By Matt Brennan

Distractions are everywhere. You don’t have to go far to find them in the physical world or online. How you navigate these distractions, and the singularity of your focus can have a lot to do with your level of success.

You’ve mapped out your goals, and you know where you want to be, it’s just a matter of sticking with it, and making sure that you are working on the right tasks.

Here are five questions to ask yourself to make sure that you are truly avoiding distractions as you work:

  1. What are the three or four things you have to get done today?

It’s important to close out every day feeling like you’ve moved the ball forward. Take a good look at your schedule, and prioritize. It’s easy to write a dozen things on a to-do list, and get frustrated. But what are the things that truly need to get done to feel like you’ve advanced your position? Make sure those happen.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephan Covey

  1. Does this fit your larger plan?

It’s not always something in our surroundings or online that distracts us. We can easily become distracted by an idea. Make sure your idea is in alignment with your plans. If it’s not something carrying you toward your larger goal, maybe it should wait. Make sure there’s a real purpose behind the ways you spend your time.


  1. What are you doing early in the morning and late at night?

It’s easy to complain about not having the time to do something, and then spend three hours watching television at the end of the night. It’s also easy to start your day in your inbox and respond to others’ agendas before advancing your own. If you start between 6 and 7, and/or finish between 5 and 6, you have built in time to focus on your project without communication distractions. Pick the end of the workday that works for you, and try to find a window that won’t be swamped with people trying to get a hold of you.


  1. Is what you’re doing now necessary or productive?

It’s easy to spend time perusing your social media and telling yourself it’s for the good of your business. Building a digital platform is hugely important for any business, but it’s important to be honest with yourself regarding whether your current task is helping that endeavor. This question is good for different scenarios as far as running your business as well. Ask yourself whether what you are making or doing is truly helping you reach those larger goals. And be honest in your answer.

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

  1. Do you know what you want out of tomorrow?

Before you power down and walk away, spend five minutes thinking about tomorrow. Find those three or four things that need to get done and jot them down. You can always carry a notebook with you and jot down additional ideas after you walk away.

It’s easier than ever to get derailed and distracted in business and in life. It takes a concerted effort to stay on task. Make sure that you are doing everything you can to meet your business goals and stick with the projects that will help you win the day.