Transcript

Episode: Destroy Distractions with These 9 Focus-Boosting Strategies

Michael Hyatt: Hi, I’m Michael Hyatt.

Megan Hyatt Miller: And I’m Megan Hyatt Miller.

Michael:  And this is Lead to Win, our weekly podcast to help you win at work and succeed at life. In this episode, we’re talking about how to create greater mental focus, something we all need. In this distraction economy, that’s a rare commodity, but we have nine practices that’ll instantly boost your ability to do deep work.

Megan: I’m really excited about this, because it’s so practical. One of the biggest challenges we all face as leaders in making decisions and leading our teams is our ability to focus. We can’t do meaningful work unless we can maintain focus, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Michael: You’re exactly right. We have nine practices to share. I want to challenge you guys, as leaders, don’t let another week go by with fractured focus. Pick at least one of these nine practices today and put it to work.

Megan: Yeah. So let’s turn to Larry now to guide us through the topic.

Larry Wilson: Thanks, guys. As we open up this topic of creating greater mental focus, this really is our focus at Michael Hyatt & Company: to help leaders gain greater focus and clarity. Let me ask you something. Has that always been your focus?

Michael: No. One of the things I realized as an executive in the corporate world was that the whole multitasking thing was a myth and that I couldn’t focus on everything, because basically that was a recipe to focus on nothing, and that I couldn’t do deep, meaningful work. The times when I would advance the progress of my division, when I would make the most money for the company, when I would succeed in achieving the goals the company had set were times when I set aside specific time to focus, to really concentrate, to exclude all of the other things that distract us.

Now, in the current economy we’re in, the current world we live in, there are so many distractions, and big companies, some of the world’s biggest tech companies, basically have a business model that’s at war with our ability to concentrate and focus. So you have to be very intentional if you’re going to succeed.

Larry: In this distraction economy, leaders must create their own focus. So here are our nine practices for doing that. The first practice is calendar your focus time.

Megan: This is so important to make an appointment with yourself for deep work. You’re probably not going to fit in your prolonged sessions of focus… For example, if you need to write something, create a proposal, write a report, create content, something like that, it’s not going to happen in the little slivers between your meetings, for example. You need sustained time to do that, and in order to do that you need to schedule that.

This is what Jason Fried and David Hansson talk about in their book Rework, where they reference the alone zone. It’s important not only for you to put this on your calendar but to get in a setting where you can be by yourself and not interrupted.

Michael: I would say another thing to add to that… This needs to be scheduled at a time when you can get into peak performance. Not all time is created equal.

Megan: That’s so true.

Michael: I would refer you to Daniel Pink’s book When, where he talks about chronotypes and knowing your chronotype. In other words, knowing when you’re at your peak. For me… This is not true for everybody, but for me, that’s typically early morning. I’m going to do my best, most creative work early in the morning. Some people do that best in the evening. There are some people who do that midday, but figure out when it is for you and schedule that time in the alone zone to do your most important work.

Megan: The reason that whole idea of chronotypes is important is you don’t want to set yourself up to fail. For me, for example, if I had to do really deep thinking work at about 2:00 in the afternoon, it would just be trash time. It’s just not valuable. I’m not sharp mentally. That’s just not the best time of my day. That’s a good time for me to process email or something like that, but it’s not a great time for me to focus, so I need to be my own best friend in that and schedule this during a time when I know my brain is already going to be online for this kind of focus.

Larry: You’re reminding me of a quote I ran across in preparing for this episode from Charles Buxton, a nineteenth-century British philosopher/politician. Way back then he said, “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.”

Megan: It’s kind of like what you say, Dad: “What gets scheduled gets done.” That’s absolutely true for your focus.

Larry: So, the first practice for creating more mental focus is calendar your focus time. The second practice is isolate yourself.

Michael: I first discovered this when I started asking myself the question why I was so productive on an airplane.

Megan: We’ve joked that when we need to get something really important done we need our assistants to stick us on a plane to California, and by the time we come back we’ll have it done.

Michael: It’s so true. I never get more done than when I’m in an airplane. I think it’s a couple of reasons. First, it’s a little bit like working in a coffee shop. There’s enough white noise going on that it allows you to focus. I don’t know how that works in terms of brain chemistry, but it does. The other thing is I don’t know anybody to get involved in conversations, and I can really be focused on my work. Now, they screwed that up a little bit by adding Internet to airplanes, and it’s especially annoying when the Internet doesn’t work very well, so you find yourself trying to get it to work and futzing around with it and trying to get pages to load that won’t load and all that. But I think for creative work I do my best work at 35,000 feet.

