Entrepreneurial ADD

Rhonda Abrams

Are successful entrepreneurs more likely to have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)? That's what some people think. I wouldn't know -- I couldn't stay focused long enough to research the study.

In yesterday's column, I described what I call BADD Boss Syndrome -- or Boss Attention Deficit Disorder. Entrepreneurs are creative and intelligent, and they can easily become distracted by the multitude of their own ideas.

Personally, I struggle with ADD myself. You should see how many windows I have open on my computer at one time. And I'm always thinking up new ideas to improve my business.

It used to drive my employees crazy. But over the years, I've learned how to better manage my creative impulses and reduce the negative effects of my continually wandering mind.

Here are 10 tips to avoid BADD Boss Syndrome:

1. Examine your income streams and define your core business so you know what pays the bills.

2. Spend at least the first half of your day attending to that core business.

3. Establish a strict limit to the number of new projects you and your company will undertake at any given time.

4. Keep an easily visible list of current business projects, and when you get restless turn your attention to these projects first.

5. Keep a notebook or list for all your good new ideas. Write them down instead of immediately acting on them.

6. Separate new ideas and new projects into those that are "problem-solving" and those that are "creative." Concentrate on the problem-solving ideas first.

7. Set aside a specific time to evaluate and prioritize new projects; this should not be more frequent than once a month.

8. Designate a partner, key employee, or consultant (not a spouse) to give you a reality check on all new ideas, explaining their downsides. Remember, their job is to be negative.

9. Always respect current time demands on employees. Be careful of distracting them from their core work; ask them what they're working on currently before approaching them with new ideas.

10. Slow down! Breathe! Great ideas won't vanish. So try to stay focused.

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