7 Tips To Improve Your Focus And Avoid Distractions

A common problem for busy executives is interruptions and distractions. With all of the distractions we face today, it can be difficult to get any work done. Sometimes the phone just won’t stop ringing, co-workers or visitors keep popping in, and the Internet keeps taunting you with its endless offerings. But all is not lost!

There are simple things you can do to tune out or completely avoid distractions and improve your focus. Here are a few of them:

1. Tame the phone

If the phone is a problem, use your assistant to deflect all but the really important calls. Provide resources so your assistants can handle most of the common matters on their own without requiring your input.

2. Close the door

If walk-in distractions are becoming too frequent, shut the door. Scheduling “office hours” or regular meetings with your staff are simple strategies that can reduce distractions.

3. Eliminate clutter

A cluttered desk and office can be a distraction in and of itself. Get rid of unnecessary papers and other items you do not need, especially those that are near your main work surface. Not having all of that junk to look at will help you concentrate more on your work.

4. Play music or work in silence

Some people concentrate better with soft music playing in the background because it drowns out other noises and distractions. Others prefer more up-tempo music because it helps keep them alert. And some people work much better with total peace and quiet.

Experiment and see which one works best for you. If you’re in an environment where music is frowned upon, ask if you can wear earphones.

5. Get plenty of sleep

Lack of sleep makes you tired during the day. And being tired results in an inability to concentrate. The average adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If you’re not getting that much, it could be adversely affecting your productivity.

6. Use a to-do list to help you keep track of what you need to do

Using a to-do list to capture what you need to do instead of relying on your memory can help you focus and concentrate on the task at hand because you avoid all those distracting thoughts floating around in your head.

You don’t have to keep reminding yourself to do this or that because you’ve already captured it.

You can use a software tool like Achieve Planner to help you keep track of everything that you need to do, or use a paper based planner instead. Whatever works best for you.

7. Take a break when needed

When your brain is on overload, take a break if possible. If you’re in a work environment where your breaks are scheduled, try to switch to a less demanding task for a few minutes. Anything that gets your mind off of the task you’re having trouble with for a short time will help. Then you can get back to it in a more refreshed state.

Staying focused is vital if you want to be a productive executive. Many distractions can be avoided, and you can improve your focus with some simple adjustments. Once your mind is able to concentrate on the work at hand, you can get it done much more quickly.


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