Sometimes stress can be a big distraction and sometimes the internet can be a distraction. In fact, when you’re stressed out, almost anything remotely interesting can appear irresistible. It is important to find a way to get back on track so that you can achieve your goals.

We asked members of the Young Entrepreneurs Council for their best mental hacks to get back on track to the task at hand. Their answers varied, but consider trying a few of them the next time you find yourself stressed out or losing focus.

Q. It’s easy for stress or a myriad of distractions to waylay you from reaching your main goals of the day or week. What is one mental hack that works best to getting you on the right path forward? Why does it work?

1. Make Realistic Daily Goals

My productivity hack is simple and straightforward: one task at a time. As a goal-oriented person, I have big ambitions and I believe I can achieve them as long as I work for it every day. I also tackle the difficult tasks at the start of the day, so that the bulk of my energy is focused on those. It works for my mindset, plus I look forward to the tiny rewards I give myself for getting stuff done. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

2. Work a Little Less

When there are 100 different tasks to complete, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To stay focused, remember that there are just a few key activities you’ll need to do that will have an outsized impact on your company. Don’t think about your to-do list as a strict 100 items you need to cover. Instead, find the five to 10 things that will drive the most meaningful results for your business, and then execute. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

3. Take More Breaks

About every two hours or so get up and take a 10-minute break. Grab a coffee, take a walk or chat with a coworker. Taking a break allows your mind to take a mental break as well. When you get back to work, your mind will be clearer and you will be able to get back to crossing off your to-do list. I find this especially necessary after the bigger tasks for the day, it allows me to take a step back and reward myself for the hard work. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

4. Try a Five-Minute Meditation

I used to stress out frequently and noticed the toll it was taking on my productivity. Now, whenever I feel that coming on, I stop and do a five-minute meditation. There are a number of great apps that can help lead your meditation. It’s so quick, but I come out of it calm and ready to take on the day. – Adrien Schmidt,

5. Time Block Your Schedule

Distractions are so easy to come by nowadays. With cell phones and social media, it’s nearly impossible to not be distracted. I had to put a time-block in my day where for those pre-designated hours, I have my phone off, no emails and no one can talk to me, unless it’s an emergency. That time is meant for me to focus on the task that matters most — and it works. – Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution

6. Break Work Down into Actionable Steps

I plan my workday as much as possible prior to tackling the workload. I list three to five main must-dos to accomplish for the day, and other pieces of busy work that can wait or be passed onto someone else through delegation. Touching base at the beginning of the day to set my plan before I fall down a black hole of clicking refresh on my email or social media is crucial to a productive workday. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

7. Create Lists

A common trait of entrepreneurs is trying to do too much and getting caught up in distractions. I like to clear my head by focusing on what’s important by creating a list. I will break the items into small tasks that I can quickly check off for the satisfaction of a small win. Keeping the list up to date every day has helped me have a piece of mind that I am heading in the right direction. – Mikey Moran, Private Label Extensions

8. Use a Time Management System

It’s so easy to get distracted when you’re working online which is why I installed a time management app on my computer. I am currently using Time Doctor to manage my time and keep me focused on my goals. It will notice when you’re on social media sites or haven’t moved your mouse in a while and ask you if you’re still working on your task. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Get a Paper Planner

The best way to keep moving towards my goals is to have a paper planner. I use the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt. There are many different planners in the market, and they all work. Be prepared to try a few different planners until you find the one that works for you. I recommend a planner that has you set the primary goals for each day, and then has a section to review your progress. – Brian Greenberg, Life Insurance Quotes

10. Use Sticky Notes

It can be easy to forget your goals if you don’t actively push yourself to remember them every day. I like to put sticky notes in highly visible locations to help me remember. For example, I have a sticky note by my coffee maker, on my laptop and on my desk. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

11. Find Accountability Partners

Because I’m self-employed, it can be easy to say, “I’ll just work on this later.” This is one con of being your own boss, and this is partly why I meet daily with my core team. We discuss our priorities for the day, week and quarter. This helps us stay on task, but it also creates accountability for me. I know it’s important for me to complete my goals, because my team is counting on me to do so. – Shawn Rubel, Vecteezy

12. Use Pomodoro and Great Music

Being an entrepreneur usually means that you get to listen to music at work, which we usually take for granted, but can be very powerful. I usually have many playlists ready, one after the other, in case one doesn’t work to focus on my work that day. One day, jazz will help me focus, but another day a good rock playlist will. Have enough variety to always get to the state you want. – Brian Condenanza, Alchemy Coin

13. Stick To a Daily Routine

I set out with the same intention every day to accomplish my goals and routine in the morning. I know once I’ve completed this routine, the rest is easy. By sticking to a routine, you’re setting yourself up for success and controlling what you can control. – Zachary Burkes, Predictable Profits

14. Take a Nap

I like to take a nap before important meetings. It helps put me in the right frame of mind and improves my concentration. Even Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin naps before competing, and is super successful in almost all of her races, so there must be something to it! – Shu Saito, Fact Retriever

15. Stay Focused

You need to stay focused on the tasks at hand. There are a lot of distractions, and sometimes we can’t help but click on sites we enjoy browsing. If you have trouble doing that, I suggest downloading the StayFocusd browser extension that lets you block websites during work hours. Use a task management software to easily see the tasks lined up for the day. This helps you stay on track! – Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck


  • Scott Gerber

    Founder and CEO

    Young Entrepreneur Council

    Scott Gerber is the founder of YEC, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. Learn more at