How to Stay Focused- An Interview with Entrepreneurs

by Jed Morley

In this interview, entrepreneurs talk about how they stay focused. They say that it is important to have a clear goal and to make a plan to achieve that goal. They also say that it is important to eliminate distractions and take breaks when needed. 

Gary Huxtable

Title: Managing Director
Company: Pet Parking

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gary-h-924577124/

Tips to stay focused are to block out time for deep work. The mind can stay focused for up to a maximum of 90 minutes, so booking out 60–90 min blocks of working without checking emails/phone/social media is very much possible.

Few ways to do this.

  1. Meditation. Starting your day off with a 10–15 minute meditation where you repeatedly bring your focus back to one point trains your brain to do the same throughout the day. ie you start to get a craving to check your phone, your brain will pull you back and focus on the task at hand.
  2. Turning off notifications. Turning off phone notifications, not even on vibrate removes potential distractions.
  3. Placing your phone on Grey scale. Means your phone releases less dopamine so it becomes less enticing. I’ve had my phone on greyscale for a few years now.

All in all, like anything being able to focus without distractions, is a skill that can be learned. Start with shorter periods ie 20–30 mins and build up to 90 mins. It’s just a muscle that needs to be built like any other.

Also having a to-do list for the day and placing 60–90 min block of x on there helps as you get a release of dopamine when you think about completing the task and ticking it off.

Lisamarie Monaco

Title: Co-Owner/National Independent Agent
Company: InsuranceForBurial

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisamarie-monaco-8b89b414b/

As a business owner, staying focused and avoiding getting distracted can be challenging. Here are some tips that help me and may help you stay on track and complete the tasks at hand:

Set clear goals: Having specific and measurable goals can help you stay focused and motivated.

Create a schedule: Scheduling your work in advance can help you plan your time and prioritize tasks effectively.

Avoid multitasking: Focusing on one task at a time can help you avoid getting overwhelmed and improve your productivity.

Eliminate distractions: Identify and eliminate as many distractions as possible. This could include turning off notifications on your phone or computer, finding a quiet workplace, or working when you are most productive.

Take breaks: It’s essential to take regular breaks to recharge and refocus. This could include taking short walks, meditating, or engaging in other activities that help you relax and refocus.

Seek accountability: Consider finding an accountability partner or joining a support group to help you stay on track and motivated.

By setting clear goals, creating a schedule, focusing on one task at a time, eliminating distractions, taking breaks, and seeking accountability, you can increase your chances of staying focused and completing the tasks at hand as a business owner.

Melanie Jordan

Title: Nationally Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, NBC-HWC
Company: Your Healthy Life Made Easy LLC

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melanierjordan/

Make resolutions and positive changes when it’s right for you, but not solely because the calendar says so. If you’re ready because it’s New Year’s, go for it, but start with something small that feels doable.

When New Year’s rolls around, many feel the social pressure that “everyone” is making resolutions, so they assume that they too must choose to make changes.

Overall, according to the Transtheoretical Model in psychology which shows that changes to behavior happen in distinct stages, people are going to be most successful in making lasting changes when they hit the stage called “preparation.” That’s the stage when they are ready, willing and able to make a change, start planning and taking small steps towards implementing that change and believe they are going to be successful. To choose to embark upon a change with an artificial start date that isn’t in alignment with one’s own readiness can make it much harder to be successful.

That said, if you are truly in that place where you feel committed to change because it aligns with you personally vs. the calendar, then you just may benefit from the natural “group support” that you can leverage from others who are in it to win it in the new year.

Over the years, in coaching clients and in my own personal life, I’ve been successful with choosing just one small thing I wanted to improve upon or accomplish in the New Year that I felt I could commit to, versus large sweeping changes or goals that didn’t feel achievable.

For example, last year I resolved to get more “me time” in, and started with being intentional about taking my lunch break and doing something active at least three out of five weekdays. I didn’t pressure myself to do something active every day at lunchtime necessarily, nor did I force myself to choose what activity I would do. My only goal was to check that box with movement be it walking, lifting weights, using my hula hoop, doing kickboxing or Zumba. It worked like a charm because I was ready, willing and able to take this on, and it gave me some quick early wins under my belt that gave me the belief that I could keep this habit going.

