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The Best Ways to Increase Focus, Productivity, and Output

The Best, 2/16/18

The Best is our daily compilation of cool stuff we’ve found IRL and around the web. Every day we will share what we are reading, watching, listening to, doing, or pondering. If you have suggestions for what we should include in future segments, let us know in the comments below!

You can’t be highly productive at work without a quality working environment. That’s why we’ve partnered with Fully to bring you today’s newsletter!

The team at Fully is revolutionizing productivity in the workplace with their amazing standing desks, chairs, and office accessories. A huge thanks to Fully for sponsoring our newsletter and for supporting independent media like The Mission! We recently got some Fully gear at The Mission HQ, and we’ll be reporting back soon. Here is our early feedback and bottom line:

Explore incorporating comfort, different postures, and movement into your work routine. You will get more done. Science shows you’ll be far healthier if you do!

From standing desks to anti-fatigue mats to ‘active’ chairs, Fully’s got everything you need to revamp your office. Check ’em out.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” ―Harvey MacKay


Deep Work by Cal Newport

“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love — is the sum of what you focus on.” ―Cal Newport

Want more from Cal? Check out this awesome interview from the Beyond the To Do List Podcast:

Focus: Cal Newport on Distractions, Focus and Deep Work

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

“Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.” ―Charles Duhigg

Scientific Study: The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity


Brain Food Playlist

From the playlist, here are a few songs I recommend starting with:

Another strategy that might help you achieve deep focus is something that Ryan Holiday suggests. Play a song on repeat for hours.


Lecture: Daniel Goleman on Focus: The Secret to High Performance and Fulfilment

TED Talk: How To Multiply Your Time by Rory Vaden


Your DIY challenge is to take control of the environment that you work in. Set yourself up for success by setting up your office in way that encourages maximum efficiency and minimum distraction.

Need some ideas? Here are 14 Tools to Help You Avoid Distractions and Stay Focused at Work.

Q & A

Q: In what ways do you change your environment to achieve max productivity, focus, and output?

A: To encourage success at work, I do a variety of things that ensure consistent physical comfort and mental sharpness:

For my body:

  • A convertible desk — This allows me to spend most of my day standing.
  • A balance disk — When I do stand, I typically stand on one of these. This helps keep my feet moving so that I don’t stand too long in one place.
  • An ‘active’ chair — I’m a really antsy person, so it’s hard for me to sit still at a desk. Being able to quickly move into whatever position I want has helped me focus more on my work and less on my body.
  • Working out regularly — While this isn’t something I necessarily do at the office, working out every morning keeps my body healthy and prepares my mind for the day.

For my mind:

  • Soundproof, Bluetooth headphones — No cords to get in the way while I move around working, plus they block out 90% of outside sound.
  • Music that helps me focus — This varies from day to day, but typically consists of piano music or music from the Brain Food playlist mentioned above.
  • Packed Food — I prepare my breakfast and lunch for the next day every night before I go to bed. This ensures that I eat healthily and don’t distract myself later on in the day with restaurant trips or random fridge visits.
  • Scheduled Breaks — Remaining in one spot all day (sitting or standing) isn’t good for you. You will need mental breaks and time to stretch your legs, so plan for that when devising your work routine. Schedule in stretch, walking, and even socializing breaks.
  • ‘I’m not here’ time — This is time every day that I set aside to work on projects that require my complete attention. I turn off all notifications, put my phone on Do Not Disturb (and usually leave it in a different room from me), and close my office door.

I hope these suggestions help you! Ever since instilling a few of these very basic habits, I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in my ability to focus and knock work out.

What kind of stuff do you guys do to ensure you are productive at work? Let us know in the comments below!

Questions, thoughts, suggestions? Holla at us in the comments below, or hit us up on Twitter or Instagram at @TheMissionHQ, with the #TheBest and we’ll try to help!

That’s it for today’s edition of The Best. We’ll be back Monday with more great content like this! Hope everyone has a great Friday!



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