8 'insanely busy' self-made millionaires: How we stay laser-focused and productive during coronavirus

Tony Fadell, Inventor of the iPod and former CEO of Nest attends a conference during Viva Technology at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on June 16, 2017 in Paris, France.
(Getty | Christophe Morin)

It's never been easier to get distracted, especially with so many people working at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

So what are some effective ways to avoid constantly shifting gears? We asked these insanely busy self-made millionaires, business leaders and Advisors in The Oracles to share how they stay laser-focused and productive:

1. 'Take a walk, but leave your devices at home.'

"Before the Internet and smartphones, distractions were limited to talking to someone or reading something. Now with the Internet and many devices this is 100 times worse.

In each phase in my career, I've learned we all have something in common: Prioritizing our tasks and sticking to our calendars optimizes our productivity.

Second, clear your virtual desk as well as your actual working space. We've all been there where we have too many tabs opened in our browsers.

Last, perhaps one of the simplest ways I burn off stress and distraction: Go exercise or take a walk (without devices!) Just moving or meditating can help us refocus and often find the answer we were seeking."

—Tony Fadell, founder of Nest; inventor of the iPod; principal at Future Shape.

2. 'Find a quiet place and make a list.'

"Whenever I feel distracted, I find a quiet place and write down everything I need to do. I love that feeling of crossing tasks off my list. It creates a sense of accomplishment that prevents me from feeling overwhelmed."

Gretchen Carlson, former "Fox and Friends" host; founder of the Gift of Courage Fund; named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World"; New York Times best-selling author of "Be Fierce."

3. 'Establish a plan and routine.'

"As someone with attention deficit disorder, I've found that focus requires a consistent routine — which you have to plan for. As Benjamin Franklin once said, 'If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.'

I have a 30-60-90-day plan that helps me avoid procrastination and stay the course. Also, before bedtime, I write down my intentions for the next day, then I meditate and exercise in the morning. Starting my day with purpose helps keep my body and mind aligned."

Holly Parker, founder and CEO of The Holly Parker Team at Douglas Elliman; award-winning broker with over $8 billion in sales. Connect with Holly on LinkedIn and Instagram.

4. 'Create a clear process for each and every task.'

"At our company, task management is a way of life. We don't live in our inboxes. Instead, we break everything down into tasks and block time on our calendars per client, project and activity.

We have processes that outline exactly when and how to complete each deliverable. This ensures nothing slips through the cracks and that we don't lose focus."

—Bill Gerber, co-founder of, a virtual accounting service for small businesses. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn.

5. 'Schedule tasks for no more than 2 to 30 minutes.'

"With everyone quarantined at home during the pandemic, structure is more important than ever. I block every 30 minutes on my calendar with what I'll be doing during that time (i.e., meditating, taking Zoom calls, exercising).

With calls, I make sure they only last anywhere between two and 25 minutes. This keeps us focused on the agenda without getting sidetracked."

—Akemi Sue Fisher, Amazon millionaire and business strategist; CEO and founder of Love and Launch. Connect with Akemi on Instagram.

6. 'Brain dump on paper.'

"Having too many ideas, tasks and distractions floating around in your mind is like having multiple browsers, tabs and apps open on your desktop.

So every morning, I write down my top three priorities and plan around them. If additional thoughts or tasks come up throughout the day, I write them down in order of priority.

This 'brain dumping' method minimizes how much my mind is juggling and preserves my mental energy for things that really matter in the present moment."

Tom Shieh, CEO of Crimcheck; advisory board member to Defy Ventures; advisor to Tiny Devotions. Connect with Tom on Facebook.

7. 'I never multitask.'

"Multitasking is a myth. When you try to do two or more things at once, you're just switching between them — and therefore producing poor quality of work. 

Today's technology is often designed to encourage us to multitask, which is why you need structures to combat the temptation to do so. Some of my structures include keeping a to-do list and responding to messages in batches."

Judd Rosenblatt, founder and CEO of AE Studio, an agile web development and data science consulting firm (vote for the charity they donate to next month).

8. 'Start with hiring a good coach.'

"Accountability is the key to focus, and I've found that one of the best ways to achieve accountability is to hire a productivity coach. If you like, trust and respect your coach, you'll do what you say you will — instead of making excuses for why you didn't.

A great coach doesn't judge you. Instead, they make you feel comfortable being honest. Like a GPS, they remind you where you want to go if you get off track and help you find the best route."

Shaun Rawls, founder and CEO of Rawls Consulting; built The Rawls Group of Keller Williams to over $4 billion in annual sales; author of the upcoming book "F'-It-Less." Connect with Shaun on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Oracles is a mastermind group of the world's leading entrepreneurs who share their success strategies to help others grow their businesses and build better lives. For more, follow The Oracles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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