What's lack of focus costing you? It's more than your productivity...

Distractions are everywhere and if we don't know how to deal with them, we lose focus. And that costs us dearly...

A few months ago, I was lucky to meet Serge Maes, a psychoanalyst (Masters in clinical psychology, a postgraduate in psychotherapy/psychoanalysis & licensed since 2001).

Serge and I exchanged a few messages and Serge agreed that he would share his knowledge with me.


I was thrilled because I had been struggling with a lack of focus, productivity, and procrastination for a long time. I knew that it had cost me a lot in the past, was costing me a lot then and it would cost me a lot in the future.

We met in a first Zoom call and I battered Serge with questions. What I learned was so profound and yet so simple – everyone can create better focus and literally learn how to do the work of a whole week in just ONE DAY!

Imagine if you could only double your productivity – let alone increase it five times – what would that mean for your business?

Serge agreed that I could share the insights he gave me, and we did an interview in my copywriting Facebook group.

But before I continue – Serge has developed a couple of programmes where he works with people to eliminate distractions, how to deal with interruptions, and how to increase focus and productivity. So, for anyone who wants to work with an expert and has a team that would benefit from increased productivity – then contact Serge (or dm me and I put you in touch).

And here’s what I learned:


Before we can eliminate distractions and interruptions, we first need to understand what interruptions are.

There are external interruptions like emails, notifications, people, and phone calls…

And there are internal interruptions – interruptions that you initiate yourself like going to the bathroom making a cup of tea, checking social media, and multitasking.

If you didn’t know that multitasking is a distraction, then read on and learn why it is a very detrimental behaviour.


The first thing we need to understand is that every time we are interrupted, it can take up to 25 minutes for the brain to regain the same level of focus.

You can do the maths – being interrupted only 4 times a day can cost us nearly 2 hours of focused working time!

And honestly – understanding that now makes me wonder how I ever achieve anything…

Being distracted or interrupted hinders our productivity. When we are distracted, it is harder for us to filter out irrelevant information and organise our thoughts. It can also lead to higher stress levels because we get frustrated when we don’t get things done which increases time pressure, which leads to overwhelm and can go as far as burnout.


First of all, we have to understand and accept that our brain can’t multitask!

But what we can do instead is to learn to serial-task – completing one task after another with 100% focus.

When we serial task, stress gets reduced and we make fewer mistakes.

Here’s what Serge recommended to do to get out of the “death spiral” of multitasking:

Define the sources of your interruptions by keeping an interruption log for a couple of weeks.

This is a really annoying task and after doing it for a couple of days, I was so fed up with it that I was incredibly motivated to start focusing.

Start off with creating a spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • What was the interruption?
  • Who's interrupting?
  • How much time spent on the interruption?
  • Who benefitted from the interruption?
  • How important was the interruption?
  • How urgent was the interruption?

Now go ahead and create your log… You’ll see what I mean.

You should also schedule blocks of interruption-free time into your day. It’s best to schedule blocks of 2-4 hours at least twice a day.

That sounds like a lot and impossible to do but what you do is putting your business into “Warp-mode”.

You will also see that you can schedule a time when you focus on your “distractions” and as a result, you will be able to deal with them a lot faster.

You are setting boundaries that will dramatically change your output.


Not all of us are lucky to have an office where you can close the door. Those who do should create a door sign that tells everyone coming to your door not to disturb you.

On this sign, you could also note when you will be available for them.

If you don’t have a door and are maybe working in an open-plan office or a space in your house where family members walk through – then create a visible reminder that clearly shows that you don’t want to be disturbed.

This could be a small flag or toy that you place on your desk, a cap you can wear or even headphones as an indicator.

And then turn off anything that pings you.

I’ll stop here because I want to give you the chance to check your habits and start implementing the first steps to working with focus and without interruptions.

But I’ll continue this series and write more about focus and habits in the next part of this series.

If you want to know more - then here's where you can find Part 2: Hacks to get into creative flow

And Part 3: Optimise yourself for creative flow

Categories: Focus, Procrastination

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