Use “The Dentist Appointment Strategy” to Get Deeply Focused Without Distractions

It’s no secret that we get better results in life when we’re less distracted.

  • When we’re fully engaged with a workout, we get stronger, faster.
  • When we’re 100% focused (+ focusing on the most important things at work) we make more progress in less time.
  • And when we’re completely present with loved-ones, we take the relationships deeper than would be possible otherwise.  

Better presence = better results. 

It’s not complicated. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

And presence is mostly about eliminating distractions. When you let go of all distractions, all that’s left is the depth of your presence.

(If you haven’t checked them out yet, you might wanna read How to Minimize Distractions and be More Productive (The 3 I’s Framework) and 21 Proven Ways to Stay Focused Every Day.)

But today I wanna give you a simple tool you can start using immediately. When I was starting to learn about presence, this is one of the only ways that I could get myself to fully let go of distractions while at work.

For many of us, the biggest barrier to presence is the worry about what other people might think of us.

  • We fear missing out on an “important” update, so we keep email, texts, and messaging notifications coming through.
  • We fear being judged as unresponsive—or even worse, that our responsiveness is what determines our level of contribution as teammates/employees/leaders.
  • We fear taking ownership for determining what’s truly most important and defer to the wishes of others.

There’s an easy hack you can use to circumvent this cycle of self-concern.
I call it The Dentist Appointment Strategy

Here’s how it works:

Anytime you have a thought that you should disrupt your presence to follow a distraction…simply pretend that you’re in a dentist appointment for the next chunk of time.

If you were laid out in the dentist’s chair, with the hygienist’s hands in your mouth, you wouldn’t think twice about not responding to emails. You’d have zero worries about being seen as “unresponsive”. You’d simply rest in the moment of the appointment.

The same can be true for your work. Or your time with loved ones. Or anything else that matters.

All you have to do is treat it with the importance that you would a dentist appointment.

So when the sirens of distraction try and summon you out of presence, saying things like:

  • “You should really check email.”
  • “They might think you’re ignoring them!”
  • “What will they think of you if it takes [insert timeframe here] to respond?!”

Just imagine that you’re in an appointment where it would be unreasonable for you to do any of those things.

And bring yourself back to what’s important now.


What important appointments do you want to make with yourself this week? What are the most important things that, if given your full attention, could make the biggest positive difference in your life?

Create space for those things by dropping some time on your calendar. And when that time comes around, use The Dentist Appointment Strategy to keep your presence sharp.

High-fives + let’s do this!

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