The Art of Focus in a Fast Paced, Relentlessly Distracting World

focusEven before the internet plagued nine to fivers with around the clock access to social media, the art of focusing was not a given. Yes, some executives are gifted with more concentration capacity than others, but ultimately all humans are afflicted with a tendency to lose focus. Five minutes. Ten minutes. One hour. An entire day. Loss of focus is a categorical productivity killer.

Which poses the question, how does a magnate stay focussed in a world that’s unapologetically fast paced, and hampered with unyielding distractions? If you’re an executive search professional who’s also fighting a daily battle with focus, here’s a handful of ways to keep your eyes on the prize.

Remind yourself why you’re present
It may be cliché and outdated, but the positive messages highlighted in ‘The FISH! Philosophy’ video still ring true today. When it comes to focussing at work, the messages of ‘Be There’ and ‘Choose Your Attitude’ are hugely powerful. In a self-motivational context you can use them to remind yourself why you’re present, and use your answers to stay motivated, and focussed.

Be ergonomic
Comfort is a key factor of maximising productivity. For this reason, choosing an ergonomic chair and desk combo should be a top priority for any head-hunter. Even seated jobs can become physically strenuous, with issues like back and neck pain drastically hindering productivity, and triggering loss of focus.

Make lists
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, and for good reason. Making lists gives you tangible focus, and holds you accountable for what you do, and don’t get done.

Be tech smart
Ask any professional, and they’ll likely testify that when it comes to distractions, procrastination and loss of focus, the internet is an absolute fiend. Stay tuned and on-task by creating shortcuts for routinely used programs, and actively blocking websites that you know are distracting.

The 52:17 rule
Pioneered by social scientists at Hiroshima University, the 52:17 rule asserts that focusing intently on the job at hand for 52 consecutive minutes, then abandoning desks for 1,020 seconds is the optimal way to maximise overall productivity.

Stay hydrated
From a health perspective, dehydration can be a productivity killer. Keep your brain alert and energised by always having a glass of water at arm’s reach. The same goes for snacks. While lunch should be taken away from the desk, keeping edibles close by is an effective way to stay nourished, without having to stray to the kitchen.

Check emails intermittently

In the same way that social media and other online platforms pose as constant distractions, email can also be an insufferable time waster. Of course, you need to regularly check your correspondence. However rather than automatically scope out your inbox 20 times a day, time management experts suggest implementing a savvy email strategy.

Every day, professionals face a constant influx of distractions that stop momentum in its tracks. While it’s impossible to shut out every interruption that’s thrown at you, these techniques will help you stay focussed, regardless of how many televised Olympic events you want to catch! 


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