How To Train Your Focus – PT. 1

In today’s modern workplace we struggle with focus. Whether its still recovering from yesterday’s trials or thinking about tomorrow’s challenges, being able to clear your head and zone-in on mastering that 1 thing that needs to get done today or maintaining presence with an important customer, focus is a huge challenge.

Focus is important for:

- decreasing anxiety
- Improving absorbed attention on tasks at work
- increasing authentic leadership presence with others

The great news is, that focus is a skill set and like any other skill set, you can train your focus to become better with time. Here are 3 powerful ideas in how to train your focus:

1. Setup the day with clarity

John D. Martini once said, “any area of your life that you don’t empower by filling it with high priority activities will automatically fill with low priority activities that something or someone will disempower”

What a brilliant quote for increasing focus and keeping productive.
You will notice that the time that we become most unfocused and distracted is when our priorities are not clear. Have you ever noticed that people who are not clear on what their top priorities are, very often are the ones who have a hard time saying ‘no’ to activities and are at the mercy of low priority tasks. Make it a point of starting the day with clarity.

2. Utilize N.E.T

N.E.T stands for No Extra Time. It’s that space that comes after a high priority task has been completed and determines whether a distraction or somebody else’s agenda overtakes your time or whether you continue to stay focused.

All of us have these bubbles of space in between periods of our working day that can easily be overtaken and consumed by the not so important or not so urgent activities and these activities can quickly turn from 5 minutes into 30mins, into an hour of lost time. Perhaps you just finished up on a crucial deadline and a bubble of space was waiting for you to accept its invitation – the phone rings, you attend to a persistent problem that needs to be dealt with or someone walks into your office.

If you have clarity on what is most important to you it’s much easier to say ‘no’ to the pull of the non-essential but you must fill in the bubbles of space, they have the potential to derail you if they are not filled with purpose! Creating something called a ‘running list’ can really help. A running list looks like this and can help bring clarity to important tasks that can be carried out in set time periods:

5min __________________

10 min _________________

20min __________________

If we have a running list created for bubbles of space that can be utilised for ‘mission critical’ activities, we have a higher propensity to say ‘no’ to the unimportant and keep our focus on the important. Think about three activities right now that could fill brief bubbles of space in tomorrow’s workday…

Note: A lot of people say to me, that this is too intense and that it’s impossible to fill my day up completely. The idea is not to achieve this, rather, note when you become most distracted during the day and look at how these pockets of space can be more effectively utilised, especially during busy periods of your working year.

Find more out about what Ben does & how he does it, or download his free eBook -"What University Doesn't Teach About Job Performance"  at:


About Ben:

Ben works with:

- executives, managers & team leaders to influence human behaviour and in essence get more out of individuals and teams in terms of execution and results. By unveiling and removing the barriers that are often unknown, unaware or unseen by management, yet are evidently surfaced in the low levels of creativity, productivity, commitment and cohesiveness, leaders can establish a high performance workplace that increases productivity, team cohesion and organizational bottom line

- individuals at work become aware of the skill sets and behaviors to achieve world class performance. These include both staff and leaders maximize performance at a personal and career level thereby transforming workplaces and creating excellence for both the person and the organization itself.

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