focus

As business owners, many of us regularly hope to plan for a bright future.

We also know it’s important to learn from past failures.

But, even as we look to the future and learn from the past, it’s important to keep some focus on the present. You don’t want to get too caught in what might happen and what has already happened if you want to make the best possible decisions today.

Thinking About the Future and Accomplishment

As you plan for the future of your business, it’s important to carefully consider how you visualize success.

One of the issues with being too positive about the future, and thinking about the future, is that you run the risk of feeling as though you have already accomplished what you want to — even though you haven’t.

Years ago, research indicated that telling people about your future plans prompts you to feel as though you have identified with those already and that others see you as accomplishing them. When you feel like part of your goal is reached already in the way people view you and the way you view yourself, you might actually be less inclined to follow through in the end.

When you visualize the future and your success too much, your brain reacts as though you have already reached the goal. You feel the warm fuzzies that come with success without actually doing anything.

Yes, you need to plan your next steps. Yes, you need to look ahead at what success looks like. But you can’t spend too much time in that space.

Bring your focus back to the present. What are the steps you need to take in order to make that dream a reality? What are the honest truths about the situation on the ground today? Focus on the present and be ready to acknowledge the challenges you face today in order to get to that end point.

Dwelling Too Much on the Past

Another reason to focus on the present is that you can’t get caught up in the past.

When learning from failure, it’s important to move on. Unfortunately, too many business owners get stuck in the past. They obsess over past mistakes.

Part of moving forward is to let those mistakes go after you’ve learned from them. Take the essential lessons and go on.

I’ve been there, though. I know how hard it can be. You get caught up in a “what if” cycle. Replay how things went down, and what you could have done to fix the situation. You make up an alternate timeline of what things would be like now if only you had done things differently.

That sort of speculation takes your focus away from what’s really going on in the present. Instead of taking and applying valuable lessons to today’s situation, you constantly try to reconstruct how much better things could be right now if you hadn’t screwed up.

Getting stuck in that cycle won’t help you with today’s challenges. It might help you feel as though you aren’t to blame for the current situation, but it doesn’t help you move forward.

Do a post-mortem of the situation. Figure out what you need to do from here on out to avoid the same mistakes. Then let it go and move forward.

How to Focus on the Present

It’s important to focus on the present when it comes to your business. You need to spend time in the here and now in order to address problems and move forward.

You need to know what’s happening in your business right now, and whether it’s a priority that needs to be addressed immediately.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you focus on your business today:

Thoughts aren’t always reality

First of all, it’s important to understand that your thoughts aren’t reality.

Your vision for the future of your business isn’t today’s reality. You’re “what if” scenarios of the past aren’t, either. Draw that line between your thoughts and what is happening in your business right now.

Focus on things that are happening, and separate that from what you wish would happen or what you think things would be like if events had played out differently.

Make sure you have a firm grasp on today so you can tackle today’s problems.

Focus on today’s wins

Break down your business goals into tasks and milestones that can be achieved in the now.

This means that you also need to focus on today’s wins. The idea of having achievable milestones is so that you can measure your progress today, and focus on those wins in a way that is productive.

When you focus on today’s wins, you can fuel your achievement and progress. If you’re always looking ahead to what things will be like when you reach the end result, you will miss what’s going on right now.

Enjoy the journey today, and make sure you take some time to acknowledge the good you are doing with your business right now. This will help you stay on top of challenges as well as victories.

Know your priorities

Understanding your priorities can help you focus on the present with your business and take that next step toward success.

Pay attention to the task at hand. Know which things need to be accomplished now, and which can be put off. You can also pay attention to what should be delegated to others. Sometimes being in the present is knowing that others can help you by taking over some of the mundane tasks you’ve been spending your time on.

Figure out your priorities and take care of today to start. Paring down the to-do list can help you take a good luck at what needs to be done right now.

Find the Right Balance for Your Business

For many of us, the key is finding the right balance for business.

Many of us need to find balance in our lives and business in order to succeed. It can be tricky, though.

We can get caught up in the past, or spend too much time thinking about the future. But if we want to be successful, we also need to spend time on the present.

And that’s where things can get difficult.

There’s always something else claiming time and attention. Making sure that you find time for the present is vital if you want your business to succeed in the long term.

Start by looking at the past. What mistakes have you made? What good decisions have helped you along? Look at those lessons, and take them to heart. Then, see how you can apply them to what is going in in your business today.

Next, look at your future plans. What do you hope to happen? What do you want your business to look like? Use that to build a roadmap in the present. What things need to be fixed today if you hope to reach that future.

Once you have a handle on the past and future, make sure you don’t live there. The present is where all the hard work and meaningful changes take place. Make sure you focus on the present at least some of the time so that you can find success today — and tomorrow.

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I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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