12 Foolproof Habits for Staying Focused

12 foolproof ways to stay focused
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Written by: Greg Rollett | March 08

What is the one habit or routine you have created that allows you to get and stay focused?

We asked this question to members of the Young Entrepreneur Council to hear how they stay focused while growing their companies.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique is a timer-based system for maintaining focus. Decide what you want to achieve, set a timer for 25 minutes, and work until the bell rings. Take a break for five minutes. Repeat until your task is complete. Because Pomodoro sets boundaries on what I’m supposed to be doing, it’s easier to stay focused, and I’m far less likely to become distracted. – Vik PatelFuture Hosting

2. Treat Everything With the Agile Methodology

In our development workflow, we use Agile and track tasks using Agile-based software. I’ve found that following through with this methodology in my daily routine has helped immensely. I create lists of small tasks with separate categories and then focus on completing one task at a time. Once I’ve completed a list of tasks from a specific category, I close it and move on. – Blair ThomasEMerchantBroker

3. Eliminate Multitasking

It’s been proven that multitasking involves rapidly switching your attention between tasks, and detracting from the work quality of them all. So instead of multitasking, I prioritize. I order my tasks by importance, and then put all my undivided attention into the most vital projects first. – Elle KaplanLexION Capital

4. Make a To-Do List the Night Before

When you take a couple of minutes to write down your to-do list the night before, you can hit the ground running the following morning. For me, the morning is easily my most productive time of the day. It’s a high-caffeinated time that allows me to not waste any super-charged minutes figuring out what to do next. When you don’t take control, you go through your day passively wasting precious time. – Anthony PezzottiKnowzo.com

5. Set Clear Intentions

Use a morning meditation or mindful breathing exercise to clearly set your intention for the day before the noise of email or team chat dominates your thinking. This helps you stay focused on work when it’s time to do so and lets you renew and refuel when it’s time to unplug, keeping you out of the gray zone of living in-between work and rejuvenation. – Joe StolteRallysong

6. Bring Lunch to the Office

Ever since I started bringing my lunch to the office, my daily productivity and focus has improved. Not only is it healthier, but it also eliminates so much wasted time. Picking a place, finding parking and unintentional extended lunch breaks can really suck up prime time from your day. I get in early, get my daily work done quicker and leave at a normal hour. – Jonathan LongMarket Domination Media

7. Make Time for Fitness

I dedicate the early hours of my morning to working out, so that even if the day runs away from me, I’ve completed my fitness routine. Carving out that time for myself each morning keeps me focused and leads to a more productive workday.  – Stephen GillTiller

8. Exercise Right After Work

Getting into the office early allows me to focus on the necessary before the office day begins, but more importantly, it allows me time to hit the gym after work to decompress and release any built up stress before heading home to my family. I’ve found this routine to be the perfect combination for focus and success in the workplace and happiness in the homefront. – Wesley Mathews, High Level Marketing

9. Remove Distractions

Because I work virtually or from the road, it can be easy to get bombarded with distractions that take away from work that needs to get done. I minimize any use of electronics around me and set certain hours to check in with my social media sites. I also set a timer for specific chunks of time to focus on work. When the timer goes off, I reset it for break time and then again for work time. – Angela RuthDue.com

10. Keep a Sharp Schedule

Schedules seem like they restrict you, but they really do set you free. My mind is so much less prone to being distracted when I’m working on schedule, because I’ve established “this is working time” through constant discipline (that’s important, too). An added benefit is that your scheduled time off is completely free of guilt, which is hard to accomplish if you’re a workaholic. – Adam SteeleThe Magistrate

11. Create Structure

Over the last year I began slipping into what I called the “lack of routine.” This meant that I was essentially always working but not always getting a lot done. I decided to add structure to my days by limiting the number of hours I work and only doing certain tasks such as answering email at set times of day. I now get twice as much work done in nearly half as much time at the office. – James SimpsonGoldFire Studios

12. Focus on the Task at Hand

When you are thinking about the million other things you need to do, it is nearly impossible to get the task at hand accomplished. I have made a habit of not trying to multitask. I make a cohesive list of the things I need to do at the beginning of the day, and then knock them out, one by one. – Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

Love these productivity tips? Check out this list of 12 things 20-something entrepreneurs literally don’t have time for.


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Greg Rollett

Greg is the CEO of Ambitious.com and writes most of his posts while eating burritos for lunch or drinking Mexican beers or island rum outside with his laptop and a pair of Beats headphones over his ears, listening to good ol 2000's hip-hop like Master P or Jay-Z (before Tidal). Follow his ambitious antics on Twitter, @gregrollett

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