15 Ways to Help You Stay Focused at Work
Interviews / Opinions

15 Ways to Help You Stay Focused at Work

, Content Marketing Manager

You begin your work day determined to succeed. You open your first task and already your mind is drifting away to what you should have for lunch.

You’re feeling unmotivated, stressed out and—quite frankly—overwhelmed by the work that’s been piling up.

We feel you. Sometimes, staying focused at work can be a real struggle. And each day you’re not feeling productive enough makes every subsequent day even harder. A true domino effect.

But, fear not! We’ve got 15 ways to stay focused at work that will help you regain control of your productivity.

Let’s get started.

How to stay focused at work with a functional office space

Your office setup is a very important aspect of your work. Maintaining focus can be very difficult when you don’t have the proper tools or equipment needed for your job (and comfort).

Create a pleasant and functional environment that prepares you to seize the workday!

1. Avoid lags

Slow computers and connections can really grind your gears.

You may have been deep in focus, when suddenly you see a spinning wheel on your desktop and the little Google dinosaur almost mocking you for not having an Internet connection.

Ensure you’re running on the latest software. Get rid of any files or apps to free up space on your computer that may be slowing things down. Keep essential tabs open and close the ones that are not imminently necessary.

Make sure you have a good and stable connection to prevent any delays in searching, uploading or downloading anything you need.

2. Use a second screen

Having a second screen may seem odd at first, but once you get used to it, you can’t live without it.

Think of it as spreading out your work in a way that helps you better visualize it.

You can use the first screen to search for things, while the second can be used for your work doc. This way you can avoid using your mental energy on finding the right tabs and getting distracted in the process.

3. Sit in an ergonomic chair

Our bodies are constantly in what I like to call the “banana” position. Crouched over a desk in the shape of a banana.

Bad posture usually leads to chronic neck and back pain, which in itself makes it really difficult to focus. Therefore, investing in a good office chair will make working at a desk more comfortable and ultimately more productive.

Some companies have budget for office equipment and would be able to accommodate such requests. Be sure to ask your HR team if they can provide you with one.

4. Declutter your space

In this case, less is more. Losing focus may also be because you’ve got a ton of unnecessary stuff lying around. Clean up your desk and only keep the essentials. This will eliminate distractions, reduce your stress levels, and you’ll be able to focus better.

15 Ways to Help You Stay Focused at Work

Eliminate distractions to boost your productivity

To concentrate on important tasks, you need to create a distraction free environment. Staying focused at work is much easier when you make small but significant changes to your day.

5. Turn off notifications

Whether this is on your phone or on Slack, make sure that you pause your notifications when you’re working on tasks that require your undivided attention. A small ping can really make you lose focus and mess with your productivity.

Some phones and laptops have focus settings that you can customize to fit your needs. Or, simply put the phone away and get back to it during your break or at the end of the workday.

6. Set focus time

Another good way to stay focused at work is to ensure your coworkers know when to ping you and when not to.

Blocking time on your calendar to focus on your tasks will reduce last-minute meeting invites and make your colleagues aware of your work schedule. Some calendars have integrations with your Slack, so your status is always up-to-date.

7. Wear noise-cancelling headphones

It can be very frustrating to get through your to-do list while there’s a whole lot of commotion and background noise.

The solution? Noise-cancelling headphones. Then, you can avoid hearing Chatty Cathy go on about her weekend, but you can also listen to that sweet music you love and can concentrate with.

How to stay focused at work by planning your daily tasks

One of the reasons people struggle to stay focused at work is because they often don’t have a clear view of what they need to achieve each day.

It can be hard to prioritize and juggle a number of different tasks. Therefore, here’s what you can do to ensure that you’re not only focused at work but you can accomplish more than you set out to.

8. Set clear goals each day

Begin your workday with clear, attainable goals is the key to success.

Take 10–15 minutes at the start of your day to outline your priority tasks and tackle them based on urgency and importance. You can use productivity tools like Asana, Trello, or even a simple notepad to list your objectives.

