5 Habits of Highly Focused People

#1: Procrastinate productively

Nick Wignall
8 min readAug 20


Photo by Nicola Giordano

The biggest reason people struggle to focus is that they don’t understand what focus really is.

Most of us think about focus like willpower — the effort you apply to keep your mind on one thing when it wants to go somewhere else. But this is only a tiny part of focus — and by far the least important.

The ability to focus deeply and for long stretches of time is the result of many habits cultivated over time.

If you want to produce great work, you need to master the art of focus. And to do that, you need to cultivate the right habits.

Here are 5 habits of highly focused people that will lead to deeper focus and outstanding results no matter what kind of work you’re doing.

1. Procrastinate productively

Truly productive people embrace procrastination rather than fight against it.

At first glance, the terms productive and procrastination would appear to be opposites. After all, one of the biggest reasons people cite for their difficulty focusing is the tendency to procrastinate.

But what if procrastination itself isn’t really the problem? What if the real problem is that people don’t know how to procrastinate the right way?

Productive procrastination means cultivating a set of activities you can procrastinate on that will still lead you to be productive in the long run.

For example: While my main work is writing, occasionally I procrastinate on it. I say “screw it” to whatever writing goal or task I set myself for that morning and lose myself in another activity that seems more enjoyable — often reading or web design.

Even though I am avoiding my work, both reading and web design are highly beneficial for my work in the long run. Reading is a form of research for future articles, for example. While web design makes my articles easier to read, more enjoyable, easier to share — all of which are hugely beneficial as a writer.

But here’s the real secret of productive procrastination:

Allow yourself to procrastinate in small ways and you’ll rarely end up procrastinating in major



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com