Business Three strategies for business leaders to improve focus

Three strategies for business leaders to improve focus


Serial Entrepreneur | Chairman of the Board of Directors, scan | Co-founder, Moment | Senator, G20 summit.

Attention is fundamental to our performance. However, according to several indicators, the attention is in steady decline.

It would be easy to simply blame the obvious 24/7 intrusion of mobile platforms into our daily lives. After all, clicks, downloads, likes, views, followers and shares are one new currency of both social interaction and our digital economy. Platforms like TikTok provide bite-sized content that is easy to consume, while automatically recommending similar content and even automatically starting to play similar videos, reducing the chance of interruptions.

This doesn’t just apply to our teens following clickbait and TL;DR culture. A 2014 Pew Research Center study found it that 77% of employees use social media while at work. While AI has exacerbated this trend by turning human attention into ad revenue for decades, the latest evolution of generative AI expected to exponentially accelerate the speed and effectiveness of content that demands our attention.

Researchers in Turkey discovers that a decrease in attention in adolescents is strongly correlated with a decrease in sleep quality, self-esteem and productivity, as well as an increase in loneliness, apathy, narcissism, anxiety and depression. Studies like this generally find what is referred to as “multidirectional causality”; these things are so closely related that changes in one will affect the other.

In this way, impaired attention not only jeopardizes our ability to concentrate and perform, but also the quality and longevity of our lives and that of our children. It has turned from a necessary evil of our digital age into an existential crisis for ourselves, our families and our communities.

Instead of acquiescing, business leaders can take a different approach to the rising demands we face every day.

First, it’s important to understand how our attention works through three primary states of attention:

1. Focus Status: This is what most people call “paying attention.” It’s a state of controlled application of your attention to complete a specific task or set of tasks while selectively scanning for, paying attention to, or inhibiting various internal and external stimuli.

2. Conscious State: This is a state in which attention is held on to experiences of the present moment while suppressing irrelevant external stimuli and rejecting tangential pathways without emotional response and judgment. Meditation can not only temporarily improves the ability to maintain a state of focus and general mental health, but it can also reconfigure the whole brain’s network architecture for long-term attentional benefits.

3. Inducible State: This is a state of constant attention interruption characterized by vulnerability to inappropriate and irrelevant stimuli that attempt to divert attention from the task at hand.

With this summary in mind, consider these suggestions that business leaders can use to navigate the attention crisis.

1. Train your focus. Try setting a timer for five minutes and focusing completely on a specific task you want to complete. Then take a two-minute break before continuing for another five minutes. The next day, add another five minutes to your Focusing sessions, with an additional two minutes of rest in between.

When my team adopts this strategy, uses dedicated focus timers (not phone timers) and builds the stamina to work for extended periods of time, we not only see greater output from work, but also increased creativity and quality. We found that this is an extremely easy approach to “train” the brain and make it more focused in the long run.

2. Recharge your neural networks. Sleep is one essential part of recharging the brain, but so are mindfulness habituation practices such as meditation or take nature walks. To develop and maintain a focused state, it is necessary to balance that strenuous work each day with a mindful state.

At my office, we encourage our team to use mindfulness apps and take at least two 10-minute breaks where they can sit down and recharge. We found that this makes an amazing difference for many of our employees; they come back refreshed and ready to tackle their next projects, and it’s easy to convince employees to opt for this when they feel a profound impact from the conscious pause in their busy days.

3. Evolve your digital habits. Set a timer in advance when entering a platform that is addictive to you. Try to watch only one video and then select the next one in a completely different domain. Find ways to reduce the similarity and repetition of the content you use.

While it can be difficult to enforce a limit on digital/social media time in the office, the best way to create such a culture starts with yourself. I was able to curb my digital addiction by deleting phone apps and only accessing social media on a laptop. This way, i to elect when I scroll. You would be surprised how many employees would like to follow suit. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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