Book a Free 15-minute Consultation

10 Ways to Increase Focus Amidst Distractions

attention focus screen time May 30, 2024

Parents often find it difficult to stay focused while balancing the competing demands of work and family. This is especially true for those dealing with attention deficits or anyone aiming to boost productivity in a distraction-filled setting. 

Story of Michael: The Sales Manager

Imagine Michael, a seasoned sales manager, who on a crucial Wednesday, found himself battling distractions while preparing for an important sales presentation. Amidst his preparations, his daughter Sophia bursts into his home office, distressed over her failed science project. Michael's focus, critical for his professional success, now had to navigate the emotional turmoil of his daughter's academic crisis. He knew that these were the moments that he would honor his commitment to not let his children feel alone when they faced challenges.

This scenario exemplifies a common struggle: balancing demanding professional tasks with personal life interruptions. How can one manage such distractions without sacrificing productivity or personal responsibilities?

  1. Decreasing Stress to Increase Attention

High stress levels can severely hamper concentration. For Michael, taking a moment to engage in deep breathing and counting his breaths could reset his emotional state and gain clarity that he could manage both his daughter’s crisis and finishing his presentation. 

  1. Increasing Interest in Tasks

Interest naturally enhances focus. Michael could enhance his interest in preparing his presentation by creating a dramatic story about the disruption but linking it to his sales pitch. Michael decides to use the story of interruption to underline the exceptional customer support his company offers. 

  1. Prioritizing Effectively

Effective prioritization is key to managing attention. Michael realized that his daughter’s help was urgent and he could address it and still have time to complete his work which was important. He knew he had a tendency to over prepare due to his anxiety. He reminded himself he was an expert in the topic of his presentation. 

  1. Saying No to Unreasonable Demands

He learned that his perfectionism was an unreasonable task master. He reminded himself that he had given this presentation in the past and his freewheeling comments that went off script tended to be the biggest crowd pleasers. 

  1. Setting Intentions

Michael shifted his focus to making his presentation as enjoyable as it was important. “Heck” he said to himself, “I could make this presentation hilarious by adding comedy to the story as part of my presentation” he laughed, almost daring himself to do it. He thought it would get a good laugh. 

  1. Creating a Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement that reflects one’s values and long-term objectives can act as a guiding beacon, keeping one focused amidst distractions. This reminded Michael of his mission statement to create strong family bonds and that he was capable of handling his professional commitments even with an unexpected interruption. 

  1. Finding Your Productive Sweet Spot

Michael realized his sweet spot was connection to others. He was close enough to his colleagues that his fears of being criticized were distorted. He trusted they would understand and appreciate his anecdote about the family disruption. 

  1. Increasing Time in Nature

Regular exposure to natural settings can boost cognitive functions, including focus. Michael planned to take a quick walk in the park before his presentation to increase his focus. 

  1. Creating a Not-To-Do List

Michael quickly assessed that asking fearful “what if’s?” was not going to be helpful. He went farther and asked himself “What’s the best possible outcome of this interruption?” He realized that he could be too rigid and could be more playful in his approach and it was practice for the inevitable unexpected question he would get following his talks. 

  1. Regulating Emotions

Intense emotions, like the frustration Michael feels due to his daughter’s interruption, can consume attention. He was able to manage his mood by making meaning out of it, his family was his first priority. He also was able to label his fearful thoughts as “symptoms of my anxiety” which allowed him to challenge the anxiety. 

Mission Accomplished

During his presentation, Michael transitions into discussing the adaptability of his company's products. He shares a personal anecdote: "Just this morning, as I was preparing for today's presentation, my daughter faced a crisis with her science project. It reminded me how important it is to adapt quickly to unexpected challenges, just as our products are designed to do. Whether it's a last-minute change in the market or a client's needs, like pivoting from a failed experiment to a successful one, our solutions are crafted to handle such transitions seamlessly."

The ten tools for staying focused offered him strategies to stay focused on his high stakes presentation while attending to his daughter’s needs. 

For professionals like Michael, integrating these methods into daily routines can lead to substantial improvements in productivity and personal satisfaction, ensuring that both professional targets and family responsibilities are handled with finesse. Remember, the key to better attention isn’t just about working harder but working smarter and managing the emotional and environmental aspects of our daily lives.

Check out to learn about our online course Screen Fiends: How To Help Your Child Manage Screen time with the six super skills for executive functioning.