How to Stay Focused in a Distracted World: 10 Tips for Success

Apr 26, 2024

Stay Focused, Stay Ahead

Listen up, folks — let’s focus for a minute…

In this world of endless distractions, staying on task is often a battle, right?!

Social media’s ceaseless siren call, notifications pummeling you left and right, and our old pal procrastination popping up just when we don’t need it, make concentrating on anything an absolute nightmare.

But here’s the real deal: Your ability to focus can be upgraded MASSIVELY with the right understanding and a few tried and tested strategies.

The Procrastination Problem

The nemesis of focus is procrastination.

But procrastination has been given a big boost lately by some very influential people suggesting it’s a GOOD thing.

But that’s a mixed message because the devil’s in the detail.

In the last decade or so, we’ve all been sold the line that procrastination is no big deal – that it’s just a harmless little quirk.

Some even tout it as a productivity hack, suggesting that dawdling can help you get more done.


I don’t agree — and I’m not the only one.

Psychologists aren’t buying what the procrastination apologists are selling either.

Any behavioral psychologist worth their salary will tell you that pausing to ponder solutions or prioritize tasks is one thing, but genuine procrastination – the complete absence of progress – is self-sabotaging behavior.

Championing the ‘art’ of procrastinating means deluding ourselves (and others) into thinking we’re being productive when we’re really just letting things pile up.

Before we go any further, let’s define what we mean by the term.

The Definition

Here’s a Cambridge Dictionary definition:


It doesn’t matter if you rationalize it as a “technique” or convince yourself you thrive under pressure, simply putting things off isn’t doing you any favors.

So let’s ditch the excuses and be honest with ourselves:

Procrastination might feel harmless in the moment, but it’s a counterproductive habit that holds us back from making progress.

But it’s a sense of PROGRESS that helps us humans thrive and experience ongoing joy and fufilment.

So, if you’re a serial procrastinator who’s convinced themselves that they ARE focused and ARE a progress-making machine, then it’s time to get real, break the cycle and start taking proper action.

Powering Up Your Productivity

Focus is like a muscle, and with some consistent training, you can bulk up that bicep and become an unstoppable productivity machine.

Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking:

“But Rick, I’ve tried every trick in the book! To-do lists, deleting apps, even that dumb Pomodoro thing.”

And sure, those strategies can help a little.

But they don’t tackle the root cause of the problem.

There are actually FOUR possible root causes of your inability to focus as well as you want to (which is, I guess, the reason you’re reading this post, right):

And this last one, mindpower, is the foundation for everything.


Because if your mind is generally weak and scattered most of the day, it can’t settle down and focus deeply for any significant length of time when you really need it to.

And yes, for most of us our minds ARE scattered throughout the day, due, in the main, to the pervasiveness of modern technologies and the fact that we are addicted to them.

Let’s not be under any illusion: The modern world is being engineered to DESTROY your attention span and get you hooked on certain technologies and behaviors.

And no, that’s not any kind of conspiracy theory; it’s just a FACT.

The constant skimming and scrolling on devices has encouraged not only the scattering of our minds; it’s contributed to something which a lot of productivity aficionados celebrate and promote: the rise of multitasking.

Which ain’t a good thing.

The Myth of Multitasking

Often found lurking alongside the idea that procrastination is a positive is the belief that multi-tasking is not just effective, but a badge of honor or some kind of superpower.

It’s not — and it’s not even possible to multitask either.

All that happens is the mind flits incredibly quickly between all the assigned tasks, which makes it feel like it’s doing them all at the same time.

To draw an analogy, image a neon light.

Neons give pulses of light at double the mains frequency, which is roughly 100 Hz or 120 Hz depending on if you have 50 Hz or 60 Hz mains. 

Because it’s too fast for human eyes to see, it appears that the light is one continuous light.

It’s the same for multitasking.

Because we cannot perceive how quickly our mind is moving as it does all the different things we demand it to do, we think it’s doing them all at the same time.

