For Career Success, How to Train Your Mind to Focus

It’s no accident when people have total control. They are able to focus by keeping their minds on the priorities in front of them.

Focused people simply give their full attention to salient matters. They don’t get sidetracked.

Perhaps inherently or subconsciously, they practice the adage, “First things first.” Or perhaps they’ve learned to train their mind. Either way that’s the key.

businesswoman on phoneTo train your mind to focus, here are nine ways:

1. Manage your time

As you might have guessed, time management is on the prerequisites. So learn to use your time effectively with planning using the right information.

2. Get organized

It’s much easier concentrate if you’re organized. Clear the desk, create a file system. Get rid of the post-it notes and work from a master plan.

3. Avoid procrastination

You need to tackle problems head-on. Accomplish the most important task the first thing in the morning. The rest of the day will much more enjoyable.

4. Control your e-mails

Organize them according to topics. Delete any unnecessary e-mails. Unless you’re expecting a critical e-mail, don’t check your e-mails more than is really necessary.

5. Control your environment

Make your environment conducive to working. Not too noisy or in an area where you’re accustomed to relaxing. If you don’t have an office at work but you have a cubicle, arrange a system so people know not to disturb on important projects.

6. Make to-do lists and take notes

You’ll aid your memory by taking notes.

7. Go into focus training

Like any great athlete, focusing takes training and practice. The more you train, the stronger you become in focusing.

8. Remember your hobbies and to exercise

It’s important to detach from your work. Take breaks. Exercise early to get your necessary oxygen for your brain to function.

Take walks during the day around the office or around your block, to get your blood properly circulating.

Ever notice on doctor visits, how the nurse checks the oxygen content of your blood? Your blood carries your oxygen to your brain.

9. Get your sleep

True, you can get too much sleep. But if you don’t get enough sleep, it’s harder to focus.

From the Coach’s Corner, recommended for you:

24 Tips to Reduce Stress, Work Happier for Top Performance — You have a 35 percent better chance of living longer if you feel happy. That’s the upshot from a 2011 British study that links feelings of happiness to longevity. So the emphasis is on feelings. Makes sense, right? The study acknowledges some people inherently feel happy.

7 Morale-Boosters for Hope to Keep Your Business Alive — As you no doubt know, keeping a business going saps a lot of energy. Perseverance is key but it’s not possible unless you have hope. Here’s how to generate hope for success.

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success — Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

Why Executives Emphasize Communication Training for Employees — Among human resources training priorities, employee communication is often now more important than skills, say many executives. Two-thirds of executives responding to a survey say communication skills are most needed by certain employees.

Listening Skills to Improve Your Relationships and Business Performance — What counts in communication? Listening skills for discernment and trust. Discerning people are the most successful and listening skills are important for discernment. That goes for athletes and management, alike.

Instead of focusing on how much you can get done, focus on how much you enjoy what you’re doing.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

5 Personality Traits for Personal and Professional Success

Five personality traits have been identified as keys to overcoming stress and achieving goals academically, professionally and in personal relationships. That includes having a successful marriage.

The personality traits were identified in a 2015 study. More than 3,000 people took one of the company’s tests.

PsychTests reveals the five personality traits – when developed and nurtured – yield important benefits.

The five traits:

  1. Emotional stability
  2. Extroversion
  3. Openness
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Conscientiousness

“These attributes have been linked to academic and professional success, the ability to cope with stress, and even happier marriages,” says Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests.

Dr. Ilona Jerabek

 Dr. Jerabeck

“So working on developing these traits is really worth the effort. In general, those who score high on the Big Five traits fare much better in life than those who score low,” she adds.

On the other hand, people with the opposite traits are less likely to have successful academic studies, careers, marriages and the ability to cope with stress.

People who have such negative traits are disagreeable, neurotic, introverted, careless and narrow-minded.

