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Master the ability to focus

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Besieged by information overload, executives often struggle to maintain their focus. This leads them to find ways to concentrate better so they can achieve creative breakthroughs.

Loud, harried workplaces pose a threat to mental focus. Combating distractions has grown into such a serious problem that some companies require employees to reserve blocks of time simply to think and reflect in silence.

To overcome distractions, it helps to practice. Imagine a good and bad angel sitting on each of your shoulders. The bad angel tries to lure you away from concentrating, so heed the good angel’s whispers to focus on what matters most.

Another way to sharpen your mental discipline is to follow a tip by Daniel Goleman, author of Focus. He describes three kinds of focus—inner, other, outer—and suggests that we apply all of them as needed.

Inner focus means listening to your gut and asking yourself, “Who am I? What are my values? Why am I doing this work?” It’s a way to unlock your deepest self and stay true to your “true north” principles.

Other focus requires listening to others and observing their nonverbal cues. Blocking out distractions enables you to capture the message accurately and avoid misunderstandings.

Outer focus shifts your attention to the larger world. You need to absorb in­­formation that affects you and your business while filtering out irrelevant data.

— Adapted from “The Kings of Concentration,” Brian Dumaine, www.inc.com.

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