As we all know, the most successful CEOs have mastered the art of focusing on one thing until completion before they move onto the next task.
They say your ability to focus on a task until it is complete is one of the greatest indicators of your future success.
However, we currently live in a world full of distractions and notifications that are constantly vying for our attention, and learning to become a master of your brain is no easy task.
With that being said, here are 5 specific strategies that CEOs incorporate into their work life to stay focused and produce high-quality results:
1. Block out distractions
According to Walter Isaacson, best-selling author of the Steve Jobs biography, Steve Jobs, only focused on 4-5 things and blocked out everything else.
“People would come to him with all sorts of problems – legal problems, personnel problems, whatever. And if he didn’t want to deal with it, he would not focus on it. He’d give you sort of a blank stare. He would not answer, he wouldn’t answer email…
He would pick four or five things that were really important for him to focus on and then just filter out – almost brutally – filter out the rest,” Isaacson says.
2. Make a daily or weekly work plan
In short, embrace routine. Start with time-blocking your day, and then your week. But what is time-blocking? It is a time management method where you divide your time into blocks.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and Square, organizes his week by scheduling a specific time to address a specific task.
An example of this is when Dorsey uses an entire day to focus on his management, and then the next day about product. The following day is time for marketing and communication and growth, etc.
3. Develop a stress management system
Unfortunately stress is unavoidable, but we can create systems to decrease its influence over our capacity to work.
CEOs don’t just wake up and immediately go to work, most of them do common activities such as walking, running, cycling and the like to relieve stress.
They say they do this for that “endorphin rush” which Richard Branson claims gives him at least four additional hours of productive time every day.
4. Get Some Sleep
We’ve all heard the saying that goes “Sleepless nights and restless days is the way to success,” sure, success comes from hard work and all the hustle and bustle, but this belief was called out by Ariana Huffington when she fainted from sleep deprivation and exhaustion in her office, hitting her head on her desk and breaking her cheekbone.
For Huffington, lack of sleep highly affects her productivity and efficiency. Her way of getting things done is actually taking some time off work and getting some quality sleep.
“After years of burning the candle on both ends, my eyes have been opened to the value of getting some serious shut-eye,” Huffington tells Slate.”
5. Set Several Deadlines
It’s simple, set specific deadlines for each step of your project. This will create a system and lead to positive results. This will also deal with some of the common uncertainties that are associated with doing something hard or outside of your comfort zone.
CEOs set deadlines and make sure they strictly follow them but they also make sure that these deadlines have enough time in between to produce high quality work.
In conclusion, focusing on being productive and actually producing quality work is always a choice. Top executives know that productivity is something you have to work at and refine because it doesn’t come naturally — to-do lists are always going to get longer, and distractions aren’t going to disappear on their own.
Dedicate yourself to focusing on only a few tasks a day and see how much your productivity improves. The change will be astounding.