Distracted in a Digital Toy Box

How to keep the tool as the means to an end and not the end.

I have to admit, I’m a tech nerd. Here lately I find myself binging on Netflix shows like, Halt and Catch Fire, High Score, The Pixar Story, and The Social Network. See a theme? I’m intrigued by both entrepreneurialism and technology. This means however I can find myself at times “playing” rather than “producing.”

This is not a new phenomenon however. When I was in the music business I found myself at the keyboard or in the recording studio playing an awful lot too. These times are definitely productive if they are inspiring new thoughts, ideas, and strategies. Unfortunately this wasn’t always the case. Many times the tools became toys that gave me something to be distracted with. So when do tools become distractions? When the end goal is lost and not being pursued.

This can happen before you even realize it too! Before you know it you are chasing 5 different rabbits with 20 different tabs open on your browser. It’s so easy to lose control but it’s not easy to recognize at first. What does this look like? For me it could be when I am working on a sales funnel, website, or video that the tools to polish the content and make it look even better become more important than the message or objective itself. This is deadly for new entrepreneurs that don’t have a lot of margin too. I unfortunately see it way too often with new clients I’m coaching.

Sometimes new clients can become distracted by tinkering with their blog, sales pages, and funnels. All of these are important, and are essential components to a successful online business, however they also can be huge impediments to progress. The goal is to have these tools attract, communicate, and qualify new potential clients. However just playing with them doesn’t produce business. It’s the use of them in a systematic, persistent, and consistent manner that produces the end goal. This may sound insultingly simple, however it’s a common occurrence that I have seen hinder so many startups from realizing their business objectives.

Here are some ways to break from being distracted with your tools of the trade.

  1. Schedule time to just play. You are a blessed individual if you love what you do to the point you can find yourself playing within your business. Celebrate that fact and don’t try to run from it. Take time by making time to do nothing but play.
  2. Give yourself deadlines on the objectives your trying to achieve. Any project that doesn’t have a hard deadline gives your mind an open invitation to wander.
  3. Don’t torture the project with tinkering. Any creative type will always want to continually make changes, improve, and try to make the “thing” perfect. This is the text book definition of trying to make perfect the enemy of good. Make yourself a commitment that any changes you make will only be done after the complete project is done and operational. Also commit to only making changes that will make a perceived difference by your audience. I am a recovering audio snob. My learning style and greatest sense of entertainment is through audio. I consciously have to stop myself from over spending time on tweaking audio at times. 
  4. Continually remind yourself what the main objective is. If the project is a simple project that only requires a few simple components then DO NOT OVER ENGINEER IT. This is not to say to throw something half hearted together, but be cognizant of what is required and of perceived value, and then execute. 

Hopefully the above tips will help you continue to enjoy your work, but stay productive and efficient. 

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