14 August 2018

Lawrence Jones MBE taking time out to focus in Verbier. When you have so many plates spinning at any one time, it’s all too easy to lose focus and start to feel burnt out. There are only so many things you can juggle before one inevitably drops. So how do you maintain your focus and keep the important plates spinning?

For a start, it’s not easy! Particularly as a business leader, you’re continually presented with new issues, tasks or things that need your attention. Not to mention the ever-growing number of people who pop their head around the door asking if you’ve got a minute!

Of course, I’d never want to turn anyone away of they need a hand, so I’ve put in place a few techniques to ensure that I never lose my train of thought, and can make the most of those moments of focussed concentration.

1. Set goals

Set your intention. What do you want to achieve in a year? In a month? Today? Set your to-do list and prioritise it, so that you know exactly what you need to achieve and where you’re up to. It might sound simple but I map out each area of my day, splitting the task list into the urgent unavoidable jobs and the fun jobs that I tend to get distracted with! Once I’ve achieved the important tasks, I can move on to the ones I enjoy more.

2. Change your state

Many of the world’s greatest motivators talk about the impact that our physical state has on our mental state. When you’re feeling distracted or you’re struggling to focus on what you need to do, change your physiological state. This can be as simple as holding your head high and pushing your shoulders back. You instantly feel stronger, more confident and ready to crack on.

3. Exercise

If changing your state doesn’t work, go for a run! Do some exercise – whether that’s cardio, weights or yoga – to get the endorphins flowing and your heart beating. It’s amazing how much more energy you have after a quick work out, and how much clearer your head is. For me, there is nothing more effective at clearing a foggy mind than a quick trip to the gym or squash court.

4. Change of scenery

Ironically, locking yourself away to focus can be the most counter-intuitive way to avoid distractions. Nothing good can come from staring at the same four walls for hours on end, other than finding new ways to procrastinate. Go for a walk, grab your laptop and head to somewhere new.

5. Close the door!

Finally, on those days when you really need to crack on, close the door. I’ve been known to put on my headphones and really knuckle down on my own in the corner of my office. On those occasions, there’s no stopping me, I’m in the zone until the job’s done.

What are your tips for finding focus?

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