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5 useful tips to focus better at work

Whether you work from home or are back in the office, focusing at work can be challenging. Perhaps you have a lot on your plate outside of work and find your mind wandering throughout the day. Maybe you’re in one of those trendy, open-office, cubicle-free workspaces and find it tough to zero in on your tasks while your colleagues have side conversations.

It can be frustrating, particularly if you feel like your production and work quality are suffering because you can’t concentrate. Many people struggle to focus at work, so don’t beat yourself up if you are having a hard time getting in the zone. There are solutions out there. Here are a few strategies to try if you are looking to learn how to focus better on the job.

person in home office with headphones on
Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Listen to music with diurnal (lo-fi) beats

You’ve likely heard that listening to music can help you focus. Scientists tend to agree. However, you don’t want to listen to just any old tune. In the early days of the pandemic, lo-fi beats rose in popularity. The relaxed, benign tunes helped reduce stress and up focus during a time when everything seemed to be going wrong. Though those days are (hopefully) fading into the distance this pandemic trend may be worth keeping long-term.  The soothing tunes allow you to block out the noise around you without creating a distraction of their own. To find your workday soundtrack, simply type in “lo-fi hip hop” into the search bar on YouTube.

Drink coffee

Coffee lovers, rejoice. Your favorite beverage is proven to help you focus. A 2020 study indicated that drinking one 12-ounce cup of coffee enhanced focus and problem-solving skills in most of the 80 participants. That said, the key phrase is “one 12-ounce cup of coffee.” That’s the equivalent of a tall cup of joe from Starbucks, not a 20-ounce venti. Of course, people can handle varying amounts of caffeine, and it’s important to know your limit. Drinking too much coffee may make you feel antsy and actually hurt your ability to concentrate. Experiment to find the amount of coffee it takes to enhance your focus. The FDA recommends no more than 400 milligrams of coffee per day (four to five eight-ounce cups).

Take a meditation break

If you’re busy, you may feel the last thing you should be doing is taking a break, particularly if your lack of focus is already slowing you down. However, you may want to consider taking a quick breather — literally. Scientists say that meditating can not only help improve focus, memory, and attention span but other issues that may be causing your mind to drift, like anxiety and stress. If you have trouble sitting still, you can meditate while moving. For example, try taking a walk around the block near your office. You may find you come back to your desk more invigorated and ready to plow through your to-do list. Apps like Headspace and even Peloton have guided meditations.

Work out in the morning

Getting up early to log a 30-minute sweat session may not seem appealing when the alarm goes off, but it could be worth it later. Moving around at any time boosts focus, but exercising in the morning sets the stage for the day ahead. What’s more, morning workouts can bolster other important workplace skills like attention and decision making, according to a 2019 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. You don’t need to hit the pavement for a 12-mile run. Just 30 minutes of physical activity will do, the study found.

woman working from a coffeeshop
SHVETS production/Pexels

Schedule time to check email

If you get email notifications on your phone and desktop, consider turning them off. Some experts say these types of notifications are reducing productivity. Instead, schedule two to three periods throughout the day where you’ll go through and respond to emails. For example, maybe you check first thing in the morning, after lunch, and before you head home. If you’re concerned that you’ll miss an emergency situation, try establishing a go-to channel that can only be used for these types of communications, such as a text message or call to your mobile device. Just make sure you establish with your boss or direct reports what qualifies as an emergency. If everything does, it may only make it tougher to tackle your other responsibilities.

Sometimes, you may feel like you’re struggling with staying focused at work. There are ways to enhance your focus, such as meditation, a morning workout, and listening to lo-fi beats. If these strategies for how to concentrate aren’t successful, you might consider speaking with your boss or a trusted mentor. They may have other advice or be able to modify your work arrangements to assist you. If your issues outside of work are affecting your focus on the job, consider reaching out to a professional, such as a therapist.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
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