Key findings regarding the five positive traits:

  • 83 percent thrive under stress and in high-pressure situations (compared to 5 percent of those who score low on the five traits).
  • 98 percent consider themselves easy to get along with (compared to 30 percent of those who score low).
  • 78 percent are considered popular in their social group (compared to 5 percent of those who score low).
  • 93 percent have a wide variety of friends from different cultures and ethnic groups (compared to 60 percent of those who score low).
  • 88 percent adapt well to change in general, whether at work or in their personal life (compared to 11 percent of those who score low).
  • 65 percent are satisfied with their job (compared to 16 percent of those who score low).
  • 75 percent have been rated as a top performer at work (compared to 22 percent of those who score low).
  • Of the goals they’ve set, 81 percent have achieved most, if not all of them (compared to 5 percent of those who score low; in fact, 37 percent of the low group actually don’t set any goals for themselves).

Findings regarding negative traits:

  • 73 percent of those who score low on the five traits experience negative emotions like sadness, guilt, shame or anxiety on a weekly basis (compared to 3 percent of those who score high).
  • 33 percent of those who score low find themselves in serious conflict situations on a weekly basis (compared to 6 percent of those who score high).
  • 36 percent of those who score low have sought the help of a therapist in the last year. Another 14 percent are thinking about attending a therapy session (compared to 6 percent and 5 percent respectively for those who score high).
  • 34 percent of those who score low lack tact and have a tendency to offend others, either through their words or actions (compared to 2 percent of those who score high).

The research also reveals interesting gender differences. Men outscored women on emotional stability (score of 58 vs. 53, on a scale from 0 to 100) and Openness (score of 70 vs. 68).

Women outscored men on agreeableness (score of 69 vs. 67). No significant gender differences were found for extroversion and conscientiousness.

In terms of age differences, older age groups consistently outscored younger age groups on every trait aside from extroversion, which revealed no statistically significant differences.

Even though the research showed extroverts did slightly better, introverts need not worry.

“Contrary to popular belief, an introvert can have very good social skills, just as there are extroverts with poor social skills,” she explains.

“Extroverts enjoy the benefits of a strong social support system; they have people to turn to in times of need, and tend to be better networkers,” she says.

“As for introverts, their ability to turn their attention inward and immerse themselves in the world of thoughts and emotions boosts their creativity and allows them to process information in order to make well-informed decisions,” concludes Dr. Jerabek.

My sense is that the Dr. Jerabek’s research serves as a caution to both employers and employees. Increasingly, employers need to hire people for soft skills — the ability to get along with peers and managers.

Employees need to heed this information for career and personal success.

In my experience, if you tend to have the negative traits, you can start improving by learning how to keep an open mind. One of the quickest ways is to practice The Principle of Contrary Action.

Keep a mental note of all your activities even the mundane. Every time you do something do it differently. Try different routes to the grocery store or gym. Eventually, you learn to keep an open mind.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related personality tips:

Career Tips: 5 Morning Habits of Winning Entrepreneurs — The key is to manage the highs and lows synonymous with a dynamic roller-coaster ride. You must stay on an even keel, despite all the negative surprises. Develop habits that make certain your attitude is contagious – an attitude worth catching — to prepare for daily success.

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success — Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

Discouraged from Low Pay? Perhaps it’s Your Cynicism — Cynics – people with a distrustful nature and who appear to be selfish – earn less money than their co-workers, according to a study involving three large research projects in Europe and the U.S.

Your Career: Fair Is Not an Adult Word at the Office — If you think your co-workers will be as thoughtful as your friends in your personal life, you might want to think again. And if you’re a highly productive employee but you’ve been laid off after several years of service, you’ve experienced the same phenomenon. That stems from a lack of reciprocity and fairness among adults at work.

Make More Friends at the Office with 6 Etiquette Tips — In many companies, good etiquette is nonexistent and office co-workers fail to make friends of one another. Lack of trust and turmoil is seemingly evident everywhere. You don’t have to like everyone, but it’s best to be respectful, and assertive versus aggressive. That makes for good office relationships.

5 Personality Traits Why Managers Are Promoted into Leadership — In selecting candidates for leadership, the risks can be great for both the company and managers in lost time, effort and money. So when deciding which of their corporate managers should be promoted into a leadership positions, naturally, companies don’t want any surprises.

“Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.