Keeping Focused: Four Ways to Fight Distractions

August 16, 2012 by Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership

In today’s hyper-frantic world of instant news and smartphones, plus a million other interruptions, how often do you or your team members get distracted? According to a recent study by, a social email software company, it may be a lot more than you think. More than half of those surveyed in businesses of all sizes across the U.S. said the longest time they can usually work without being distracted is 15 minutes, and they waste up to 60 minutes per day because of these interruptions.

And they are not alone. Just ask Dave. When he first started his company, he felt like he worked incredibly hard each day but arrived home every night exhausted and with little accomplished. So Dave decided to do something about it by telling his day what to do instead of wondering where it went. Today, he remains laser-focused and a lot more energized and relaxed, not to mention he’s become a major national brand.

So is it possible for you to be super-focused like Dave? Actually, it is. Here are a few tips how.

Set Daily Goals

Write down your goals for each day and prioritize them. Keep the list close at hand, so if you feel yourself heading toward the land of YouTube, you can grab that list to remind yourself what has to be accomplished before you walk out the door.

Limit Meetings

We’ve all been to them—those meetings that seem to last forever and never accomplish a thing. But these get-togethers don’t have to be so long. Save time by setting a time limit, insisting on an agenda, and sticking to it. If you run past the clock, simply stand up. If no one gets it, head out the door. Rude? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely.

Live by the Calendar

Meetings are not the only tasks that can be booked on your calendar. Schedule “office time” for yourself and protect it just as you would an important meeting with an executive. It’s a great way to keep your concentration and momentum going without being interrupted.

Step Away From the Smartphone

Whether it’s the romance of that slight ping when you get an email, instant baseball scores or that Twitter feed, nothing, and we mean nothing, has more power to distract than your smartphone. So while at work, turn it off, make your assistant hold it, or throw it in the ditch. Do whatever it takes to stay away from the phone.

Dave’s friend Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it ever time.” And it’s true. So keep your eyes on the prize and remain super-focused, and you’ll end up a winner every time.

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Used with permission from To learn more about business, team building and leadership, download Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership podcasts, which include lessons from Dave plus interviews with key business leaders from across the nation.

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