Entrepreneurs, like most people, can be easily distracted. Whether it’s new ideas popping into their heads or dealing with the demands of a business, distractions abound for entrepreneurs and can easily steal away their focus.
However, in many situations, you’ll need to really buckle down if you’re trying to resolve a problem. Developing a method for maintaining concentration when you most need it is crucial to the success of your business and your own mental health.
To help, we asked 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council what they usually do to achieve uninterrupted focus. Below, they share some of their secrets, as well as valuable advice on how other entrepreneurs could incorporate these behaviors into their schedules and achieve better focus.
1. Create an Intentional Space
I create an intentional space for focus by blocking time in my calendar and communicating with both my team and my family to eliminate interruptions. Next, I remove my own distractions. I close email and put my phone on airplane mode so my focus isn’t pulled away by notifications. Last, I mentally focus with 10 minutes of meditation to clear distracting thoughts.
2. Work When You’re Most Productive
When I am doing anything that needs all my focus, I try working during my productive hours. If you too want to achieve uninterrupted focus, try working in the time that you’re the most productive. Some people like working in the morning, while some like working during late nights. Your productive hours may be at any time of the day, so figure out when it is and make the most out of it.
3. Create a Habit
Achieving uninterrupted focus is all about creating a habit that helps you achieve zen. It’s not something that you can suddenly achieve. There are a few key things that you can do to create that habit. First, switch your mobile device off or put it on “do not disturb.” Clear your schedule in advance so that there is no external disturbance during the time. Finally, stop multitasking at that moment.
4. Wake Up Very Early in the Morning
I wake up super early in the morning. Sounds simple, but it works! I’ve found that waking up around 3-4 a.m. allows me to be way more productive than starting the day at 8 a.m. The couple of extra hours I get in the morning allow me to clear the most important tasks of the day and prepare for the rest of the day.
5. Use the Pomodoro Technique
Probably the best strategy has been the Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro is the method of setting a timer for a focused period of time (about 25 minutes), completely immersing yourself in that work and then taking a five-minute break. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Try to achieve four pomodoros in a day and build from there. You will be amazed at how much you can get done through focus (no emails, notifications or distractions).
6. Make Appointments for Tasks
Make appointments for tasks and cut every line of communication and every source of interruption, excluding emergencies. This includes properly preparing this time slot. Inform anyone you need to, and pre-pay dues where necessary.
7. Use a Browser-Blocking App
The best way to stay focused is to download an app that blocks you from browsing the Internet aimlessly. There are many apps that you can choose from. Some are free, and some are paid. The point is that if you journal and really see how much time you waste on social media and other platforms that aren’t necessarily producing revenue, then these website blockers can really make a difference in productivity.
8. Use the Kaizen Technique
Kaizen is a Japanese technique used to develop continuous improvement. It simply states that you should strive to progress every single day, and the same principle can be applied to productivity. So set a timer for 20 minutes and work until it goes off, and then increase the time limit every day. Make sure to take breaks at intervals, as this will intensify your concentration when you restart.
9. Do One Thing at a Time
Do you have a bunch of tasks to complete today? Write the three most important ones and get to the first one immediately. Don’t do anything else, no matter how flimsy it is. Once you’re done with the first task, get to the next, and then just take the pain till you’re done. Then you can have your free time. Toughness is developed.
10. Rest or Play Focus-Boosting Games
There are certain games that can help you increase your focus and boost your concentration. Try playing them whenever you’re free. Good sleep is another important factor that can help increase focus. A tired mind is a distracted mind. So make sure you give your mind an adequate amount of rest for it to be active and alert at all times.
11. Listen to Music
When I need to focus, I like to put on noise-canceling headphones and listen to a relaxing jazz playlist, whether on Spotify or YouTube. Music has shown to improve cognitive abilities, and when I have it playing, it’s a lot easier for me to focus on and finish my tasks. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.