Focus on the Important, not the Trivial: Remove Distractions

Lesson #6: Lessons for Entrepreneurial Success (Maybe, with Hard Work and Luck)

(Click HERE for the first lesson in the series)
Prioritization methods mentioned in Lesson #3 are great for knowing what you need to do. The next challenge is making sure you get it done. Whether you work in an office or from your kitchen table, getting into a workflow and remaining undistracted can be challenging. Here are a few tips:

  • Your phone is not your friend:
  • Put it on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode or turn it off for predetermined periods. Unless you’re an on-call surgeon, you can return someone’s call or message in an hour or two. If you have something to get done on your Urgent & Important list, give it the attention it needs to get off your list.

  • Schedule email and messaging app:
  • Schedule time to return messages and turn your notifications off the rest of the time. Your life-long dream probably doesn’t include having notifications interrupt your work every few minutes. Set up a cadence that works for you. We like setting aside 30-mins 3x a day, that’s an hour and a half of just messages.

  • Like Scar from the Lion King, Be Prepared:
  • If you know you get thirsty or peckish two hours after having your morning coffee, have a large glass of water or a healthy snack ready at the desk. Getting up to “find something to eat” can often be the result of you trying to procrastinate and not push through a difficult challenge. Have a healthy snack close at hand like apple slices, trail mix, etc.

  • Create Intentional Distractions:
    Staying focused is important, but so is giving yourself a break. Don’t let boredom or random events dictate when you give your brain a break. Schedule 15-20 mins every few hours to go for a walk (as they say, sitting is the new smoking)1, check your social media feed, meditate, or whatever you want to do during that time to give your mind and body a break. There’s a reason they gave us recess as kids, the entrepreneurial mind needs a chance to stretch and relax.

  • Ambience:
    We all have different audio needs. If you need a quiet space, close your office door, book a meeting room, or go to a library. But if you’re like many, music or background noise can help keep you in the zone. Try websites like Noisli for customizable audio combinations like white noise, cafe sounds, or a rainy day. For those of us who like a little music, build a playlist that will help you focus. You can find our playlist link HERE.
  • Remember to return for part 7 of our series.

  • 1. Better Health, Victoria State Government, “The dangers of sitting: why sitting is the new smoking”,
  • Images:
  • Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam
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