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Creating Successful Leaders

With so many distractions in today’s world, it is sometimes VERY difficult to concentrate. Add in the reality of working from home (something that has many of us blurring the lines between work time and personal time) and juggling multiple responsibilities, and it’s easy to see why so many of us are having difficulties focusing.

I won’t say I have THE solution for bringing focus to your life (people operate differently, of course, and there is no “one size fits all” solution), but I do have several ideas that could work. Try out a few, see what resonates with you, and keep at it. And if you start to lose focus down the road? Switch things up and try a new strategy!

1. Get Into Airplane Mode

If you have to do something that doesn’t require you to be online (writing a report, filling out an Excel spreadsheet, etc.), try putting your laptop and phone into airplane mode. Many of our distractions come from emails, social media, or mindless internet searches, and with the click of a button, you can make them all go away! It may seem odd at first to be disconnected, but it is also empowering and refreshing. Try spending an hour or so in airplane mode before popping back online.

2. Take Control of Emails

I’ve talked about emails in past blog posts (like this ONE) and how they tend to control our days. Instead of letting your inbox manage you, start taking charge of your inbox! Set a limit on the number of times you check and respond to emails (three times per day is a good place to start) and do your best to not get derailed by “urgent” requests. It’s not up to you to stomp out every little fire that crops up, AND it’s healthy to set clear email boundaries (like not responding after work hours).

3. Step Away

If you need to boost your motivation and focus, sometimes it’s a good idea to simply step away. Get up, leave your laptop, and go on a walk or read a book. Do something completely different for a while–something that will refresh and rejuvenate you. Even enjoying a cup of coffee or tea AWAY from your desk can be helpful. It’s all about the change of scenery and doing something non-work-related for a while.

4. Listen to Instrumental Music

Certain music can help boost your concentration and give you a burst of energy. Instrumental music can be especially good for focusing, because you won’t accidentally tune in to the lyrics! Try searching for epic movie soundtracks, ambient music, studying music, or binaural beats.

5. Exercise

Exercise is both a mood-booster and an energy-booster. If you’ve been feeling lethargic lately, try adding a few workouts into your weekly routine. Even if you’re not an “athletic type,” you can still find something that works for you. Start small. Go for brisk walks, practice some gentle yoga, or try zumba. There’s something out there that is right for you!

6. Set a Timer

One great way to increase productivity is to set a timer and JUST WORK. Try half an hour or forty-five minutes at first–something to get you going. Once the timer is running, commit to doing work, and only work. No checking your email, no surfing the web. Pick a task and do it! If your timer sounds and you feel like continuing your work, set another timer and keep going.

We all could use a little help with concentration these days. Pick a few of these methods and give them a try! And if you have any other approaches you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them. Thank you!


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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