Three Tips to Improve Focus

Written by Maureen Paulsen on Monday, September 14th, 2015

Baby's got focus.

Baby’s got focus.

I had the tremendous privilege of becoming a Mom in June.  While I was on maternity leave navigating my new world of infant care, like every rookie mother, I suddenly became a multitasking machine.  Pick up a dropped burp cloth with my foot while unloading the dishwasher with one hand and holding the baby in the other?  No problem.

By sheer necessity, I mastered the art of doing many things at once.  And while physical multitasking may have helped me survive those first sleep-deprived months, now that I’m back at work I’m reminded of the hazards of mental multitasking.  More than ever, I’m realizing the importance of focus to be my most effective and efficient.

One of my favorite pieces on this topic is a brief, but very useful handout from The Center for BrainHealth* at the University of Texas at Dallas, excerpted below:

Boost Your Brain Power

The Power of None:

Your brain builds deeper connections when it is at rest.  To have your next A-ha moment, quiet your mind.

 The Power of One:

Your brain is not wired to do two things at once.  Instead of multitasking, sequential task.

 The Power of Two:

When writing your to-do list, focus on the two things that will have the most impact and require the most attention and strategic thinking.  As T. Boone Pickens says, “When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits.”

We love these tips and apply them in our approach as much as possible.  We schedule regular work blocks to concentrate solely on a specific client or project.  And at the start of every day, each MPD team member sends out an email identifying our two top priority tasks—it helps to keep us focused on the ‘elephants’ and knock out the work that must get done.  If you haven’t tried applying the above tactics in your company, give them a try.  Here’s to a productive Fall and stellar Q4, guided by focus!

Related:  read more about focus in a past blog.

*The Center for BrainHealth is a fantastic resource for research and training on how to work and live smarter, and is also a generous partner to one our firm’s beloved charities, Attitudes & Attire.  As part of Attitudes & Attire’s Boots to Heels program, the Center provides specialized cognitive training programs for female veterans who are transitioning to civilian life. To learn more about the Center for BrainHealth, visit their website.

About Maureen Paulsen

Maureen PaulsenMaureen brings more than 20 years of marketing and communications experience to her role, where she develops brand strategies and communications programs for a diverse group of clients. She specializes in creating innovative marketing and advertising campaign concepts. In 2011, she received a Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications. Prior to joining MPD Ventures, Maureen worked as the marketing communications manager for one of the largest law firms in Texas, where she led a major rebranding initiative. Her past experience includes freelance writing and project management for a Boston-based energy services provider.

Maureen is a longtime volunteer for Dallas nonprofit agency Attitudes & Attire and a past president of the organization’s board of directors. She earned her undergraduate degree in English and art history at Wellesley College. Outside of work Maureen cherishes being with her two young children and her husband, Ben.