How to focus

By Randell Tiongson on September 19th, 2011

I recently guested in Antony Pangilinan’s show “Magbago Tayo’ at Radyo 5 (92.3) & Aksyon TV. My good friend and school buddy, and one of the country’s best training expert Ardy Abello was pinch hitting as the host as Anthony (also a good friend and school buddy) was in Davao.

I shared my thoughts on the usual personal finance stuff I usually talk about which was great, but I was delighted to interact with another guest who was talking about his new book, Productive Pinoy. The author was Yeng Remulla, a very young and successful entrepreneur who was also a former member of the famous band True Faith. Yeng’s book is an awesome way for us to review ourselves and improve our productivity. It is really encouraging to see young guys like Yeng taking the lead in helping improve Pinoys in general. During the hearty discussion in the show, Ardy and I was enthralled by the wisdom of Yeng — specially when Ardy shared an excerpt from his book. The snippet was all about how to stay in focus and Yeng’s 10 point recommendation hits the spot, bulls eye!

Here are Yeng’s priceless tips:

(1)  Phone in Silent Mode. Use the features of your phone. Missed call logs are there to help you. Don’t worry you can always return the call when you are ready. Don’t feel guilty!

Note: Don’t miss a call for an important event or a transaction about to happen.

(2) Ignore text messages during your Focus Time. You can always read it later. Don’t put it to vibrating mode either.

(3) Turn off your email notification app or your email app.

Close any window in your desktop that you are not using. Yes, including those Messenger and Facebook windows.

(4) Check your email two to three times a day only. Avoid checking your email every 10 minutes. Set time intervals. Set a few minutes in the morning around 10:00am, then check again around 3:00pm. Find out what time works for you.

This will allow you to reply to your emails in bulk, saving you time and allowing you to focus on other things. Besides, it’s more fun to answer emails simultaneously.

(5) Close and lock the door. If you run a home-based business, you’ll find it difficult to separate work and home. Decide to close doors. Consider that room your nine to five office. Let your family know that you need that “uninterrupted” time to get things done.

If you are attending to kids, set your FOCUS Time during nap time or while they are watching their favorite TV shows. In this way, the interruption is minimal (they forget about you when they are watching).

(6) Set a fixed schedule for your FOCUS Time. Make it predictable. Make the people around you aware of this schedule. This will lessen interruption. Let them know that this is your sacred private time.

(7) Your To-Do List must be within reach. Let’s say you are working on a project and your creative juices are flowing; suddenly, you remember something important that you need to do and it’s not related to what you are currently doing. This is how to proceed: Grab a pen and write it down on your To Do list. Then, forget about it and continue with what you were doing earlier.

Writing it down or dumping it on paper frees your mind from thinking about it. If you are running your To-Do List app in your computer, keep that window minimized or in the background. Pop when needed.

(8) Hire an assistant to filter your calls. Answer only calls that you need to answer yourself. Write an instruction on how to handle phone calls– give it to your assistant. This will save you time and energy.

(9) Finish all errands in the morning or in the evening.

Deciding when to do errands frees your mind from worrying about it. Block an hour or a little more to do errands all together.

(10) Go somewhere else. Leave the house or the office. Go to the nearest café, the ambiance might inspire you. It might get you in the mood to be creative or analytical. Go to Starbucks and try a hot, grande breve latte. Put 3 packs of brown sugar. It’s not in the menu, but the barista will be delighted to make the drink for you. Sip and enjoy!

I’m enjoying Productive Pinoy book and it is teaching me so much on how to improve things I normally do. A highly recommended book not just for entrepreneurs but for everyone.

Well done Mr. Yeng Remulla! We need more guys like you to write books and teach guys like me.


6 thoughts on “How to focus”

  • I’ve started reading this book last week and I’m still not yet done.

    I just don’t wanna just browse through it. Each page has tons of lessons and I’m taking every bit of them into heart. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write my review this week. Everyone should really grab this book.

  • Thanks a lot Mr. Randell for sharing those helpful tips.
    I will definitely buy that book – Productive Pinoy
    Stay blessed!


    Cez Paez – Mizukoshi
    Professional Real Estate Broker
    VP Las Pinas City Real Estate Board Inc.

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How to focus