It’s not.

Over time, it wears the mind down and weakens it, which eventually causes stress and burnout.

10 Strategies to Supercharge Focus & Concentration

Most people have tried a few strategies to help them concentrate.

A quiet space and lots of coffee and probably the most popular.

Both of those might be a good start, but if you REALLY want to create a massive and meaningful shift in your levels of focus and concentration, you don’t only need superior strategies, you need to use them in combination. 

Here are ten to consider:

Off we go:

1. Embrace the Power of Monotasking

As I’ve said, multitasking is seen as some kind of superior skill and something that supercharges productivity.

The only issue is, it doesn’t!

It gradually weakens the mind and contributes to mental health issues further down the line.

My advice: Give your undivided attention to one task at a time, instead of fracturing your focus by trying to spin several plates together.

Your brain will thank you for it — and your boss might, too, as the quality of your output is likely to be higher.

2. Connect with Nature

Spending time in nature has been proven to improve focus, concentration, the whole nine yards.

So, take a break when you can, go for a walk outside, and let your brain hit the reset button.

3. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

I know, I know – “meditation” makes some folks roll their eyes, and if you’ve been reading GBK for some time, you’ll know how often we talk about it.

But there’s a good reason for it!

Powering up your mind and training it to not only stay still but also be non-judgmental and aware of when you are becoming distracted can be a game-changer for locking onto tasks without succumbing to intrusive thoughts.

4. Prioritize Self-Care

As I’ve mentioned already, to REALLY improve the depth and duration of your focus over time you need to create a profile of symbiotic strategies, strategies that work together to contribute to a superior mindset and a more powerful mind.

Don’t forget that your ability to focus is related to your overall wellness.

If you don’t believe me, just try sleeping for only two hours then tackle that mammoth project you’ve been keeping on ice. . .

The bottom line: Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and nourish yourself with nutritious foods and those brain-fueling healthy fats.

5. Take Scheduled Breaks

Working nonstop leads to mental fatigue and tanked focus.

Build in short breaks at suitable intervals using the Pomodoro method or similar techniques.

6. Do the Hardest Tasks First

Tackle your biggest, most demanding tasks when you have the most focus and energy — and that’s probably at the start of your day or in the morning.

Remembering to start the day the right way will help you maximize your energy potential.

7. Optimize Your Environment

Customize your workspace by clearing clutter, tweaking lighting, and finding the right noise levels to improve your focus.

8. Minimize Distractions

Identify and eliminate sources of distraction like social media, email notifications, etc.

Use website blockers if needed to stay laser-focused.

9. Avoid using your phone too much in general

It weakens your mind as the constant scrolling and stimulation overload it, destroy its ability to concentrate and cause a range of other issues that ultimately undermine the stability and power of your mind.

10. Use Focus-Enhancing Tools

If you’re struggling to concentrate because of ambient noise despite your best efforts to design your environment, try white noise apps or noise-canceling headphones.

Some people suggest listening to music designed to increase focus and concentration — but I don’t.

It’s still ultimately a distraction for your mind.

One of the major dangers with relying on certain types of music is how your mind reacts when it’s not there, when you simply don’t have access to the music you want.

What happens to your focus then?

By repeatedly programming your mind to associate deeper levels of focus with listening to certain music, you’re setting yourself up for big potential problems.

That’s part of the reason I ban students from listening to music in class.

I don’t know of any exam system in the world where students are allowed to listen to music while taking their final exams.

I would argue that if you meditate regularly and follow the other suggestions in this list, the level of focus you will achieve without the music is higher than you would with it.

It’s up to you to make up your own mind about on which side of the fence you fall in that argument.

Have a look at it here.

Put It it the Test

At the end of the day, becoming a laser-focused productivity machine isn’t about following some lame listicle to the letter.

It’s about getting real with yourself, experimenting with different strategies, and sticking with what works for you.

In the words of Brian Tracey:

Don’t be one of them!


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