How to Stay Focused at Work: Ways to Level up your Productivity

You’re in the zone, getting things done when all of a sudden something pulls you away – an email notification pops up, feeling hungry, or even a coworker coming over to chat.

It can be hard to refocus after getting sidetracked, especially when you’ve lost five minutes, fifteen minutes, or maybe even an hour of work time. You might not remember where you left off or why you got distracted in the first place. But luckily, you are not alone in struggling with this!

What is the focus?

Focus is the cognitive ability to pay attention and concentrate on specific tasks. It is not a static practice; it requires dedication, effort, and regular intervals of concentration. Focus helps us get the job done faster by cutting distractions and removing irrelevant facts. A lack of focus causes more mistakes and leads to inefficient use of time.

The main causes of concentration are two main ones: internal forces and external forces. The internal forces are how well we can focus on a task, how we prioritize tasks and how comfortable our work environment is. External forces include how often colleagues visit, how many phone calls you receive, how many emails you get and how much background noise there is.

Why do I struggle to focus at work?

It is very normal to have trouble focusing at work. There are many possible causes such as

  • Lack of sleep: not getting enough sleep can negatively affect energy levels and cognitive abilities, leading to difficulty staying focused on tasks.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): people with ADHD have been found to have trouble focusing in particular when they are presented with numerous tasks.
  • Feeling overwhelmed: with a long to-do list, how can you stay focused on one task and make sure you don’t lose focus
  • Stressful lifestyle: how can you maintain focus and stay productive with a hectic work schedule, deadlines, and other stressful situations? Reduce stress by staying focused on the task at hand.
  • Depression: This can lead to difficulty staying focused on tasks.

How can I stay focused at work?

Staying focused at work does not have to be a difficult task. To stay on track, it is important to identify how you are currently losing focus and how to best address it. Here are some suggestions that may help:

Create a to-do list

Prioritize tasks in order of importance and work through them one by one, taking breaks as necessary. To do lists help maintain focus and prioritize tasks in a way that better suits how you work best. One of the primary causes of a decline in focus is not having a solid plan. Consequently, our monkey mind unchains itself and we lose our concentration. To tame your monkey mind, try making a to do list of the important tasks you need to accomplish and how long they will take.

Organize your workstation.

The state of our immediate surroundings has a direct influence on our brains. If your work area is cluttered and disorderly, you will feel distracted and lost throughout the day.

They say that your desk is a reflection of your habits and personality. If it is piled up with files and other stuff, you might like to organize it a little. Cleaning up and organizing your work area takes only minutes, but can have a giant impact on helping you focus better and stay more productive.

Focus on one task at a time

Prioritize your tasks based on importance and urgency. You may be busy with countless things daily. Taking on numerous tasks at once can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Instead, concentrate on one task at a time and avoid multitasking. Doing multiple tasks or attending to two things simultaneously, will result in taking longer time to complete them. It may also result in more mistakes and a lack of focus. Perform a single task at a go and stay focused until it is complete.

Eliminate digital distractions

Surfing the internet or checking notifications during work hours can be tempting when you feel like you’re in a lull. To stay focused, turn off all notifications or sounds from your email and social media apps. To improve focus, put away your cell phones in a desk drawer and keep conference rooms distraction-free. spend time on the tasks that you need to complete and that can positively impact your work performance.

Use productivity tools

Remote workers should use tools like the Pomodoro technique to stay on task. This is a time-management technique that breaks down work into intervals and encourages breaks as part of the process. This can help you stay focused on one task at a time and provide an extra boost of focus and attention to get things done quickly.

Choose suitable music

Listening to instrumental music can help us stay focused and positively impact our brain power. Choose suitable music that does not distract you from the task at hand – classical, jazz, rock, or even chillout.

Get a good night’s sleep

Sleeping at least 8 hours a night can help improve your focus and concentration during the day. Make sure you are getting enough sleep to improve your cognitive abilities and increase focus.

Take short breaks and exercise more

Letting your mind rest for a few minutes can help you refocus and stay more productive throughout the day. Physical activity can also positively impact your mental focus and overall productivity at work. Taking five minutes, at least five times a day, to stretch your neck, shoulders, arms, and legs is important. Get yourself a standing desk or try sitting on an exercise ball while working.

A socially distant walk or run is a great way to catch up with a friend. You don’t have to go too far – even walking around your block or house is beneficial. Work out more often for better energy levels and more focus.

Prioritize tasks

The first hours of working are when everyone gets productive. Don’t waste this precious time by focusing on the wrong tasks. Figuring out what your high-priority tasks are, will help you stay focused. Prioritize your tasks and tackle the urgent tasks first. Choose one task in advance and focus only on that.

When jumping from email to email, or project to project, prioritizing your tasks is crucial. It’s easy enough for you to figure out the priorities of tasks you want. You can always figure out how to approach them better. This will help you pay closer attention to the important tasks rather than becoming overwhelmed with all the tasks that need to be completed.

Set boundaries

Maintaining focus by setting boundaries with coworkers, family, and friends. Let them know when you’re available, and stick to it as much as possible. This is how you set yourself up for success with your work and how you can stay focused at work. Let those around you know when you need to be left alone or when it is ok for them to approach you.

Be mindful

It’s easy to lose focus in the middle of a task, especially for those suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If you feel overwhelmed or facing difficulty concentrating on a particularly difficult task, practice breathing exercises, take a short break, and come back.

Know your triggers

The more likely we are to be distracted, the bigger the pull something has on our attention. To help us stay focused, we need to be increasingly aware of ourselves and perform deep introspection. This way, we can figure out where our boundaries lie.

There are three important cues to either set boundaries or become more aware of when your boundaries start slipping:

  • Discomfort
  • Resentment
  • Guilt

These feelings can act as your triggers, letting you know that it’s time to take a break or adjust how you are doing things.

Take regular breaks

Even if you are on a roll, try to take regular breaks. If it is too hard to take your eyes off the screen, just stand up and stretch a bit. It will help you clear your mind and prepare for more work ahead.

Benefits of staying focused at work

It increases the efficiency

The more time that you can devote to completing an assignment the better your efficiency is. When you remain focused, it helps you get through tasks faster and more accurately.

It enhances your work performance

Being attentive to the task at hand can help improve your work performance over time. Concentrating and staying focused on your work can help you show how capable and productive you are as an employee. It also increases how much you learn from each task completed.

It positively impacts your co-workers

Working in an office environment means having many different tasks, deadlines, and pressures to deal with. When you stay focused and finish a task on time, it can help relieve some of the pressure felt by your co-workers as they will not be held up waiting for you to complete something.

It reduces stress levels

Being able to stay focused at work, may reduce how much stress you experience. If your attention is undivided and your productivity is up, it will help take a lot of the stress away.


Staying focused at work is important to accomplish tasks and stay productive. To maintain focus, make sure you get enough sleep, prioritize your tasks, set boundaries with coworkers and family members, be mindful of triggers that can cause you to lose focus, take regular breaks and eliminate digital distractions as much as possible. By following these tips on how to stay focused at work, you’ll be able to power through your To Do list with ease! What strategies do you use to increase your productivity? Let us know in the comments below!