Isla Sibanda

Title: Cybersecurity Specialist
Company: Privacy Australia

Linkedin: https://privacyaustralia.net/author/isla-sibanda/

In the initial stages of my business, a key concern for me was discovering how to manage distractions and stay productive as a business owner. The research and trial phase of starting a business requires your input in various scenarios and you do end up wasting a lot of time in the process. I have found the solution for staying focussed in this era of distractions as a CEO is to use visual reminders.

This strategy is combating the intensity of content out there on the internet using visual aids. Mental encouragement or alarms can only do so much to overcome the power of enticing work on the internet begging for your attention. I have posted a note on the top of my computer that says three words “FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS.” Whenever I find it challenging to stick with a task and want to escape by checking my emails to social media, looking at that reminder jolts me back toward what is important.

Jordan Fulmer

Title: Owner
Company: Momentum Property Solutions

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordan-fulmer-07a37a215/

I Avoid Distractions by Changing My Environment

Our tendency to become distracted while working is heavily influenced by our habits. And unfortunately, changing a habit is not as simple as invoking a large amount of willpower. That may work in the short term, but it likely won’t have lasting effects. Interestingly, our environment has a tremendous influence on our habits because we have learned certain cues that trigger them. The problem for many entrepreneurs is that they work in the same place where they relax, eat, or spend family time. This is typically on the couch or dining room table. The problem with this is that the lines become blurred as to what you should be doing at any given moment, and you end up working during evening hours and goofing off when you should be working. The habits that you develop during your relaxation time can end up sabotaging your productive time, and vice versa. The solution to this is to have dedicated spaces in your home or office that are set up for a singular purpose. For working hours, the most reasonable setup is to have an office, while some people prefer the feel of a coffee shop. But the point is to have a separate space that you’ve set aside in your mind as your workspace. It is also important to minimize clutter in this space since disorganization can make you feel overwhelmed. It sounds so simple, but having a dedicated space to work in can alleviate your bad habits and improve your productivity tremendously!

Erwin Budi

Title: CEO
Company: Eyang Sablon

Linkedin: ttps://www.linkedin.com/in/erwinbudi

  1. First of all, start with our mind and perspective. We should be prepared well that avoiding distractions, sometimes would be also mean ignoring some friends/family or reducing frequency of meet up/chat/phone call with friends/family. We should be prepared when they ask, questioning or maybe angry towards us about our decision to focus on the task. I’ll suggest you choose and have about 3–4 people to spend with, usually this would mean spouse, kids, parent or close friend.
  2. Get some plan. Start planning on how long your task going to be finished, maybe 3, 6 or 12 months. After that, we’ll need to break it into daily basis, so make our daily schedule. This schedule should also put your daily life before this task occured, such as your family time with kids every night, though maybe the duration will be reduced. This daily schedule should be made with 2 criteria, which it could be done (have high enough probability to be done) and it could still be done when some other thing need to do (the schedule should have some extra time when your plan didn’t go well, especially when you had kids or loved one, and maybe they want to spend special day with you when you need to do the task). By this, you still doing the task and have your social life. Though you could put only the task on schedule, if you prepared enough to lose quality time with your family/friends.
  3. Start small. During your schedule, it would be great, if you identify all source of distractions and keep them away. Usually, i turn my phone to silent mode, choose a place that have less probability to be distracted (usually i do this on my room with door closed), and tell your housemate that you’ll need to do some task. Before doing the task, if you remembered that something maybe become distraction, you should finish it to avoid it.
  4. Evaluate daily. Every night before sleep, evaluate on how your plan going. Is it on track? Do the plan/daily task finished? If not, you should evaluate why it is not finished, how to avoid the source of distractions and how the task is going to be finished within the target?

Kassidy Li

Title: Founder
Company: Kassidy Li

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kass-li/

My name is Kassidy and I’m the founder of Kassidy Li, where I help people to grow wealth and solve problems with accounting knowledge and technology.

I started Kassidy Li on 1st November 2022 as a side hustle. At the same time, I have a demanding full-time job as a Finance Manager at a hospital and I am a writer on Medium. With these three identities, I become a busy bee. I try to get the most out of my time to keep all these running smoothly. So, I need to focus and be free from distractions. So, I have a few tips to share about managing my distraction.