Megan: You know what I think it is? You are literally buckled into your seat. I mean, half the battle of doing any kind of focused work is keeping your butt in the dang chair until you have the breakthrough. You have to make it through the first 30 minutes to an hour, and if you’re on a plane, you can’t go anywhere.

Michael: That’s good. Maybe it’s the little bag of peanuts too. I don’t know.

Megan: Maybe that’s the secret.

Michael: But you can do that. You can replicate that in your office anytime you want. It involves things like closing your office door if you have one, and if you’re working in a cube…sorry for you, but if you are working in a cube, put on some headphones or something that signals to the outside world that you’re in deep work. Have an agreement among your coworkers and say, “Look, guys. Let’s agree that this deep work is important.” Read Cal Newport’s book Deep Work as a team if you have to, and then say, “How can we signal to one another that we need the space to do this?”

Maybe it’s simply the universal symbol of having your headphones on means “Don’t interrupt me; I’m involved in deep work.” Or put up a sign or, even better, preempt the whole interruption issue by going to your coworkers, especially your boss (bosses can be bad at this), and saying, “Hey, I’m about to go into some deep work, and I just wondered if there’s anything I can get for you, anything you need before I do that, because I don’t want to be interrupted during the next hour and a half.”

Megan: The other thing we’ve done at Michael Hyatt & Company to facilitate this is that we’ve designated Thursdays as a “no meeting” day. We don’t adhere to that 100 percent, but I would say we’re about 80 to 90 percent there. What that means is that because we are free to not have meetings on that day, our office is virtually empty on Thursdays. That’s a really low populated time in the office, because people are usually home or at a coffee shop, wherever they feel like they work best, digging in to deep work that is project-related that they’ve maybe not been able to do while they’re in and out of meetings all week.

Michael: That sounds like a simple idea, and it is, but when I share that with entrepreneurs their head explodes. They think, “You can do that?” Oh my gosh. It’s so awesome. I was just talking to a guy last night I was coaching, and he said, “Based on your input, we’re starting…” It happened to be an educational institution. He said, “We’re going to start doing that. We’re going to have meeting-free Fridays.” He was almost giddy about the prospect of it.

Megan: Right. Because most of our days are filled up with meetings and we don’t have that opportunity.

Larry: The second practice is isolate yourself. That brings us very naturally to the third practice, which is go offline.

Michael: You can do that?

Larry: You can.

Megan: This is a big deal, because we can be our own worst enemies. The notifications, the email, the distractions that are everywhere present in our lives can really sabotage our efforts to focus. This is simple things, like turning off your email. You don’t need to be online. Usually, for the kind of focused work we’re talking about, it’s not research-based or Internet-based, so you don’t need access to those things.

Turn off your notifications. If there are things popping up on your phone or your computer throughout this time you have blocked, it’s engineered to distract you. You’re probably not going to have the mental strength to overcome that, so you need to block it out. If you need the Internet… You really like a tool that’s called Freedom. You want to talk about that for a minute?

Michael: There’s a tool called Freedom. You can find out more at freedom.to. It’s not perfect. In fact, right now I’m a little bit frustrated because it’s not working completely with iOS devices because Apple changed the way those devices can block content. They call them content blockers. But on the desktop it works fantastic.

How I’ve solved that problem on my phone… I just recently went through an overhaul of turning my smartphone into a dumb phone. I don’t have any email. Literally, I don’t have an email client on my phone. I don’t have Slack. I don’t have any social media with the exception of Instagram, because I have to do Instagram Stories for work, but even there I control that with Screen Time to a limited amount each day, and only Gail has the passcode, so I can’t breach that.

Megan: That, by the way, is the secret. We were talking about this earlier. It’s so easy to override that, but if you give somebody else the lockdown code, then you’re in much better shape. You can also block your access to your devices for certain periods of the day. It’s not just all about your cumulative time. You can actually lock yourself out of them during certain periods, and that would be another alternative to Freedom.

Michael: Well, that’s what you do with Freedom. You go into a session. You can decide how long it’s going to be. The great thing on the desktop for that (and the desktop is about the only place I can look at social media today) is Freedom blocks those sites. If I go over to TweetDeck, for example, or if I go to Facebook, it immediately bounces me back to the previous page. I can’t even access it until the session is over. The only way I can defeat it is to completely reboot my computer, and who has time for that? It’s just enough friction that it reminds me of my purpose of staying focused. So, going offline is huge.

