5 Tips to Help You Stay Focused

Note: This is a guest post from Sean Burrows of What Is Personal Growth

Often times, we find ourselves going back and forth in terms of working on our goals and our growth as human beings. We’ll go through periods where we work hard consistently everyday without ever feeling burned out, then sometimes we shift and go through periods where we stagnate and put them off for a time. Let’s be clear however, that there is a big difference between taking small breaks such as a vacation, and stagnation.

Here are 5 tips that have helped me stay focused in times when the procrastination bug starts to bite.

1. Clear All Unnecessary Distractions

A big source of stagnation is what we do in our daily lives which serve no true purpose except to distract us. If you want to stay focused on achieving your dreams, you need to find everything in your life that is distracting you from that.

Some of the big ones for me were:

  • Television
  • Video games
  • Poor relationships
  • Unhealthy food
  • Other people’s drama

There were many more which I had to remove from my life, and there still is, but these were the ones that were having the biggest impact. All of these were taking my focus off of my goals when I participated in them.

Now of course some distractions are extremely difficult to give up, a lot of them are very addictive. Video games and television are extremely addictive, at least they were for me. But giving them up has been a true blessing in my life. No matter how difficult it is, know that it will be worth it in the end.

2. Keep a Journal

Writing in a journal has been a profound benefit for me. What helps best is writing down my goals and also my progress. Knowing that you’re progressing is a great way to stay motivated. Who wants to keep doing something when they think all their efforts are for nothing? Often times, our growth and important steps towards our goals are overlooked or ignored. Writing down every single positive step you’ve taken towards your goals, no matter how small it may seem, will always serve as a reminder that you ARE progressing, and that reaching your goals happens one step at a time.

Write down some areas in your life and go through them. Note how you’ve improved in those areas, and what you think you could do to improve even more. Here are a few examples that I use:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Financial
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual

3. Create New Habits

When you want to move from a habit that you know is stagnating you, to one that is beneficial and empowering, the best way is to stick with it for at least 21 days. Doing this will engrave it into your personality, and you will eventually start doing it without even thinking about it. After about 21-30 days you’ll start noticing the positive changes it’s having on your life.

For example, if you want to start going to the gym, mark down in a calendar when you want to go and what time. This way you will always have something to remind you of your goal. After 21 days of not giving up, you won’t need a calendar anymore because it is now a habit.

4. Surround Yourself With People That Have Similar Goals

If you’re trying to improve your life and remove things which are preventing you from doing that, it doesn’t make much sense to hang around people who are still stuck in the things which you are trying to move on from. This one can be difficult for a lot of people. Some of us are in relationships, and have friends that we’ve known for a long time, but they may not be interested in the same goals you are. There’s nothing wrong with knowing that you’ve outgrown someone and moving on, especially if they have no interest in improving themselves.

Moving on from people which are holding you back will be a great weight lifted on your shoulders. I’ve noticed that when I move on from specific aspects of my life that are preventing me from progressing, new ones start to come into my life which help accelerate my goals. It’s like being a receiver in football. You have this defender on you running everywhere you go, preventing you from catching the ball. But after a few plays you begin to realize what you need to do to get past him, and catch the pass for a touchdown.

5. Take Breaks

As I said earlier, there is a big difference in taking some time off, and pure stagnation. Taking some time off recharges and refreshes your mind. The absolute best thing for me is going camping or hiking. Being out in nature is very calming and balancing. All the answers to my questions just seem to be answered so much easier when I’m out in nature. And I always come back with new insights and a focused mind.


Growing as a human being and achieving our dreams is meant to be a fun experience, it’s what we’re here for, it’s what we’re designed to do. The problem in today’s society is that there are so many things that we get caught up in which can do the opposite. There are many different obstacles that we must overcome in our lives, and there always will be, but they don’t have to be looked at as negative experiences. Everything we do in our lives is a lesson of some kind, even the most negative experiences have some kind of lesson to be learned, usually the most important ones.

A strong motivator for me is knowing that once I’ve overcome something which isn’t helping me in my growth, I now am more credible to help someone who might be going through the same thing. If I achieve a goal, now I am in a position to help others who may have that same goal.

Sean Burrows loves to learn and discover new ways to improve the quality of peoples lives. He studies personal development and health rigorously, and shares his life’s lessons, creative ideas, and healthy recipes through his blog at http://www.what-is-personal-growth.com – You can also follow Sean on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/36burrows

Photo by darkpatator


  1. “Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’”– Marcus Aurelius

  2. Some distraction I list out are:
    People around
    social media websites – Facebook, Twitter
    Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger
    Mobile phone and more.
    These can get into our ways in most of the time especially when are are focus on working up something.
    So getting rid of these can largely help on staying focus.