  1. Switch to task of different nature
    I have a list of to-do-list for my upcoming tasks. For example, creating content for my blog, outreaching for guest post opportunities, and learning more tactics for my blogging business. All of these are important to my blogging business but they are of different natures. I focus on doing one task each time. If I feel distracted, I will switch to another task with different nature. As the natures of the tasks are different, you will feel refreshed and make you focus on your work again.
  2. Doing exercises
    I’ll go for a run if I cannot stay productive. Sometimes you cannot force yourself to work all time. Doing exercise can make you focus again and it’s good for brainstorming ideas.
  3. Raisins appreciation (it’s odd but work for me)
    My habit of handling distractions from the digital world is to grasp around 10 raisins in my palm. I’ll look into them one by one in detail. It is joyful to find the different patterns of each raisin. After the appreciation, I will eat them all and back to work. It is a bit odd but you can stop yourself from indulging in the digital world and 10 raisins won’t make you fat.

Hope you find my tips useful. Thank you.

David Farkas

Title: Founder & CEO
Company: The Upper Ranks

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dovidfarkas/

Set boundaries and stick to them. As a CEO, it is important to have clear priorities and focus on the most important tasks for achieving the organization’s long-term goals. This helps to avoid oneself getting distracted by unimportant tasks and stay productive.

There’s also a need to establish clear expectations for yourself and your team regarding when and how available you are to be contacted. Make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day to stay focused and prolific. Setting a timer or a productivity app is also helpful. This will allow you to limit distractions, prioritize tasks, and track progress.

Doug Mitchell

Title: President & CEO
Company: Argenta Field Solutions

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/argenta-direct-sales

Time management is my best advice to avoid distractions and stay focused on my tasks. There are many tools available for time management; mine is a simple paper and pencil to jot down the tasks needed to be done. I give each task a timetable so I know how much time I need to finish them. In this way, distractions can be avoided because I start my day by focusing on the important tasks on hand and allocating them to a certain time of my day.

Syed Behzad Hussain

Title: CEO
Company: TipTop Gut

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/behzad-hussain/

Following are my 11 best tried and tested tips that help me avoid distractions and stay focused on the task:

  1. Setting Specific Goals and PrioritiesHaving clear goals and priorities helps me stay focused on the task at hand. Break my tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks and focus on one thing at a time.
  2. Setting Specific Times for Checking Emails and Notifications
    This helps me psychologically not to check my mobile again and again. It help me stay focused on the task at hand and not get sidetracked by temptation of checking notifications.
  3. Taking Breaks to Refresh and Reset
    It’s important to take regular breaks to rest my brain and refocus. This helps me stay more productive in the long run.
  4. Minimizing Distractions
    Closing unnecessary tabs or apps on my computer, turning off my phone or at least internet connectivity, or finding a quiet place to work are some fruitful ways to minimize distractions.
  5. Using a Timer to Track Performance
    Setting a timer for a specific amount of time helps work on the task until the timer goes off. This helps you me focused and on track.
  6. Practicing Mindfulness
    Paying attention to the present moment helps a lot to stay focused and avoid getting distracted by thoughts or external stimuli. Taking a few deep breaths and bringing my attention to the surroundings of work space helps me stay grounded and avoid getting distracted.
  7. Getting Enough Sleep
    Lack of sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating and decreased productivity. I ensure to get enough rest so that I can stay focused and productive in office time.
  8. Being in A Good Mood
    Feeling stressed or anxious can leave you distracted and is biggest enemy of concentration. Being in good mood always helps to focus on my task.
  9. Establishing Specific Work Hours and Stick to Them as Closely as Possible
    Setting a time limit for work and when to take off from work is ve powerful psychological tool to stay focused on the task. This also helps me avoid procrastination and ensure that I’m devoting enough time to each task.
  10. Try Focusing on One Task at A Time
    Multitasking is not conducive to productivity. Sometimes it may not be possible to multi-task and be productive at a time. So, I try to pick single tasks and complete it before starting the second one.
  11. Revisiting the Schedule At the Day-end
    At the end of the day, I revisit my work schedule and mark what has done and what are the pending tasks.

Note: Overall, it’s important to find what works best for you and to be consistent in your efforts to stay focused and avoid distractions.

Percy Grunwald

Title: Co-owner
Company: Hosting Data

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/percygrunwald/

Here are some tips for avoiding distractions and staying focused on the task:

Identify the source of distraction: The first step in avoiding distractions is to identify what is causing them. Is it your phone, social media, notifications, or something else? Once you know the source of the distraction, it becomes easier to find a solution.

Set clear goals: Having a clear goal in mind can help you stay focused and motivated. Make a list of the tasks you need to complete and prioritize them based on importance and deadlines.

