It’s essential to have laser focus in business. But in an online world full of notifications, social media and on-demand content it’s hard to eliminate distractions and achieve focus. Digital distraction is quickly becoming one of the biggest barriers to greatness and achievement. I have tried many productivity tips over the years. What I am going to show you in this post works.
It’s amazing how many of my colleagues, family and friends talk about how ashamed they are about the amount of time they spend on their phones, tablets and TVs. Digital distraction is real and it’s killing our productivity. In a business turnaround, we need to first be aware of digital distraction and secondly, know how to beat it.
In this post, I am going to give you some practical tips on how to eliminate distractions and achieve laser focus in business.
Join the 5 AM Club – Wake Up Early
When it comes to laser focus in business, it’s essential to build a strong foundation. In his international bestseller ‘The 5 AM Club’, Robin Sharma talks about the magic that happens when you wake up early. As I write this, it is a Saturday morning and I have been up since 0500. At the time of writing this sentence, it is 0630.
You might think that is mad, however, to achieve ultimate productivity it is necessary to do what most people aren’t willing to do. Your greatness and productivity lie in doing what others aren’t willing to do.
By waking up early you are automatically eliminating distractions. The world is asleep. No one is going to be bothering you with email or Slack messages at that time. Trust me – I know. Most people are lazy and have conformed to the 0900-1700 world. They wake up later and go to bed later. Why not get up when most people are asleep and get yourself set up for the day?
Don’t Check Your Phone In The Morning
I can feel you squirming in your seat right now. Isn’t it amazing how we are constantly glued to our phones? What’s worrying is, isn’t it amazing how our default setting in the morning as soon as we wake up is to reach for our phone and start scrolling? This is a problem.
To achieve laser focus, when you wake up do not check your phone. I only allow myself to turn off my alarm. That’s it. After that, I get on with my morning routine.
Create A Morning Routine
As per the 5 AM Club, your ‘Victory Hour’ is between 0500 and 0600. Create a morning ritual or routine where you get centred, plan and get set up for the day. By doing this simple thing you will be far ahead of most of your colleagues.
Your morning routine needs to be free of devices, social media, checking email and all the other digital distractions.
I will write another blog post soon about my morning routine but for now, here’s a quick summary of my routine:
0500 – Wake Up
0510 – Work Out
0600 – Make Coffee
0605 – Morning Pages (journalling and Gratitude)
0700 – Learn something new (right now I’m learning another language)
0730 – Plan my day
0750 – Get ready
How does that look? I’m centred, ahead of the game, my body is activated, my mind is clear, I feel positive and I feel focused.
Schedule Important Tasks In Your Calendar
How many times have you created a to-do list, only to find at the end of the day you haven’t ticked anything off it? I know I have. One of the best productivity tips I have come across is to schedule important tasks in your calendar.
I schedule my most important tasks in my calendar. I have a meeting with myself. Being in my position, a lot of people want my time. That’s fine. I always want to give my time, but I’m conscious of the things that I need to get done.
Therefore on certain days, I will schedule the most important tasks in my calendar and am disciplined enough to stick to it. I know that if it’s in my calendar, I don’t move it. I don’t cancel meetings with myself. I’ve made a commitment to getting that task done at that time.
Turn On ‘Do Not Disturb Mode’
When you sit down to do an important task it is very easy to get distracted by your pining phone or email notifications. Your phone and laptop have a feature called ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. This will disable all notifications whilst you’re in this mode.
Turn this mode on when you do important tasks, otherwise, you will be tempted to look at your screen every time a notification pops up. You need to train yourself to not feel anxious when you are ‘offline’.
Every time a notification pops up, your focus is derailed. You can’t get ‘in the zone’ and it affects your productivity.
Move Your Phone
In some instances, when I have a big piece of work that will require a lot of thought and focus I move my phone away.
Sometimes I’ll put it in another room or a drawer so I’m not tempted to pick it up and start scrolling. Now that I’m quite disciplined I simply put my phone in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode and turn it over so the screen is face down.
Play Instrumental Music
Countless studies have shown that music has benefits for productivity. When you have music playing in the background, certain parts of the brain are stimulated allowing you to achieve that laser focus you’re after.
Studies show that instrumental music works better. I have lots of Spotify playlists I use. Here’s a link to one of my favourites (appropriately named ‘Deep Focus’)