How to stay in focus

Focus is vital for success but visionary entrepreneurs are easily distracted. Here are four ways to help you keep in focus: 1. Have someone remind you of priorities. 2. For all routine work think about why are you doing it, what priority it belongs to and what is the reason for doing it. 3. Start your day with the most important and the difficult tasks. 4. Make plans that help structure your work and make sure that everything you do falls into the hierarchical structure of the company strategy.


Let’s talk about focus. It’s vital for success. But here’s the dilemma. If you are a great business leader or a great entrepreneur, if you’re visionary, if you’re passionate, you’re typically curious about many different things. That’s your strength. But it’s also your weakness, because it may be difficult to focus. You get interested in everything and every morning you have a new idea and a new plan to pursue. So, how do you then stay focused so that you can achieve your business results? It’s difficult and I don’t know the perfect answer to it, but here are some practical tips that I have used and that I am using in my own professional life.

The first thing is have somebody who reminds you about focus. If you are open about needing that sort of help, other people will come to you and say “remember to be focused”. Remember what our priorities are, remember we need to do this first. That’s a good way of balancing different personalities. Having focused people around those who are visionary and curious and who’d like to go after many different things at the same time.

The second practice or rule that you can follow is that for every little detail that you do, in your daily work when you are doing something, there are some small things you do every day, maybe because you love them or because it’s your habit or something. Think about the 30,000 feet question around them. Why are you doing them, what priority do they belong to, what’s the reason for you to do them. You’ll learn that some of the things you spend your time on are not needed, because they are not part of the core focus of the business. So, if you can mix in your thinking the detailed approach, which is very needed to do things well, with the 30,000 feet approach where you are reminded and you remind yourself of the key priority that the task belongs to and that the key justification for doing it.

And a third rule is starting your day with the most important and the most difficult tasks. This relates to procrastination. We’d like to do the fun things in the beginning and then save the difficult things and the less fun things for the afternoon or evening or later. Then as a result, we don’t stay focused. We do what we think is fun and that we enjoy doing and forget the key priorities that actually should be our core focus. So, the rule here is start with the difficult things, start with the focus things in the morning and work them out. Then you can do everything else and you will have time to do everything else afterwards.

And the finally, for all of this, make plans. And when you make plans, make sure that they are detailed enough to help you know what you should be doing, but also structured enough so that they are focused and that they align with the strategy that you have in the company. When you make plans think about top down, what’s the purpose of it, where does it belong, why are we doing it, so that everything you are planning and everything you are doing falls into the hierarchical structure of strategy and plans, tasks and priority areas.

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  1. Dear Mårten,

    Thank you very much for this post! – The topic you covered is important.

    A good way for me to stay focused is to remind myself of my personal core competencies. When I have new ideas I try to mirror them against my experience and know-how. If there is not any kind of linkage to what has happened earlier in my life, it is easier for me to hand the idea over to someone else who might make better use of it.

    Finally it’s not only about how to focus but also about when we should share ideas for other people’s use.

    Best regards,
    Katri Kauppila

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