The Blog.

Five ways to stay focused

7 Jul 2014 | Clarity & Focus, Tips, tools, tricks

So there was big controversy this week when Facebook revealed that it was manipulating news feeds in a social experiment to see how that would affect people’s moods. Outrage aside about how the study was conducted or communicated, the findings are, well, pretty obvious actually.

What we see affects us. The messages we read, hear, or are otherwise exposed to, influence our mood and our perspective.

A friend of mine, who works in PR, decided several years ago to stop listening to the news on her way in to work, because it depressed her so much. Even though part of her job was to keep up with what was going on in the world, she decided the cost of doing that first thing in the morning was too high on her attitude and performance.

Do you choose your focus for the day? Or do you let it choose you?

If email or social media is your first port of call in the morning, what messages are you taking in?

The world is full of messages. It’s amazing how easy it is to be buffeted from one thing to another when you’re not clear on your own agenda, and spend the day reacting to whoever or whatever’s shouting the loudest.

One thing I often encourage people to do is to have half an hour in the morning to check in with themselves first, before they check in with the rest of the world.

Once you’ve identified your focus, how do you stay on track? Here are a few ideas:

1. Social media – yes really! Use it to set your intention or declare your focus and let the rest of the world hold you accountable. 

“One chapter down, one more to go. See you in an hour Twitter…” was something I tweeted a lot when writing my book.

Or instead of “ugh… early start, busy week, tired again” try “Early start. Full on week. #bringiton”.

2. Momentum – if you’re a Chrome user, check out this Momentum extension where you can be inspired and reminded of your main focus for the day, every time you open a new browser tab.

3. Screensaver/Wallpaper – if you don’t have chrome, how about using your screensaver or wallpaper to remind you of something inspirational? Here’s a selection I made for you earlier.

4. Password – it’s something you type in several times a day, why not get it working for you? I love this story of how one guy used his password to literally change his life!

5. The humble post-it note – sick of technology? Or know that it’s more likely to take you off track than keep you on track? For a much more low-tech option, simply write yourself a message on a post-it note and stick it to the side of your screen, or your keyboard, to remind you of whatever it is you need to know.


What’s even more powerful than what others say to you, is what you say to yourself. So what message do you want to give yourself today?

Have a play and let me know how you get on!



  1. Ali C-S

    Very interesting! I rarely check into social media for at least half an hour or most likely over an hour before I am up. But so true that one single tweet, status you read can make your day up or down. If I tweet something like I am tired and tend to end it on an upside, like least it is Friday! But now will be more aware of this.

    I have a post it note on my phone that says ‘Be happy’ though my children sometimes change it to ‘I Love Oscar the most’ or ‘Buy Bex loads of presents because I love her the most’ sibling rivalry with technology! But then maybe they are on to something.

    Gorgeous sunny Monday, enjoy your day!

    • Grace Marshall

      Love your clever kids Ali! Amazing how powerful our messages can be 🙂

    • Diane Warburton

      Lol @ your clever kids – a nice happy story which has affected my mood, i.e made me smile and feel cheery, although I wasn’t feeling particularly down before

  2. amanda_alexander

    Fantastic Grace.. LOVE the post it’s on the Mac. Thank you

    • Grace Marshall

      Thanks Amanda! Still have the Stay Strong one on here and it’s working its magic!

  3. Diane Warburton

    i just had a look at ‘momentum’ and I’m downloading it. The to-do list is transparent apparently, which isn’t great but at least I know what my to do list is and it does just serve as a reminder. Fingers crossed it works for me! 🙂 Thanks heaps for the heads up

    • Diane Warburton

      I’m laughing at myself; the screen is asking me for my focus and I haven’t even thought of just one for today yet. It’s forcing me to do it! It’s like my own personal kick up the derriere 🙂

      • Grace Marshall

        Haha! Love that it’s working for you already Diane 🙂

  4. Richard Tubb

    A fabulous blog post Grace, thank you! I wasn’t aware of Momentum – so I’m off to download that now.

    Great story about the man with the password. A timely reminder that the words we use each day can help us stay on track and reach our goals (or take us away from them, if we use negative words!)

    • Grace Marshall

      Have fun with it Richard! Yes it’s so true how our words shape our world.

Image if author Grace Marshall

About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

Like what youre reading?

Subscribe and join me in  conversation!

I will never sell your data. You can unsubscribe at any time. Here’s our privacy policy.

Want to  Explore?

Related  Posts

Pin It on Pinterest