Create a distraction-free environment: Remove any unnecessary clutter or items that might distract you from your work. Turn off notifications on your phone or computer, and consider using a noise-canceling headset if you work in a noisy environment.

Take breaks: It’s important to take breaks to rest and recharge, but make sure to use your breaks effectively. Step away from your work for a few minutes, stretch, and do something relaxing before returning to your tasks.

Use time management techniques: There are several time management techniques you can use to help you stay focused. One such technique is the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working for a set period of time, taking a short break, and then repeating the cycle. This can help you stay focused and avoid burnout.

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. By focusing on your breath or an object in front of you, you can train your mind to stay present and avoid getting distracted.

Seek support: If you’re having trouble staying focused and avoiding distractions, consider seeking support from a friend, colleague, or professional. They can help you stay accountable and provide guidance on how to improve your focus.

Tyler Seeger

Title: Managing Director
Company: Retirement Being

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tyler-seeger/

Hi there,

I am Tyler Seeger, an Entrepreneur and Managing Director of Retirement Being — a well-known free-to-use solution for seniors seeking a reimagined and empowered living community.

In this day and age of constant reminders, email, and instant messaging, not to mention the tight conditions in which we toil, we are getting increasingly easily distracted at work. People’s productivity is suffering, and they’re also more stressed out than ever because of all the interruptions. Is there anything you can do to clear your head and focus your efforts? Here’s what I do as a business leader —
Designate a workspace devoid of distractions.

Maintaining a clean, clutter-free work area is essential to avoid being interrupted by unwanted sounds and uncomfortable feelings. In addition, if you provide yourself with a specific place to do business, you’ll be more likely to go into the zone and stay there for longer.

Organize your work time into smaller chunks.
It’s best to divide up your work time into smaller pieces since it’s difficult to maintain concentration for many hours straight. To avoid burnout, many business owners find success using time blocking. Using this technique, I was able to create more time for focused work, improve my efficiency, and cut down on my inclination to multitask.

I hope you find this helpful. My inbox is open if you happen to have any questions. Thank you!

Best regards,

Jason Moss

Title: Co-founder & President
Company: Moss Technologies REI Marketing Solutions 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonwmoss/

Give Yourself Breaks
Regular breaks might help you stay focused and be more productive. It is more advantageous to take regular breaks to feel refreshed rather than working nonstop. When you exercise, create, interact with others, or nurture your body and mind, breaks are most productive. Your brain functions best when you alternate between attention and unfocus.

David Cohen

Title: CEO
Company: Flower Station

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-cohen-15894321a/

Eliminate Interruptions
You can control certain interruptions, but others are tough to avoid. Take a technology break to concentrate on the topic at hand as a technique to reduce distractions and improve focus. Give yourself a few minutes to check your messages, emails, and notifications. Then make an effort to have 15 undisturbed minutes. This might be as easy as turning your phone face down and putting it on mute to prevent you from seeing any notifications.

Do not multitask.
Multitasking can occasionally make you feel superhuman since you can finish more things faster. But multitasking, especially when it involves complicated tasks, reduces efficiency. Multitasking may appear efficient on the surface, but it typically takes longer and leads to more mistakes.

Sameera Sullivan

Title: CEO
Company: Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sameera-sullivan-20773820/

Put a stop to online distractions.
Internet searching, online buying, and social networking are all alluring. Most people use the internet all day long for work, but it may also be incredibly distracting. Using attention applications and software is one method of preventing online distractions. Similar to how you disable phone notifications to reduce interruptions, you could block some websites to accommodate your work schedule. You can focus on your work by limiting online distractions with apps like Freedom and Serene.

Edward Solicito

Title: CEO
Company: To The Top Agency

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/edwardsolicito/

  1. Set aside time each day for uninterrupted work — I like to set aside at least two hours each day where I can focus on deep work without any distractions. During this time, I turn off my phone, close all social media tabs, and put on some background music to help me concentrate.
  2. Take breaks regularly — It’s important to take breaks throughout the day so that you don’t get burnt out. I like to take a five-minute break every hour or so to stretch, grab a cup of coffee, or just step away from my desk.
  3. Set daily and weekly goals — Having specific goals that you want to achieve each day or week will help you stay focused and on track. I like to write down my goals for the day first thing in the morning so that I know what I need to accomplish.
  4. Delegate and build a strong team — As the CEO of my agency, I can’t do everything myself! I’ve learned that it’s important to delegate tasks and build a strong team that I can rely on. This has helped me free up time so that I can focus on more important projects.