This will guide your focus throughout the day and give you a sense of direction. Every time you achieve one of these goals, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that is sure to keep you motivated to complete the rest of your to do list.

9. Use the Pomodoro Technique

Boost your concentration and avoid burnout by breaking your work into intervals, commonly known as the Pomodoro Technique. Work for 25 minutes without disruptions, then take a five-minute break. These intervals (or Pomodoros) help maintain high productivity levels by balancing focused work sessions with short breaks to refresh your mind.

10. Avoid multitasking

Multitasking can reduce quality and efficiency. Focus on one task at a time to maximize your productivity. When you split your attention, each task takes longer and is completed with less care. By staying focused and dedicating your full attention to a single task, you’ll produce higher quality work and complete tasks faster than if you were juggling multiple at once.

11. Follow the two-minute rule

The core premise of this rule is simple. If a task can be completed in two minutes or less, do it immediately. This keeps small tasks from accumulating and overwhelming your to-do list. Plus, it makes good use of the little pockets of time that fill your day, enhancing your overall efficiency.

Being mindful of your well-being

Taking care of ourselves is at the core of our well-being. We need to be mindful of our actions. This will ensure that not only are we focused at work, but we’re mentally present in everything we do.

12. Take a break

Understandably, that sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? However, taking regular breaks can actually boost your productivity and help you focus on one task. If you’re working on an important task for a long period of time without a break, that can really impact your attention span and reduce your level of concentration. Whereas, a short break allows you to decompress and return to the task at hand even more enthusiastically.

What you’ll do with your break is your own business. Have some lunch, take a walk, continue your online training — it doesn’t matter. As long as you take some time for yourself to do something other than work.

The point is not to work hours on end. The point is for you to be productive and effective.

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13. Try exercising

Now, we don’t mean that you should start a marathon or join the Olympics. In fact, it’s much simpler than that.

Taking a brisk 15-minute walk can significantly reduce stress and improve your concentration. This is because any type of exercise helps release endorphins into your system, which are known to boost your mood and energy levels.

14. Get enough sleep

We underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.

It’s when our brain gets rid of any toxic waste and our body restores energy and repairs cells. Waking up tired and groggy is only going to make it harder to stay focused at work.

So, make sure you get a good 8 hours of sleep every night. Once you commit to a healthy and consistent sleeping schedule, you’ll feel energized and motivated to start off your day.

15. Reduce your caffeine intake

Caffeinated drinks are known stimulants and can help with concentration. However, we tend to overly rely on caffeine to get us through the day and disregard its negative effects.

Caffeine usually stays in your system for up to 12 hours. Therefore, if you’re unable to focus during that time, chances are that more coffee won’t do the trick.

Also, consuming too much coffee or tea can actually make you more agitated and stressed. This will not only make you less productive, but you may also be more prone to making mistakes. I’m guessing that’s not what you want!

Final thoughts

Not being able to perform your best can leave you feeling overwhelmed. And it definitely takes a toll on your mental health. But, we all have our bad days, or even bad months. Give yourself permission to accept that sometimes you won’t be performing to the best of your abilities, and that’s ok. Your well-being takes priority.

There’s no one-size-fits-all remedy to tackle your lack of focus. Whether it’s more exercise or reducing your time-wasting habits, you’ll make that call.

Some people focus better with music, some prefer to work in complete silence. Therefore, what you choose to do is up to you.

It’s important for you to really think about the reasons you’re struggling. Understanding what isn’t working is the first step to overcome any challenge. Once you know what’s pulling you down, then you can select the right technique and get yourself back on track.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and see what will help you with your concentration.

Save time, frustration and money with TalentLMS, the most-affordable and user-friendly learning management system on the market. Try it for free for as long as you want and discover why our customers consistently give us 4.5 stars (out of 5!)

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Marialena Kanaki - Content Marketing Manager

Marialena hates talking about herself in the third person. She loves to inspire people with authenticity. And she prioritizes that in all her content—without the need for smoke and mirrors.

Marialena Kanaki LinkedIn

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