Have you ever felt that being easily distracted is holding you back from improving your skills, doing better work and living a more fulfilling life?

Our lives are filled with potential distractions: your smartphone, email, even your thoughts about where you’ll take your next vacation. As you let your attention become increasingly scattered by such distractions, you impair your ability to do your work on time and to do it well. Attention is the key to high performance in a world of endless distractions.

Life “on auto-pilot” diminishes our experience of the present moment.
Our brains have developed an unconscious decision-making system so we can take care of routine tasks. It prevents us from overloading. However, modern life has hijacked our lives – the mechanism that is supposed to protect us is disengaging us from living.

Ninety-six per cent of people in the UK admit to making most decisions on autopilot, according to this research – it has become an epidemic. Our minds are wandering around most of the time. Autopilot is becoming our default operating mode  –  we are sleepwalking into our choices. This ‘autopilot’ mode doesn’t just stop at performing morning routines, exercising and housekeeping. It slowly takes over our lives.

Knowing why we do what we do is a sure-shot way to grab the steering wheel. Let every action be a choice. When we’re intentional about our actions in the present, we’ll always be assured that we did the best we could.

Open awareness is vital for creative breakthroughs
Open awareness is a particular mode of perception in which individuals are attentive to both their own thoughts and feelings as well as those of others, including the context that connects them. It is a type of attention that is close to being simultaneously inward and outward focused, thereby making one more conscious of the interrelatedness of phenomena. Most of us were taught that creativity comes from the thoughts and emotions of the mind. The greatest singers, dancers, painters, writers, and filmmakers recognise that the most original, and even transformative, ideas actually come from the core of our being, which is accessed through an “open-mind consciousness.” More often than not, companies fall back on their fine-tuned “autopilot,” habitual ways of dealing with day-to-day issues. When asked for something new and creative, employees tend to tweak what has already been done. There is little time to germinate, to think of novel and clever ideas. In other words, the current focus on efficiencies is the antithesis to cultivating a creative environment.

Focus on improving your willpower
Willpower makes all the difference in the world. It is what stands behind most success stories. It is what helps us forge new habits and what keeps us on a chosen course no matter how difficult the road gets. It is what helps us resist distraction and lead a productive lifestyle.
Research shows that our willpower can be strengthened in the long term. In turn, with stronger willpower, we can focus on our priorities and do essential things first. We can postpone less, be more efficient, and resist temptations better.

Focus on building your empathy.
We all know empathy is the right thing to do, but empathy is not just good for the world (and our own sanity). It can also bring a competitive advantage in business. Our ability to see the world from the perspective of others is one of the most crucial tools in our business toolbox.

Outer focus – pay attention to the larger context.
People tend to focus on what’s happening in their immediate environment and to plan only for the near future. The problem with this approach is that they neglect to deal with distant threats which might have a significant impact in the long run. Focusing on the larger context of any given problem enables us to care not only for any immediate effects but also the distant future. It is this which will allow us to lead fulfilling lives in which we care and attend to our planet.

Act like a leader – helps other succeed.
Savvy leaders makes sure they have the right people working for them – the right competencies, the appropriate temperament, a drive to succeed – and then inspire them to do great things. Leadership isn’t about you but about helping others become successful and about removing the obstacles – excessive bureaucracy, interpersonal conflict, uncertainty and toxic cultures – that hinder that success.

Successful leaders are aware of the larger context in which they operate.
Successful leaders lead with a focus on the future. To do this requires exploring the broader context in which their organisation operates, as this enables them to identify opportunities for growth in the market.

Meditation will help you focus
Meditation has the power to help you focus, improve your concentration, and even be used as a tool to overcome procrastination – if practiced consistently, of course. Meditation has been shown to help people sleep better, stress less and, you guessed it, focus more.

Positive thinking is vital.
Have you ever noticed that when you feel positive even the most difficult tasks seem much easier? One reason is that having a positive outlook boots our motivation. Another reason for the positive effect of a good mood is that our focus shapes our reality, and this has important consequences for the way we handle big challenges.

In sum…
Staying focused has a great impact on our performance and thus our ability to become successful. A focused life in which attention to ourselves, other and to the larger context – like our planet – are key components leads to a fuller and richer everyday experience.