Everyone has to manage stress and distraction each day. 

It’s such a huge problem major university’s like Yale Medical School have built a Stress Center for stress research and consults. Sound like a big problem?

Top Performers are better at it than others, because they have mastered a few techniques to stay out of those traps during the day.

It turns out that there’s two major disrupters to good habits——Stress and Distraction, which you can quickly reduce significantly with the techniques I outline below.


Everyday someone tells me, “I’m stressed out.” Few people do something effective about it. There’s really two types of stress.

  1. Short-term situational stress (difficulty with a deal or project, argument with partner, etc. )
  2. Long-term stress (health problems, loss, family/relationship problems, etc.)

The ‘To-Do’ part of stress management is up to you (as it should be), but without a go-to strategy in place, it can simply lead to another action that does not solve your root problem.

All you need is 5 minutes! If you don’t have 5 minutes, you’ll never free yourself from stress.

One of the easiest forms of temporary stress reduction is deep-breathing for 5 minutes. Here’s a 5 minute basic breathing exercise  Give one a try! (I personally use the Insight Meditation Timer App).

Having a breathing or meditation app on your smartphone is the easiest way to have instant access to regain focus in the face of stress.

For long term stress issues, consider professional input—schedule the appointment you’ve been putting off. That can include feedback from people as follows: Nutritionist, Physician, Psychotherapist, Fitness Coach, etc.


We live in a world of distraction that constantly disrupts a state of focus and attention. There is no such thing as multi-tasking with deep focus.

Focus and attention are necessary for skills including problem-solving, creativity, strategy, and many more outcome-based skills.

To eliminate good habits from being displaced by distraction, there are several easy strategies to implement to minimize distraction.

  1. During distraction free time, make the decision to turn off of all email/texts, alerts.
  1. Schedule (yes, put it on your calendar or set an alarm) distraction free time for your most important reading and writing on a daily basis, or whichever routine you need to be effective.
  1. If you need to create distraction free time with your team, set better boundaries or tell your team  you’re adjusting your schedule to increase performance and be more effective, and share this leadership skill with them and help them to do the same.


Professionals most effective at significantly reducing stress and distraction adopt positive psychological behaviors in their daily lives. These include routines like:

  • Meditation/Deep-Breathing
  • Exercise
  • Healthy-Eating
  • Sufficient Sleep
  • Creative Time
  • Journaling


  1. Pick a Positive Habit
  2. Set a Block of Time
  3. Schedule it
  4. Commit!

According to some interesting studies on habit research, if you commit to 4 sessions each week over 6 weeks, you increase your ability to automate a good habit.

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