Mladen Maksic

Title: CEO/Founder
Company: Play Media

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mladen-maksic/

Staying focused and avoiding distractions can be challenging, especially in today’s fast-paced and technology-filled world. Here are some strategies that you can use to stay focused and stay on track: One effective way to stay focused is to set specific goals and priorities.

By identifying the most important tasks and focusing on them first, you can minimize distractions and stay on track. It can also be helpful to break larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks, which can help you make progress and stay motivated. Another tip is to create a conducive work environment. This can include finding a quiet, distraction-free workspace, setting clear boundaries with coworkers or family members, and reducing or eliminating unnecessary notifications or alerts on your computer or phone.

It can also be helpful to take regular breaks to rest and recharge. Taking breaks allows you to refocus your attention and helps prevent burnout. You can do something enjoyable or mentally refreshing during breaks, such as walking or meditating. Technology is also a valuable tool for staying focused, with apps and tools like Freedom, StayFocusd, Focus To-Do, and Todoist that can help you block distractions and manage your tasks.

The Pomodoro Technique, which involves working in 25-minute blocks followed by short breaks, can also be effective for staying focused and avoiding burnout. Additionally, implementing the two-minute rule, which consists in tackling tasks that can complete in two minutes or less as soon as they arise, can help you stay focused and avoid letting small tasks pile up and become distractions later.

Ultimately, staying focused and avoiding distractions requires discipline and self-control. By setting clear goals and priorities, creating a conducive work environment, taking regular breaks, and managing your time effectively, you can stay focused and on track with your work.

Chris Z.

Title: Founder & CEO
Company: Productivity Radar

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-z-953b6225b/

I just started a company called Productivity Radar which creates content focused on leveraging software tools to improve productivity. My passion for the subject matter came from my own struggles with distraction when completing work. Soon after starting a task, I’d find myself searching the internet or checking social media frequently. My biggest problem was keeping the momentum going. Even when using a to-do list, I’d still find myself distracted and off task when working.

In order to stay focused, I realized I needed much more structure during the workday. This led me to try the time-blocking method, which involves breaking out your day into specific blocks of time allocated toward different tasks. For me, this level of structure leaves no room for distraction. As an added bonus, time blocking helps me prioritize more important work and set achievable deadlines. It has worked wonders for me professionally.

Melissa Breger

Title: Distinguished Professor of Law
Company: Albany Law School

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissa-breger-b3606911/

Force yourself not to leave your chair for at least 30 minutes, with no access to your phone or email or distractions. You cannot leave your chair until you have at least started the task at hand (or made a decent dent in it!)

Trevor Sookraj

Title: CEO
Company: Divisional

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/divisional/

I have found that spending unplugged time in nature is a great way to rid yourself of distractions and free your mind. For me personally, I like to spend time in nature when I have big decisions to consider. I will put my phone on ‘do not disturb’ and either go on a hike or find a quiet place to sit in the woods near my house so that I can focus on my thoughts alone.

Rajan Ad

Title: CEO, Founder
Company: Magical Media Studio Inc

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hello-iam-rajanad/

Here are a few actionable tactics you can use to avoid distractions and stay focused on the task:

Identify your distractions: The first step in avoiding distractions is to identify what is causing them. Are you constantly checking your phone or email? Is there noise or activity in your environment that is disrupting your concentration? Once you know what is causing your distractions, you can take steps to minimize or eliminate them.

Create a conducive work environment: A clean, organized, and well-lit workspace can help you stay focused and avoid distractions. Consider investing in a comfortable chair, a good desk lamp, and any other equipment or supplies that will help you work more efficiently.

Set clear goals and priorities: Having clear goals and priorities for your work can help you stay focused and avoid distractions. Make a list of what needs to be done and prioritize your tasks so you know what is most important to focus on.

Use a timer: Setting a timer can help you stay focused on a task for a specific period of time. Consider using the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break. This can help you stay focused and avoid burnout.

Take breaks: It is important to take regular breaks to rest and recharge. Schedule regular breaks throughout the day to give yourself time to relax and refocus. During breaks, step away from your work and do something enjoyable or restful, such as going for a walk or practicing mindfulness.

Overall, staying focused and avoiding distractions requires a combination of strategies, including identifying and minimizing distractions, creating a conducive work environment, setting clear goals and priorities, using a timer, and taking breaks. By implementing these tactics, you can improve your focus and productivity.

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