  3. Some other things that help:

    The Pomodoro Technique – focus attention in short manageable segments. http://www.pomodorotechnique.com

    Simply Noise – use “white noise” to block out distractions. http://www.simplynoise.com

    Both are free and quite helpful.

  4. Hy Sean,
    A very good post. Thanks for it. I think the own life can be such a wonderful adventure if we allow it. If you ask me what’s my passion I would answer: Life adventurer, it’s my job, my hobby- it’s all what I will do in my life.
    Sincerely, Rolf

    • Hey Rolf,

      Yeah you’re absolutely correct, life can be an amazing adventure. The ups and the downs are all there for a reason.

      I like that term too: life adventurer! Hehe 🙂

  5. I agree with Stephen above. The Pomodoro method is one that I use consistently. List the top 6 tasks that you want to accomplish. Clear away your distractions. Set your timer for 20 minutes, and work on your most important task. Then take a 5 minute break and start with Task 2. And so on…

  6. Hello Sean,
    I really appreciate this post. I have been really frustrated with my life because I feel like I am going no where. You really opened my eyes a little more to what I need to do. So thank you. I commend you on your desire for a healthy lifestyle for yourself and for many. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Eighmi!

      I’m really happy you enjoyed the post! I know you’ll find your passion and get on the path which will take away that frustration. Keep your head up and stay positive buddy! 🙂

  7. Hello there, Sean. Let me share my thoughts on this.
    Aside from those stated above unnecessary distractions, I manage my time online well. Before, I’d be spending my productive hours tending to my emails, peering over peoples’ posts, clicking on dozens of links, chatting, etc. But now, I make sure I spend less time online. Social media sites are tended to on schedule as well. Also, when I write, I’m never online. That way, I could really stay focused and complete scheduled writing tasks for the day.
    Those who have online careers or businesses should have a routine when it comes to using the internet and managing social media. There’s always powerful and new information every second; 95% or more aren’t contributing to what they really do. ?

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Arina!

      What you said was very important! I’ve wasted countless hours doing the things you said such as email and links and all that.

      That’s a really good to not be online when you write, I’ll have to make sure to take your advice on that one! 🙂

  8. Thanks for the kind words. Another golden article Sean 🙂

  9. Hi Sean !

    Excellent post, good insight.The top five of blockers is here- television and other people dramas ( symbolic of negative people) is clearly pointed out.
    And the good steps of what we’re to follow are also here.In creating new habits, it’s important to know that the first 21 days are only the beginning, because there may be a tendency to show much will and determination for the first 3 weeks, and then sleep on your laurels, and without knowing it fall back on the negative habit again. If you think about it, we all want to create life -time habits, don’t we ? Would create a 3 year habit of healthy eating, exercising, showering every morning ? Starting is a challenge but keeping doing something is even greater.
    Thank you,


    • Great input Lilian, very important point about how the first 21 is only the beginning. I’ve fallen back into many negative habits over and over again, but you truly do get better the more persistent you are.

      Are you’re right, we ALL want to create lifetime habits, I think we do this without even thinking about it for the most part. But we need to be aware and make sure those habits are positive ones!

      Thank you Lilian!

  10. There are a lot of us in this world who believe that only a few of us have a pair of wings, and the rest of us were to be left behind, when that’s not true at all… We all have a great pair of wings; it’s just a lot of us don’t think to use them, or worse, think we can at all.

  11. Eating whole food and working out are two of my main practices in staying focused. I also lose any unnecessary distractions. Short breaks are helpful as well.

    • Excellent input Bojan, eating healthy, whole foods makes all the difference in the world. Thanks for your comment!

  12. “Surround Yourself With People That Have Similar Goals”..So true!
    I have a very dear friend of mine that’s struggling to find his way as an online entrepreneur. He had some success and could make a full time income IF his wife were more supportive. She wants him to have “a real job”…she thinks that Internet is for “lazy people” or pornography, lol.
    Sometimes only wishing and working hard it’s not enough. If you cannot focus, all your hard work will be dispersed and will find yourself tired and frustrated.

    • Hi Mariana,

      Great example of the importance of being around positive, supporting people. It can really be difficult, especially if that person is your spouse.

      She just doesn’t understand how big of an opportunity the internet is, and all the benefits it brings if you stick with it and work hard.