I just want to say, also, Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism is an amazing book and a really important book. I think social media has basically destroyed our focus. In my book Platform I was a huge advocate of social media, and I still think used correctly it’s okay, but when I wrote that book in 2012 it was a very different world than we’re living in today. It has become such an enormous distraction.

The business model of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is diametrically opposed to us, as leaders, wanting to focus, because they’re desperately trying to keep you on their platforms and keep you from ever leaving, so you’re outgunned. Cal talks about this as David and Goliath 2.0, and you’re the David against this gigantic social media infrastructure that’s trying to take you down.

Larry: The third practice, then, is to go offline. Let’s move to the fourth, which is to turn the room temperature down. I want to share with you a little bit of a study published by Scientific American. See if this fits with your experience. In this study, participants were asked to proofread an article. Some of them were placed in a warm room at 77°F. Some of them were placed in a cool room at 67°F. What the researchers found was that those in the cool room did twice as well as those in the warm room at identifying errors in proofreading. It was a 100 percent difference that 10 degrees made. So, cooler room, greater concentration. Is that true for you?

Megan: Yeah.

Michael: Definitely.

Megan: First of all, 77 degrees is basically hot yoga, which is my version of hell, so I don’t think I could think well enough to do yoga, much less proofread anything. I’ll take the 67 degrees every day.

Michael: Yeah. No question about it. It’s a simple little hack, but I turn my office down to 69 degrees. If it gets too warm, I just get sleepy and start zoning out. So, this is a good hack. By the way, it’s also a good hack for better sleeping.

Megan: Mm-hmm. Sixty-seven degrees is the perfect sleeping temperature for me.

Michael: It is for me too. By the way, it could be different for everybody, so find out your own temperature and set accordingly.

Megan: You don’t sleep well when you’re hot, and apparently you don’t think well when you’re hot.

Michael: There you go.

Larry: The fifth practice is get comfortable. How does this help your ability to focus?

Megan: Well, if you’re uncomfortable, you’re going to be distracted.

Michael: It’s that simple.

Megan: It’s kind of straightforward.

Michael: I think also kicking off your shoes and getting into a comfortable posture for me… This is going to sound counterintuitive. That doesn’t mean slipping into a comfortable couch or lying in my bed. Some people call this assuming the position. When you’re in the position of sleep and you’re trying to get some study done or some writing done, you’re going to fall asleep.

I work at a stand-up desk all day everyday, and I am on my feet. I didn’t just start by doing it this much. I’ve been using a stand-up desk for over a decade, but I’m now on my feet all day everyday, except for today, when we’re recording the podcast, I’m seated. I do webinars standing up. I write standing up. I do almost everything meaningful and important standing up.

Larry: So far, we have these practices to increase mental focus: First, calendar your focus time. Second, isolate yourself. Third, go offline. Fourth, turn the room temperature down. Fifth, get comfortable. Before we move on to the sixth practice, I have a little game for you to play, Michael and Megan. This game is called “Love It or Hate It.” I’m going to list some items as they relate to mental focus, and you’re going to tell me if you love it or hate it or you can pass. That’s one of the rules of the game. Ready to play?

Nick: Boo. No passing.

Larry: Okay. Nick is saying “no passing” on this game. He’s the producer, so that’ll have to be the rule.

Megan: He’s the boss.

Larry: All right. First, coffee shop. Love it or hate it?

Megan: Hate it. Unless I’m in a town where I don’t know anybody.

Larry: Because you get interrupted?

Megan: Mm-hmm.

Larry: Michael, love it or hate it?

Michael: Hate it for the same reason. If I’m in a place that people don’t know me, then I love it.

Larry: Office at home. Working at your home office. Love it or hate it for creating focus?

Michael: Love it.

Megan: Love it. I’m actually redoing mine right now, and I’m very excited.

Larry: Jazz. Love it or hate it?

Megan: I can tell my husband was influential on this question. It depends what type it is. The more avant-garde, the less I like it.

Michael: Hate it. For mental focus, hate it. Love it otherwise.

Larry: Earbuds or AirPods. Love them or hate them?

Megan: Love it.

Michael: Love them.

Larry: Spouse in the same room with you.

Michael: Hate it.

Megan: Probably hate it. Occasionally it can work, but usually it’s distracting.

Michael: Yeah. My wife is distracting in a good way. I’m just captivated by her. Honey, that was for you.

Larry: That was a great recovery, Michael. Room with an open window.

Megan: I don’t think I’ve ever tried that.

Michael: I don’t think I have either.

