How to improve your focus and productivity

Make Things, Make Sense Podcast
Season 1 Episode 15
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Welcome to this episode of MAKE THING MAKE SENSE, today we make sense of productivity in this crazy distr acting, busy thing we call life. Did you know that on average each person is distracted between 50-60 times a day and we spend hours of our day trying to regain focus?

Covid was a major disruption to our routine and structure. It’s also created a lot of extra guilt or stress, we ask ourselves “am I doing the right thing? Have I done enough? Was I truly productive? How much time did I waste?” At our Vistage group we speak about this a lot and all the ways that guilt creeps into a CEO’s life.

So let’s discuss what tactics have we personally implemented in order to regain focus, reduce guilt and increase our productivity.


Personal tactics for better focus & productivity

It’s so easy to get distracted. After being interrupted people need about 25 minutes to regain full focus on the task at hand. One solution is the Pomodoro Sprint, which was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, when he began to use his tomato-shaped kitchen timer to organize his work schedule where he would work 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute break. This technique encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it.

Other tactics that work for Josh:

  • use your calendar and stick to the tasks
  • cross to-dos off from a list
  • set the date then follow
  • be prepared
  • hiring an assistant
  • concentrate on the task at hand – one at a time: fully immersive and present.

Alex advices you to know yourself, know your personality traits so you can take advantage of your strengths. Calendar Mastery is Alex’s main technique and this is how he implements it:

  • Build a routine for yourself
  • Suggest using the 80/20 rule for your routine: schedule 20% of your time doing the things that provide 80% of your quality
  • Schedule 80% of your work time, and leave 20% free for curve balls, so thats about an hour a half free per day
  • Use your calendar to manage tasks
  • Stick to time limits on meetings
  • Calendly for others to book time in your calendar

Communication is another key element:

  • Always set and manage expectations clearly
  • Start each meeting with a clear agenda or issue to solve
    • Share information before meetings, so you discuss what to do with the information in the meeting.
  • Ban internal emails!!
  • Unsubscribe from any random stuff you receive

Alex’s other advice includes:

  • Practice exercises such as delegate & elevate to live your uniques
  • Use a project management tool to delegate tasks clearly, holding yourself accountable to proper delegation
  • For Business Partners:
    • same page meeting
    • shared notes or google keep for easy point sharing
    • prioritizing issues
  • Life:
    • food plan delivered to cater to your diet – save time and effort
    • change role or focus every 6 -12 months

Research top tips for improving focus and productivity

  • Structure how you work: attention span is better in 25 minutes or 55 minutes slots. Meetings don’t have to be 30 minutes or one hour. Max capacity is 90 minutes.
  • Schedule 5 minute breaks in between meetings: we rush from meeting to meeting back to back and multitask in between by scrolling multimedia and answering emails that we can’t fully focus on the task at hand. Schedule breaks to rest, stand up, hydrate and refresh your mind before the next meeting.
  • Process things effectively and ask the right questions: for example if someone distracts you at work to give you an urgent task, choose process over panic. Ask when the deadline is, state what work you’re currently working on and ask if you should still prioritise it.
  • Set expectations: tell people when you’re not available to be distracted.
  • Educate people on how /when to connect with you


Being productive means less stress and more impact and helps you feel less guilt. Applying the tips and tricks shared in this episode will take your productivity and focus to new heights.

We hope this provides value to you, we appreciate your time, thank you for reading & listening, please like and subscribe and share this with one person you know that needs to improve their focus and productivity.

Other episodes


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S01E16: 8 Proven Techniques to Generate More Business


S01E15: How to improve your focus and productivity


S01E14: SEO for CEOs


S01E13: Is content still King?


S01E12: How to start your day off the right way


S01E10: Standing out in a crowded market with guest CEO Tom Jones from Yolted


S01E11: Why you should love your brand


S01E09: You need a Marketing Strategy – Here’s why


S01E08: 8 Tips to Running a Successful Workshop


S01E03: Making sense of office vs remote working


S01E07: The power of branding, done right


S01E06: Making Sense of target audiences: Why should anybody care?


S01E05: Making Sense of Internships


S01E04: The importance of core values for hiring the right people