Focusing on the Needs First
There are countless benefits of living at this moment in history. New discoveries and technological advances are constantly being made. Entertainment, information, and connections are constantly at our fingertips. In some ways this is great, yet it also can lead to being pulled into too many directions that make accomplishing our goals more challenging.
There are a lot of characteristics that go into being successful. FOCUS can be found at the foundation of the actions it takes to reach your goals and move forward.
Focus helps us know where we are headed and helps us lock in on our desired outcome. We are able to direct our efforts and energy on the things that will actually help us reach our goal, deliver the product, streamline the process we are striving toward.
The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things. Alexa Hirschfeld
Being disciplined and focused can be especially challenging for those of us working in the startup world. Perhaps you are like our team and work regular 9–5 jobs, are building families, and have personal goals. All of which cut into your time to focus on your startup. Needless to say our days can be busting at the seams.
Focus can sometimes feel like searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Focus is the key to not letting these other commitments (or excuses) get in the way of us launching Catalio and turning DynoDev into our full-time jobs.
How to focus as a startup…
As a startup, it’s imperative to narrow your focus to the things that will get you to market with a usable product the quickest. There are a lot of things that need to be done in order to be successful, but as you are in the beginning stages you must eliminate fluff and deliver the framework so that you have a reference point on how to move forward.
Prioritize. Plan. Progress.
This is why we have adopted the Agile Method. We set priorities for two weeks at a time. Plan the stories to help us accomplish it. A key to the planning process is estimating how long it will take us to knock out a given task. This is helpful for our team because we have a somewhat limited amount of time we can work daily. Then at the end of the two weeks, we test what we’ve finished and if we met our priorities.
Then the process begins again. It’s important to keep in mind that each time we do this, our priorities are in line with the ultimate priority of delivering the app to market. No one wants to work on tasks that don’t help them reach their end goal.
Focus is a Choice.
Being focused is not something that happens naturally. We must make the choice every day (and sometimes multiple times a day) to focus on what needs to get done. Some things we have found helpful is to break the development and business processes into smaller chunks that are easier to manage. Then when it’s time to work, we are able to devote smaller amounts of time while still moving toward the priorities for the given week.
We’ve also had to set up some boundaries with our family that will allow us to be able to work without being distracted. For example, my family knows that most days between 8:45 and 9:30 I’m going to be in our spare bedroom working for the day. I also try to make use of other downtime to help the team reach it’s goal for the sprint.
Perhaps the most important element of focusing on a startup is making it a team effort. I grew up playing sports and the team mentality has been ingrained into me. In my eyes, we are successful when we move and work together as a team.
A couple ways we focus together include: agreeing as a team what the priorities for the next two weeks will be. Sometimes there are minor disagreements, but we all eventually agree and are better because of it. We also typically have a video conference during the evening to work together. We do this because we have found the evenings are when most of us work and it helps to feel connected even though we are all working remotely. We are always looking for ways to improve; how are you focusing together as a team?
Focusing on the important things can be a challenge at times; however, it is one of the foundations for being successful. So, prioritize, make the choice to focus, then work together to see your goals come to life.
We’d love to hear your techniques/strategies to stay focused while working toward your goals. Get involved in the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.
Follow our journey by signing up for our newsletter!