Larry: Facing a window. Love it or hate it?

Megan: Love it.

Michael: Love it.

Larry: We said be comfortable. Wearing PJs.

Megan: No. Hate it.

Michael: No. Hate it. Got to dress up to move up.

Megan: You at least have to take a shower to move up.

Larry: Early morning time. Love it or hate it?

Michael: Love it.

Megan: Love it.

Larry: Well, then I probably know the answer to the last one. Late night time. Love it or hate it?

Megan: I have had some productive late nights. It’s kind of a rarity, I would say. Mostly I hate it, but every now and then it’s the right solution.

Michael: Hate it.

Megan: Like, once a year.

Michael: Starting at about 8:00 at night, the lids on my eyes begin to just fall.

Megan: It’s true. We can see it happen.

Michael: I know.

Larry: Well, there are a lot of ways to create mental focus, and those might be a few others for people to try…or to avoid, apparently. Let’s jump back to our list of nine practices that create more mental focus. We’re on the sixth, which is to put on music that aids concentration.

Megan: I love this one. I particularly love the app called [email protected] I use that a lot when I’m doing any kind of focused work. You can pick the tempo. You can pick the genre or the style of music. I really love this. Do you use this, Dad?

Michael: I do occasionally. When I need to really write content, I typically put on a soundtrack playlist. We’ll drop a link into this. Gail has a great soundtrack list on Spotify. It’s basically all of these great songs from movies we love and even movies I’ve never seen. There’s something about it being instrumental, first, and also being kind of epic. It gives me a sense of purpose. That kind of music is written to impact your emotion, and it does. Usually I am much more aware of a larger purpose in the world, etcetera, etcetera. It helps.

Larry: There’s actually some backing for this. Researchers at Stanford University studied the effect of music on the brain, specifically our ability to pay attention, and believe it or not, music does help you focus and pay attention better. They specifically researched using music from the 1800s. They found that it engaged areas of the brain that involved paying attention, making predictions, and updating memory.

Megan: Wow.

Michael: I’ve seen some studies that would reinforce that, but, specifically, they said the most effective music, which I think would be a little bit earlier than that, would be Baroque music. Bach, for example. If I really want to be focused and enhance my IQ, I’ll listen to Mozart.

Larry: Interesting. Let’s talk about the seventh practice for creating more mental focus, which is to notice the effect of food on your ability to focus.

Michael: I’m going to say no to Big Macs and focus or McDonald’s french fries and focus. As tasty as those might be, I’ve found, in my experience, they don’t enhance mental focus.

Megan: I’ve found that if I forget to eat, which sometimes I do in the morning… This is one of my ongoing self-care things that I’m working to get better at. If I’m hungry, it really makes it difficult to focus.

Michael: Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. I’ve also noticed… This is going to be different for everybody, by the way. We’re not saying there are any bad foods. It’s going to be different for everybody. For me, for example, caffeine really enhances my ability to focus. I don’t go overboard. Some people think this is overboard, but I’ll have typically two cups in the morning, and then I’ll have another cup after I have my nap in the afternoon.

So caffeine can be helpful. For some people, though, that makes them crazy. They’re too jittery, too nervous. They can’t focus. So you have to know how it affects you. Another thing for me, too, is I notice that when I eat a high-fat meal or protein-rich meal and less carbs, then I’m more focused. Other people may have a different experience. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

Megan: Hydration is really important too.

Michael: Super important.

Megan: If you’re dehydrated, your brain does not function very well. In fact, there are certain neurotransmitters that are depressed or overactive if you’re not as hydrated as you need to be, and that’s something to pay attention to.

Michael: You just whipped out a little science on us.

Larry: Here’s a little more science on this subject. A report by the National Institutes of Health reported that foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids…

Michael: See?

Larry: I don’t exactly know what foods those would be, but I’m sure that information is out there. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids boost the brain’s function when it comes to cognition. So, some foods really do help you focus.

Megan: Wouldn’t that be like fish or eggs, things like that?

Michael: Yes. Like today, I had a shot, literally, of Udo’s oil. It’s made out of flax seed and some other things. I drink that just for the right oils because it has the omega-3s, the omega-6s, and so forth.

Nick: Mackerel and salmon are very, very high.

Megan: I’m not going to be eating a lot of mackerel, just for the record.

Michael: Holy mackerel!

Larry: We could start having salmon lunches around here to boost the afternoon.

Michael: I eat a lot of salmon. Twice a week, probably.

Larry: The eighth practice for creating more mental focus is to set mini-goals. What are mini-goals?

