5 ways to improve focus and productivity

When you are preparing to start a new improvement project, or perhaps look for a new job, promotion or grow your business there are lots of things that you need to prepare in advance. You need to give attention to those things will yield success and this requires focus. By following the 5 ways to improve focus and productivity you’ll be ready make real ‘dent’ in your to do list.

Focus and Productivity

The techniques below are aimed at helping you get a laser like focus on your key objectives. Think about the number of times you’ve had a goal in mind but not achieved it? I would suggest that a primary reason for failure has been your lack of focus.

You just did not give yourself the tools required for success! By following these tips you will be in a far better position to make tangible and sustainable change.

Why do I need to focus?

  • Right first time.  Giving attention to what needs to be done will help to get tasks done the first-time round. Re-work can be so time consuming. With singular focus you can get things done right! Every completed task is one step closer towards your goal.
  • Doing the right things at the right time. Doing things right first time is half the formula to doing things at the right time. If you are tired, having a bad day or just can’t seem to get the creative juices flowing then – it’s better to wait. The net effect is avoiding re-work and maximising your most precious asset – your time.
  • Reduce stress. By following the 5 ways to improve focus and productivity you will feel less stressed, be able to ‘see’ your progress and feel more confident in achieving your end goal(s).

1. Multitasking – A concealed hazard

According to James Clear multitasking gives an illusion of being more effective. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. James argues that whilst it’s possible to do two things at the same time it’s actually impossible to concentrate on two tasks at once. The reality is that multitasking is not your friend!
It’s better to start and finish one task, than start many and not complete any to a satisfactory standard.

2. Too many Interruptions

The graphic below shows the realities of interruptions. It has been proven to have significant impact in term of costs and time.

Too many Interruptions

If you want to get serious about ‘focus’ take genuine steps to avoid interruptions. Try to;

  • find a quiet space for doing your task/work
  • choose the right time of the day i.e. do not expect to make much progress if you need to do a school run!  
  • Make sure you have got the right tools before you start e.g. pen, paper, PC etc

3. Break Bad Habits

Break bad habits

As obvious as it sounds you must break existing bad habits. Some you might be aware of, others not. This is the time for personal reflection and ‘analysis’ of current ways of working.

Example of bad habits include;

  • paralysis by over analysis i.e. going into unnecessary levels of detail. Information overload can be overwhelming and sap motivation levels
  • not having clear SMART goals. Having one huge to-do list is not going to help you to focus
  • not being organised. Without a structured routine going into ‘doing’ mode makes getting in the productivity zone that much harder.

4. Remove distractions

Before you start ‘doing’ things try to remove distractions. Your goal is to start a task and complete it uninterrupted. A notification ping from your smartphone will certainly disturb your chain of thought. It can take up to 25 minutes to get back to your task after being distracted. Examples of distractions include; phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media notifications. All distractions threaten to derail your focus.

5. Energy management

It can be too easy to underestimate the effects of low energy levels. If you are about to start your most important task of the day, consider how you are currently feeling. Are you tired, feel hungry or struggling to concentrate? If so, stop and take steps to increase your energy levels. You will be more productive when you have the ‘energy’ to complete your tasks. Another key point is to ensure you stay hydrated.

6. Time management

Poor time management can have a huge impact on your focus and productivity. Perhaps the biggest culprit is poor email / inbox control. This can also be a significant distraction. It is a great idea to start your day planning, and most importantly prioritising key tasks. Once you know what the most important task is you can schedule all other activities around it.


There are a huge number of benefits on your productivity just by maximising your ‘focus’. It might, at first, seem an obvious and easy thing to do. Practically speaking – it isn’t. Only when you apply a degree of attention will you see the benefits. Remember that a good habit takes 21 days to form, so it will take this long before applying focus becomes natural part of your daily routine.

Let’s Start a Conversation

Got a question, thoughts or keen to want to know more? Get in touch, we look forward to hearing from you? Prefer to call – phone: 01709 680188 or email: info@exceedexcellence.local

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About Exceed Excellence

Exceed Excellence are process experts that get things done. We know you are busy and that your time and improvement resources are finite. That is why we take a very pragmatic and practical approach to everything that we do. Working with you, we ensure that you achieve sustainable change and realise required benefits.

With hands-on multi-sector experience, our expertise lies in consultancy, Lean Six Sigma, coaching, facilitating process improvement projects and providing Lean training and Operational Excellence masterclasses.

Exceed Excellence

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