in my cave to give it a few hours and then I’ll be back, you get so much more done. I want you to mindfully plan your schedule around getting your big project done.
The night before, specifically put the chunks of time you’re going to work on and what you’re going to work on. I already went over that but I wanted to reiterate because, again, this is all about setting your flow. Go with what works best for you: Time of day, how many hours you need, a good place to sit down to really get focused.
If you hate working in coffee shops and you’re sitting in a coffee shop trying to do two hours of slide deck creation then get out of that coffee shop, come home, get in a cozy chair and go where you will do your best work. But you’ve got to set your flow.
Here’s one more thing about that. If you are trying to juggle business and personal life (I guess that’s every human being on this earth), you will likely have things come up. You will have to get a haircut or will have to run to the cleaners or will have to take your kid to tutoring or whatever it might be. There are all of these little things that jump onto our calendar at random times.
One of the things for me was setting my flow and keeping all of those activities to a specific day or later on in the afternoon. We have a kid. That’s not always possible. But, if it is, be diligent about it. I don’t want you to have a 10 a.m. haircut during the time you are trying to do three hours of slide deck creation.
Whatever it might be, you don’t want some random appointment to take you out of your zone. I really do try to make all of my appointments as late in the afternoon as possible to give myself zero distractions from the minute I wake up until late afternoon when I’m done working. It’s just something to think about.
#5 – Make a Public Declaration – We are in the final stretch. I did this for List-Builder’s Lab. I’m so glad I did it. I’ve been talking about this bad boy for months now. There is no turning back. During the messy time, the time where I wasn’t charged up about the program and during the time I let all of the distractions get in the way because I felt overwhelmed I could have easily decided not to work on this one.
I could have decided to work on something a little bit sexier or a little bit more fun that I haven’t worked on yet. I’m revamping. Revamping is not as fun as working on a new project. So in those dark moments when I thought I wouldn’t do this I thought, “I have to. I’ve already told my List-Builder’s Lab students they have new stuff coming. I’ve already told all of you that I have a 2.0 program coming out and if you’re excited about list building and you finally want to do it in your business I have something for you.”
I’m only as good as my word. This project has to get done in July. So because of that I am definitely very aware of distractions. When they come up I think, “Nope!” I’ve already made that public declaration that this project is getting done.
Talking to all of you about it has kept me accountable. I would love for you to do the same. How will you make a public declaration? Whatever you’re working on, invite your audience in. Just the action of doing so will help you stay accountable and help you become very aware of the distractions.
Here’s the deal. The distractions are never going to go away. Hobie will never stop hammering in the garage below my recording studio. However, I am aware of it. I can make sure my communication with him is better. I can make sure I communicate with my team better about what I’m working on and the fact that I can’t jump projects. And, I can just be really, really diligent about blocking my time.
Distractions aren’t going away but how you handle them can definitely change and that’s why I wanted to make this episode.
Finally, I want to leave you with this thought. Sometimes I think I get distracted because I lose confidence in myself. Doubt starts to creep in and that can stop me flat in my tracks. I actually think that’s what happened with Natalie.
Natalie wasn’t just getting distracted with all of the different things that happen in life that can pull our attention away form our most important projects. She started to wonder who would listen to her, “I’m not an expert,” even though she was. She is creating a project and she doesn’t even know if her audience is going to pay for it.
She starts to get into her head and doubt creeps in. All of the sudden, organizing her Dropbox, changing the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and allowing her text messages and emails to take over are distractions that are happening because she doesn’t believe in her ability to do a really good job at the project she is working on.
I want to tell you that happens all the time with everyone. There are very few entrepreneurs, including the ultra-successful ones, that don’t have those moments when doubt starts to creep in and then distractions take over because they don’t want to live in that feeling. They don’t want to sit with the uncomfortable feeling of “what if I’m not good enough?”
First you’ve got to know that it’s normal. Second, you need to know you just do not believe that little voice in your head. You need to tell it to go away. You need to move forward even though you’re scared and you need to know that the confidence is going to come from completing the project and getting it out into the world.
Even if it’s not a huge success, the fact that you completed it, you can now make it better. You never have to reinvent the wheel but you can just revamp and make it better. That comes with so much confidence.
If you are struggling with self doubt and a lack of confidence start completing your projects. Get them out into the world. Make them better. I promise you that kind of momentum will allow you to get the confidence you’re looking for. The more confidence you have the better you are at tackling the distractions.
Again, distractions never go away. However, I’ve gotten really good at noticing where they are showing up, why they are showing up, and how to get around them quickly. That’s what I want you to do. That’s what this episode was all about.
The final thing I’ll say is that I have a little box in my office. In that box are a bunch of thank-you cards and little notes that people have sent me over the past several years. I keep the ones where people say, “Amy, I love your teaching style,” or “Amy, you’ve changed my life. I launched my program, I did my first webinar. I made $10,000,” or “Amy, your episode about ‘this’ or ‘that’ helped me move through a challenge I was having.”
Whatever it might be, I go to that box when I have zero confidence that what I’m doing is going to work. I go to the box when I’m having a really rough day. Even just knowing the box is in a cabinet inside my office just makes me feel good. I always have the box of the kind words people have said.
If you don’t have something like that yet, create it today. Just knowing it exists will get you through those uncomfortable, awkward feelings of inadequacy when you’re trying to work on a new project. Promise me this, make that box if you don’t have it yet.
We are wrapping up. Don’t forget I have the live event coming up at the end of 2017. It’s going to be spectacular. There’s one in October and one in December. I’ll send you all of the details the minute we open the door for general admission.
Let me grab my notes. You’re going to hear me shuffling around here. On August 7 we will open the doors to general admission. I don’t know how many tickets we will have because the bonus members get first dibs so you definitely want to jump at the chance if you want to come meet me in San Diego, spend some time, and chat it up.
We’re going to have so many cool, cool different trainings and exercises that you get to work on with a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. I can’t wait to share it with you. August 7 we will open the doors and you can sign up. But you’ve got to be on the waiting list and the tickets go fast. It’s at http://www.amyporterfield.com/events.
Have a wonderful, wonderful week. Bye for now.