204: How to Get and Stay Focused

We live in an age of distraction. No matter what we have to do – whether it’s writing an essay, working in an office, or just going about our daily lives – we are constantly at the mercy of internal and external distractions. These attention-breakers have serious consequences on our quality of work. The good news is that with our growing knowledge of the brain and improved technology, there are specific steps we can take to increase attention and improve focus.

This week’s episode covers the difference between internal and external distractions and practical steps you can take to increase your focus. While our internal distractions are actually much more numerous than external, both can prevent people from focused work. I talk about the things you may be doing that prevent deep focus, then I give you steps you can take to mitigate distractions using short-term and long-term approaches.

The full episode guide includes the matrix of focus along with tips and suggestions for how to focus from each of the various perspectives of the matrix. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at www.themodernmanager.com/shop.

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Read the related blog article: How to Stop Getting so Distracted and Focus

Key Takeaways:

  • External distractions are physical interruptions in our environment that break our focus.
  • Internal distractions come from within us, whether it’s a desire to check social media or feeling hungry.
  • 80% of all distractions we encounter are internal. Focusing better is about controlling your mind.
  • If you have too much on your mind (cognitive overload), you depress your ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
  • Humans can’t multitask (do two things at once). Instead, we task switch, which takes time to refocus.
  • Clear your physical and digital spaces from visual distractions.
  • Block out time on your calendar to get deep work done.
  • Develop ways for your team to signal when they don’t want to be interrupted (like a closed door or headphones on).
  • Build your ability to focus with meditation or breath work.
  • Use both short-term and long-term techniques to set yourself up for better focus and getting yourself back on track after an interruption.

Additional Resources:


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