EP 29: Trouble Concentrating? How to Get the Most Out of Your Work Time

Welcome, welcome to episode number 29 of the PBH podcast. The momentum is growing, the community is growing, and more people are finding value from me rambling, which is awesome. Thank you all for your listening ears and support.

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episode 29 of the Photo Business Help Podcast with Natalie Jennings
Trouble Concentrating? How to Get the Most out of Your Work Time

On today’s show I’d like to address the idea of concentration. Hopefully it’s obvious, but I’m not a doctor. Nor am I assuming that this is a panacea. I realize that certain folks require medical assistance in the form of therapy or medication. This episode is meant to address a general problem based on my personal experience and speaking with others. 


For a long time I was finding that I’d have an afternoon or morning free and clear to work on my to do list, only to get next to nothing done. And it kept happening. An antsy feeling. Distracted, unfocused, and not productive at all.

I certainly haven’t cracked the code, but I want to share some of the things that have helped me not only concentrate more intently, but be more efficient with my precious work time.

Here are actionable steps you can take to maximize your office hours:

The first thing to keep in mind when we’re dealing with concentration is distraction. This might seem obvious, but we’re so conditioned to rings, and buzzes, and dings, and beeps from our computers, phones, and smart speakers that it makes the Jetson’s look old school…which, I suppose they are anyway.

If you don’t believe me, try it. Put your phone on silent. On iphones this is especially nice because if there’s an emergency, someone can call twice in a minute in silent mode and the second call will go through. So if you have kiddos or a partner, just let them know to call twice in an emergency. You’re going off grid for a while.

Next, log out of all of your social media. Anything that alerts you about anything, turn it off for at least 60 minutes. 

Once it’s sufficiently distraction-free, including a quick bathroom break or coffee warm up, you’re ready for the next step: write down NO MORE than 3 things you’d like to complete or make a solid effort towards. For example, mine for today was: record two podcast episodes, edit two podcast episodes, and send out a newsletter 

Nothing crazy, but still a very direct list. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a bigger list, you’re just not going to look at it during this focus stretch.

You’re almost ready. For me, this last steps helps a TON. It might not be your thing, but I suggest giving it a try: music without lyrics. House, classical, jazz, meditation, whatever. And if you have noise cancelling headphones, even better. This will help you settle into a work rhythm without getting distracted by song lyrics. In a loud cafe it keeps the other conversations and distractions out, too. If you’re at home, it can be an intense work zone out stretch.

Finally, set a timer. Start small with, say 20 minutes. Work up to 90 or more without a break. Without a phone call or interruption of any kind. JUST the thing you said you’d work on.

Once more, here’s my way of getting more out of your work time:

Turn off distractions

Log out of social media

Write down no more than 3 tasks

Crank the lyric-free music

Set a timer

Before I sign off, I have a kind of challenge/request. If this is you, the person who gets distracted when they sit down for a work sprint, I challenge you to try this stuff out for 2 or more days this week. Then I want to hear from you! If you’re in the Photo Business Help group on FB, send me a note. How did episode 29 help you? What did you notice?

If you’re not in the group, request to join. If FB isn’t your thing, you can send me a note directly to with the title Episode 29 helped me. That’s to tell me how episode 29 helped you out.

If you’d like to dig into this focus and concentration stuff a little bit more, I highly recommend the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. I’ll link to a copy in the notes or you can grab yours at and scroll down through my library of favorites. That’s to dig into this topic much deeper in the book Deep Work.

And that’s it! Until next time, in all you want to achieve, consistency is key.


Deep Work:




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