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  • Writer's pictureLiz Tracy

The Importance of Focus and Concentration

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

As a leader, if you could master two new skills for 2023, what would they be? How will you go about this? If you’re anything like some of my coaching clients and me, one skill on the list would be the ability to improve your focus and concentration.

When this topic comes up in my coaching conversations, I share a few tips I picked up from the book written by Sam Horn, ConZentrate: Get Focused and Pay Attention--When Life Is Filled With Pressures, Distractions, and Multiple Priorities (St. Martin’s Press 2000). In it, Horn identified essential keys to concentration that are helpful reminders, especially as we prepare for the coming year.

Keys to Focus and Concentration

  • Develop your ability to be single-minded. Concentration means we must temporarily ignore some things in favor of others. Deferring other projects doesn’t mean they’re not important, only less so for the moment. It requires making choices as to priorities and scheduling.

  • Put your interest(s) in action. Can you think of a time when you were so engrossed in an activity that you became one with it? All sense of time disappeared. All outside activities were unnoticed. Athletes call this the zone. Others, a state of flow.

  • Discipline your thoughts. Concentration means harnessing our thoughts, focusing on what is needed, and saying “no” to outside distractions. Recognize that the mind often prefers play to work. If that is the case, try delaying a gratification, or apply the Premack Principle, which involves doing something pleasurable after a task is completed.

  • Begin again, and again, and again. The ability to persist in spite of distraction, opposition, discouragement, and counterinfluences is the key to attaining what we want in life. That means completing an activity even though it may not be perfect. It includes the ability to keep on in spite of making mistakes. It is keeping on keeping on, persisting, correcting, continuing, and coming back.

For me, a key to focus and concentration is recognizing when I am on auto-pilot, or I am taking action out of habit. What about you? What can you do to improve your focus and concentration? I’d love to hear from you! You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice at and on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.

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