Michael: Well, a mini-goal is something you can accomplish in a designated period of time. For example, I know it takes me, on average, 75 minutes to write a blog post start to finish. So I’ve been trying to write in the early mornings now 500 words in 45 minutes. I can set a timer. I’m using a timer on my desktop computer called Nice Timer. There are all sorts of Pomodoro apps that’ll help you to time this, but this is a really good one.

I just set it for 45 minutes. It’s a countdown, and now I’m racing the clock. Now my focus is I’m being as productive as I can because I’ve set myself a goal of 500 words and I have to finish it in 45 minutes. Sometimes I don’t quite finish it, but most times I finish it with a little room to spare.

Megan: I think it’s important to remember that projects are not goals. We talk about that a lot with general goal setting, but I think it’s true when you’re talking about focus time. You don’t want to confuse projects with tasks. If you have a big, big project that’s going to take multiple days or weeks to accomplish and you’re not realistic about that, then you can overwhelm yourself and stop yourself in your tracks. So chunk it down, like you’re saying, into something you feel like is reasonable to accomplish in the time you’re dedicating to it.

Michael: Yeah. What’s the next step? We had this yesterday. My assistant Jim and I were talking about this reception we want to hold at the house related to my church. He doesn’t go to my church, so he said, “This just seems so big and hairy, and I don’t know where to start on it.” I said, “Well, let’s request a directory from the church, and let’s go through and highlight the people we want to invite. I’ll take that first step, and then I’ll give it to you, and then you can set it up on Eventbrite.” So we just broke it down into the steps. It was a big project, but each little step is pretty easy. I did my part of it yesterday in probably five minutes, passed it off to Gail, she did her part in about five minutes, and now it’s back with Jim.

Megan: That’s great.

Larry: This brings us to our final practice for today for creating more mental focus: set a timer and take frequent breaks.

Megan: I love to either set a timer or sometimes use meetings that are on either side of a period of focused work I’m doing as my deadline. I work really well with deadlines, so I will impose those on myself. I usually have either a certain small project I’m trying to accomplish or a list of tasks I need to get through, and using that timer idea is a great way, particularly if you’re wired in certain ways, to drive you toward the completion of that thing. Usually, especially if it’s a little less time than I think I need…I feel like that’s key…that helps me focus tremendously.

Michael: Do you take breaks, though, through the day?

Megan: Oh yeah. For sure.

Michael: For me, obviously, lunch is a break, but usually like midmorning (I work most of the time here at the house in an office that’s behind my house) I’ll walk inside and chat with Gail and her assistant for a few minutes and then come back out and resume. But I always (and by always I mean always) take a nap after lunch.

Megan: I have struggled with this nap thing forever. It does not feel like it’s going to happen for me. I do love naps. I love long naps on the weekends. That’s a whole other thing. But what I have started doing… One of my goals for this year is meditating most days after lunch. I struggle sometimes on meeting-heavy days to have the kind of stamina I need for all of those meetings. It can be exhausting (I’m an introvert), especially in the afternoon.

I think the same holds true when you’re doing really intensely focused work. If you can build in a break, whether it’s a nap or meditation or a walk to go get the mail or something like that, then you can kind of reboot for the next session and come back fresh, which is very, very helpful.

Larry: Well, I’ll put my two cents in here. I learned from a blog post some time ago that you had written, Michael, mentioning the Pomodoro method, which is 25 minutes of deep work and a 5-minute break and then some variations on that. I found that more than doubled my ability to extend my focus time. From 90 minutes to two hours I could go three or four hours doing deep concentrated work by using that enforced break method. It really was a help.

Michael: Do you use an app for that or do you just use a timer on your phone?

Larry: I used an app. I can’t remember the name of it now.

Michael: There are a lot of them.

Larry: There are a bunch of them. I would just hit it, and then it would ding. Sometimes I had to break myself away from work because I was so engrossed, but I knew, “If I don’t take a break now, in another 30 minutes I’m just going to want to quit.” So it really worked.

Okay, guys. We have a surprise for you, because we’re going to introduce a little feature here. I’m not even sure what to call it, but it’s basically team productivity tips or team tech tips. It’s not just Michael and Megan who have great ideas. Some of the team get them once in a while too. Nick, our producer for Lead to Win, is here today. Nick, you have a productivity hack to share with us.

Nick: I do. I’ve already mentioned it to Michael and Megan before, so you don’t have to pretend you’re surprised by this, but I’m going to force you to listen to it for a little bit longer.

