Three steps to staying focused

In my coaching and consulting work with individuals and organisations over the last few months, I’ve noticed (and this, I’m sure, won’t come as a huge surprise to many of you) that a lot of people are feeling somewhat distracted at the moment!

If they’ve lost their jobs they’re worried and upset.

If they still have their jobs they’re worried and apprehensive.

If their business is still operating, they’re worried about the future (and, in some cases, the present).

If… well, I think you get the idea.

What ever the cause, stress and anxiety are distracting and ultimately, in addition to being unpleasant in and of themselves, they negatively affect productivity, effectiveness, team work and more. In simple terms, it’s not good for the individual or for his or her manager or employer for these normal but damaging negative emotions to persist for too long.

Previously, I’ve written about the importance of identifying stress and depression and then appropriately managing it or seeking professional help. Today, I offer you a simple three-step approach to stay focused and productive during difficult and distracting times. I’ll preface what’s to come with an acknowledgement that I know it’s not always easy; but it is, nevertheless, possible – and as long as we’re all trying to do our best then we’ll all benefit in the end.

Step One: Start your day with a focus on the positive

Begin every day by asking yourself something like “What’s going to go well today?” or “If everything worked out great today, what would that look like?” In your mind, run through all of your meetings, appointments, tasks and duties and imagine, just for five minutes, that each and every one of these is a fantastic success.

Step Two: Monitor your day with a focus on the positive

Set aside a time in the middle of the day (such as when you’re having lunch) and ask yourself something like “Am I on track so far? If so, what’s going well; if not, what do I need to get back on track and achieve what I want to achieve today?”

Step Three: Finish your day with a focus on the positive

Finally, finish off each and every day by focusing on at least three good things. That is, ask yourself “What are three good things that have happened today?” These don’t have to be world changing or enormously significant events (although they could be) but regardless of the size of the achievement or success it’s worth celebrating and savouring achievements on a regular basis.

So there it is – a simple three-step process to stay focused on the positives and to stay focused on what’s important. I’ve used this myself, and I’ve recommended it to many clients – and I can guarantee that if you engage in this simple practice on a regular basis you reap the rewards in no time!

Let me know what you think and also, let me know if you use any other strategies that work for you.



Dr. Sharp’s latest book (out now) is “100 Ways to Happiness: a Guide for Busy People” (Penguin). You can find out more about corporate programs, presentations, and coaching services at and You can also ask him questions using the comments panel below.


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