How’s your focus? If you’re like a lot of people you may be finding it much harder to concentrate than you did before the pandemic.
If you’ve been struggling to focus and be productive, there is good reason for it. The pandemic is stressful. And researchers have observed that the part of our brain involved in decision making, known as the prefrontal cortex, shrinks and becomes more disconnected from other brain areas in response to long-term stress.
If you want to dig a bit deeper into this subject, here’s the article in Nature.
It’s not about the Why. It’s about the How
But I’m not here to talk about the WHY. I want to talk about the HOW. Specifically how you can adapt your business to work in a “high stress – low focus” environment.
When everything first went sideways, I was really quick to adapt my own business from helping folks market their live speaking, training and consulting programs to converting those same programs into virtual experiences.
That meant creating courses using software like WP-Courseware.
Even then I knew from a user experience most people had no interest in sitting in front of a screen for 45 minutes as a disembodied voice took a deep dive into a very specific subject.
So I encouraged my clients to break things down into shorter 3-5 minute units within broader modules.
But this still followed the full-course format we’re all familiar with. You watch, you take notes, you make a plan to implement.
But remember what I said a few paragraphs ago? We are in a time of extreme stress and our brains aren’t firing on all cylinders. So our ability to focus is diminished.
I’m not immune. I signed up for a few courses on Udemy over the last few months and found myself easily distracted by Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Sure the course was playing in the background – but I wasn’t really paying much attention.
So how can you reach the millions of people out there who are just like me? The people who are likely to be your customers? The people who really need your help?
Start thinking small
That’s something I put a lot of thought into. And the answer I came up with was literally right down the stairs from my office.
My wife owns her own fitness company here in Mississauga and she was also able to make a quick pivot to online services back at the beginning of the pandemic. That meant she was running her classes in our living room.
But in addition to running her classes, she created a 30 day challenge where participants were given a single task to complete each day for a month.
The idea hit me like a ton of bricks. What if I could do the same thing for my training? What if in addition to my full length online Do It Yourself Marketing Course, I also had a simplified 30 day challenge with simple action steps?
In essence a series of micro-lessons on marketing that anyone could complete?
Fortunately, the software I use on my site to deliver the full length programs also has a drip feature. So the next step was to map out the 30 days and record the short videos. Surely a daily email with a link to a video of 1-2 minutes is something anyone could follow.
Well when I launched my 30 Day Marketing Challenge I sold a bunch right away. Practical action items for less than a buck a day…what’s not to love?
Obviously, micro-lessons are a great alternative for audiences that are struggling with focus. And offering that tool for a price that works in the current economic climate is also sure to attract some eyeballs.
When I helped Ed Rigsbee launch a 30 day challenge based on his Sell Your Speaking to Associations Virtual Intensive it also sold really well. 30 days of action items is a simple formula that any trainer or consultant can develop and deploy quickly.
Before your get started
Here’s what you need to know to get started:
- Determine what software you want to use. I use WP-Courseware. It has all the features I need and integrates nicely into any WordPress Site
- Choose your topic and map out your 30 days. This is obviously easier if you already have some sort of training program. But it can also work if you don’t. If you have a sales training business, map out 30 days of tasks for sales people. If you are a leadership consultant – 30 actions around inspiring staff. You get the idea.
- Record your first 5 days. What happens if nobody buys your program? This is always a possibility. When I put together my program, I recorded only 5 days worth of content. That way if the program was a bust I hadn’t wasted a lot of time on it.
So there you go, If you want to create a quick product based on your expertise that can resonate with your audience at a time when they need to improve their results – and are having more difficulty focusing for longer programs – micro learning experiences may be the way to go.