Michael: Unless we forgot it.

Nick: It’s possible. It’s very possible. It’s very rare that I feel so excited about something related to productivity, because I am somebody who gives up on a lot of… You get bogged down by so many things you have to do that this nice idea is so much work to get started on you never quite are able to get over the hill where it’s ingrained as part of your practice.

But I am an evangelist, I am all in for a website called Focusmate, which is a website you sign up for. It’s free right now. I would totally pay for it, but it’s free right now. You sign up for a time. Let’s say it’s 10:00 a.m., and at that time you are matched with a stranger anywhere on the planet. You go, “Hi, I’m Nick. I’m here. I’m going to work on this edit and these three emails, and that’s what I’m going to do these next 50 minutes,” and they tell you what they’re going to work on for 50 minutes.

Megan: Is this on Zoom or something?

Nick: It’s a camera. You’re looking at each other. It’s their own thing. Then you just sit there and do your work together. It seems weird, but I cannot stress to you… Not just me but the people I meet on there. At the end you’re like, “Thanks for working with me. Thanks for helping me focus.” There’s something about visually telling someone, “I am not doing anything else right now. I’m not going to go over to that tab over there in my browser. I’m not leaving.”

If you leave, you need to tell them, “I’ll be back.” You know, if you have to go to the bathroom or a child needs you, you say, “I’ll be back in three minutes,” or whatever. It’s a way to have accountability. It’s one of the most impactful changes I’ve made in my productivity as an adult. I am all in.

Megan: It’s like a study buddy but for grown-ups.

Nick: Yeah. You just set up times. I’ve never not had a partner at the time I’ve wanted.

Michael: How is that different than… Like, if you had a boss who was hovering over you like that, it would make you crazy. So why does this work and that doesn’t?

Nick: They’re not looking at what I’m doing. They just know I am there.

Megan: Plus it’s elective.

Nick: You run into people who are finishing up proposals. You run into college kids who are working on finals or on papers. I once watched a guy paint. He’s like, “I’m just working on this painting for the next 50 minutes.” I was like, “Can I see?” and he was like, “Yeah.” So I just looked at him paint while I did my work. It was awesome.

Michael: But you’re not talking.

Nick: Nope. Then last week I had a guy in a Starbucks. You can agree to turn your mics off if you want. Usually if people are out in public you’ll ask them to turn their mic off, but I really miss being able to work in coffee shops. Because of my technical setup I don’t get to do it anymore, so I was like, “Can you just leave it on?” I was so productive for that 50 minutes.

Michael: You had the ambiance of a coffee shop.

Nick: Yep.

Michael: But you weren’t even there.

Nick: Nope.

Megan: I think that is so cool.

Nick: Right now it’s free. I cannot stress enough, if you’re working from home like me all the time, Focusmate is the way to go. Focusmate.com.

Michael: Very cool.

Megan: You’re not an affiliate. You’re not getting any cut of this, just to be clear.

Nick: No. I mean, there’s no money.

Michael: But we should check into that.

Megan: You get 50 percent of free.

Nick: So, focusmate.com. That’s what I’ve got, Larry.

Larry: All right. Well, thank you, Nick. Now let’s get back to the show. Today, we have found nine practices to create more mental focus. In the distraction economy, leaders have to make their own focus. You can do that by calendaring your focus time, isolating yourself, going offline, turning down the room temperature, getting comfortable, putting on some music, noticing the effect of food on your concentration, setting mini-goals, and using a timer to take frequent breaks. Guys, any final thoughts for our listeners today?

Megan: This is just a reminder that focus isn’t just going to happen. You’re not waiting for the sea to part and to have a really great day that results in focus. You can set the stage for optimal focus with some really simple practices. It’s not complicated. It’s really quite simple. If you’re intentional about it, you can set the stage for not only a productive day but productive focused work.

Michael: I would say that focus, and this kind of speaks to the why… This is a superpower in the age of distraction. People who can focus are going to advance in their careers faster. Their businesses are going to scale faster. Everything gets better when you can focus. Those who have it are going to prosper, and those who don’t have it won’t. I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to be proactive, to be almost violent in terms of trying to grab this and making sure we have it, because we’re up against a lot of big powers that have as their objective our distraction.

Larry: Michael and Megan, thank you for sharing these insights today.

Megan: Thanks, Larry.

Michael: Thank you, Larry. And thanks for joining us on Lead to Win. Join us next time when we’ll tell you the very most important hire any leader can make, and it’s probably not what you think. Until then, lead to win.