      I wish the best for your friend and thanks so much for your comment. 🙂

  13. Hi, Sean
    Thanks for commenting my post 🙂
    He’s a very good friend of mine and I really want him to succeed because I know his potential.
    It’s a shame that his wife doesn’t support him.

  14. Great article! I needed that and thanks!

  15. Lovely article.But,i wish to ask,how to be mentally focused/keep a check on our thoughts?

  16. This is a good article and all teenagers should read it once.

  17. hi sean,tht was really influential n motivational….,keep up the good work

  18. So, if one where to have great ambitions and ones partner\lover had no ambitions, was not supportive, and trying to keep one from doing anything that would allow one to “fly free”(supposed self esteem issues), you are saying for one to leave the person is the best course of action?

  19. I just had an epiphany, because of this thank you greatly.

  20. Great tips for staying focused, especially surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Nothing is more distracting than people who are not committed to something themselves.

  21. Hi,
    This is a very true article, as I myself procrastinate toooooooo much. When I get home from school, three hours of computer, when I finish one homework, another hour of computer. this goes on and on and on, and I end up sleeping at 12 in the morning! Does anyone have any suggestions for me to stop procrastinating? I’m gonna try the 21 day thing, I think it should work. I would appreciate any help!

  22. Wonderful articles-agreed with every point you have mentioned.Ultimately it’s your long term gains that make for a fulfilling life and not short term pleasures or rather distractions.Keep it up!

    • Thank you so much for the great tips of being focused..i always get distructed by tv and spending time on chat webs,i really hate these because it feels very addictive..thanx a lot

  23. Wow this article was really really helpful to both myself and my boyfriend. I’m so glad I stumbled across this. We both have big goals we want to achieve, but staying focused on what’s important has been a major challenge for us.
    Definitely agree on ‘surrounding yourself with people that have similar goals’. It really sucks but sometimes the best thing you can do is to cut out negative friendships and people bringing you down. We recently went through this difficult phase and it feels as if a world of opportunities and optimism opened up.

  24. every human has a very vital role to play, in other to spline off some discourage of people that come closer to you.

  25. These are a great set of tips for focusing, and I find that I could relate to a lot of it. I very much appreciate you sharing your distractions factors quite honestly, because we all are only human and sharing human nature – even if weaknesses – helps to make each other better people. Again, thank you.

  26. I have so many problems esp.financial what s the way to overcome?

  27. Thabo J Mukubesa
    Thabo J Mukubesa

    i never knew there is such a page, full of motivational posts for a young man like men and many alike. It is very encouraging. i personally have to give up Drinking. but dem! is not been easy so far. am looking for a replacement…

  28. Thanks dear for your positive ideas, i am so excited to read this wonderful message,some of the issue you said over here has take much of my time prevoius times but i hope i could make a U turn right now and move to the positive way that will unable me to grow faster.

  29. could you pls send me powerful motivatonal messeges every day. your messages have a very good impact me.thank you

  30. batimehin moses
    batimehin moses

    i so much luv the steps hilighted above.everyone must plan him/herself for the task ahead.

  31. uday pratap singh
    uday pratap singh

    I found ur tips to very rational and i can relate to it. I will follow and then respond again if useful..

  32. well. I think 21 days should be changed with 40 days cuz in this time.. sperm turns into leech and in 40 days leech turns into meat. and then bones after 40 days.. so 40 days are v.important in your life to make a habbit..

  33. Your tips are great and some of the distractions I have started already.


  34. This article educative. I like it!

  35. Develop the right habits is the most important thing we need to do. That’s the reason as well why Stephen Covey’s book – 7 Habits Highly Effective People is so popular.

  36. […] biggest challenge right now is to stay focused on my day to day activities when it’s so clear to me that too many things are wrong and […]

  37. Hey man. The idea of writing my goals down physically and seeing them on paper makes me think a bit more clearly. Thank you for the advice. But now I have realized another issue of mine. I seem to be extremely impatient. What advice do you have for someone who is easily discouraged by long periods of time before seeing the smallest bit of progress?

  38. Can i ask why your ‘top 5 depression signs’ link goes to a page with no real information, just 5 paid sponsor advertisers links? Your site is depressing! And btw, it’s ‘addictive’ not ‘addicting. I’m out of here!

    IT IS GR8

  40. Can you please explain mental? what? & spritual advancement record keeping? Why?

  41. Thank you I was looking for something to get me out of my rut. I found I have some medical issues and my world stopped I was so fused

  42. Thanks Nicely Explained

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