June 14

My 3 Favorite Focus Tips

One of my most popular new sessions is called “Productivity Brain Break: A Facilitated White Space.” In the session, I share the easiest, fastest, best ways to be more productive and efficient, according to an analysis from a company called Filtered Technologies.

They analyzed 100 productivity tips that were listed in all kinds of blogs to rank them by type, usability and difficulty. It’s one of the best lists I’ve seen.

In my session, I share my favorite five I like the best and some apps that help you achieve them. Then we do one in the session! It’s one of my favorites, and it gets rave reviews.

Here are three of the best. (Come to the session to get the rest ­čÖé ).


Time-Boxing is Filtered’s #1 pick for productivity, with good reason. It’s easy to do, free and very helpful. I recommend two tools for this category:

  • Calendars
    Uhhh… so easy! Just add your time box as a calendar item to any calendar you use.
  • Trevor
    I haven’t tried out this app yet, but Trevor’s job is to help you time box on a simple calendar that will help keep you focused. The bonus here is that it uses artificial intelligence to help you refine your time chunks and plan your schedule.

 Control Social Media

No surprise that this tip made it into the top ten on their list of 100. We all know that it’s easy to get lost in your social media accounts, from watching what your friends are doing without you on Facebook to obsessing over political jabs on Twitter.

I use the following three techniques to help.

  • Add “Mess around on Facebook” to your to-do list
    If I don’t have a paper list of tasks in front of me at my computer, I flounder. And I am easily distracted by Facebook, especially since I use it for both work and personal.

    So I add a task on my list and give myself a time limit, such as 30 minutes to scroll aimlessly. Then when I reach my limit, I cross off the task and move on. It really works.
  • StayFocusd
    StayFocusd is a Chrome plugin that lets you set limits on certain sites. I have used it for social media and news sites, since I can get lost in both.
  • Freedom.to
    This tool is a (paid) expansion of StayFocusd that lets you limit sites and social media on all your devices, not just in Chrome.
  • Your phone’s limits
    On some newer phones, you can set limits for your device use for free.

Take Short Breaks

This is my favorite, favorite! I can’t really get real work done (like writing my book) without focusing on ONE thing for a short period of time and then taking a short break. If I don’t use the Pomodoro Technique, I can burn out from working too hard for too long, or I can easily get distracted.

I’ve written before about the Pomodoro Technique and the #PomodoroParties I do to help us get productive together. Join us sometime! I might be doing some while I’m working on my book in about 2 weeks.


efficiency, productivity, utility

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