How to Focus on Work

Emails to answer, deadlines to meet, and bosses to please—but you can’t focus at all! Losing your concentration when you’re trying to complete an important task can be frustrating, and it doesn’t help with productivity, either. Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can improve your focus on your work to get things done faster and more efficiently.


[Edit]Get rid of any distractions.

  1. Put your phone away, turn off the TV, and log out of social media. The fewer distractions you have, the easier it will be to focus.[1]
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    • If you need to use your computer for work but you find yourself surfing the internet instead, use an add-on to limit the websites you can use during the work day.[2] Freedom, StayFocused, and Limit are all downloadable on Mac and PC.

[Edit]Take breaks.

  1. It might sound counterintuitive, but breaks are super helpful. Set a reminder on your phone or laptop, and try to take a short break every 50 to 60 minutes.[3]
    Focus on Work Step 2.jpg
    • You don’t have to get up and out of your chair every time you take a break. Simply scrolling through social media or zoning out at your computer can be enough of a break for your brain.
    • Breaks can help you renew your energy and come back with fresh ideas.

[Edit]Make a to-do list.

  1. Seeing it on paper can make it more concrete. Write out a simple list of everything you need to get done that day, then cross them out as you go.[4]
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    • Checking off tasks as you complete them will also give your brain a little boos throughout the day.
    • If you don’t want to clutter up your desk with pieces of paper, use your phone or computer instead.

[Edit]Break down your time into smaller tasks.

  1. Starting at a huge to-do list can be intimidating. Try planning out the next hour in small increments to really feel like you’re getting stuff done.[5]
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    • For example, you might plan to answer emails for 15 minutes, write a first draft for 20 minutes, then edit your draft for the remaining 25 minutes.
    • You can treat each task as a small goal to complete throughout the hour.
    • Try keeping track of what tasks you complete every 30 minutes so you can see how productive you’ve been.[6]

[Edit]Do a few easy tasks to start out.

  1. If you’re really struggling, save the hard stuff for later. Pick out a few simple tasks that you can get done quickly, then do those for 30 minutes to 1 hour before diving into the tough ones.[7]
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    • This will help you put your brain in “work mode.”
    • Don’t spend too long on the easy stuff! After about 1 hour, move onto the things you really need to get done.

[Edit]Try not to multitask.

  1. While it might seem like an easy way to get stuff done, you might not be putting your best foot forward. Instead, pick out one task to focus on so you can give it all of your attention and do your best.[8]
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    • It’s better to get one thing done spectacularly than to do 10 things haphazardly.

[Edit]Listen to soothing music.

  1. Music without words can actually boost your concentration.[9] Try classical or instrumental music to soothe your brain and stay focused on work.[10]
    Focus on Work Step 7.jpg
    • Look up playlists on Spotify or YouTube to help you concentrate.
    • If you aren’t a fan of classical music, electronic music can also help keep you focused, since it usually doesn’t have a lot of words.

[Edit]Relax in your free time.

  1. If you spend all hours of the day working, you’re going to burn out. When you’re not doing work, be sure to head outdoors, do some mediation, or take a spa day.[11]
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    • You could also try restorative yoga for a relaxing way to get exercise.

[Edit]Get enough sleep.

  1. When you’re tired, your mind is more likely to wander. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night so you’re well-rested and ready for the day.[12]
    Focus on Work Step 9.jpg
    • Try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed on time.
    • Not getting enough sleep can also lead to poor mental and physical health, so it’s in your best interest to catch those Zs.[13]

[Edit]Exercise every day.

  1. If you have too much pent-up energy, you might not be able to focus. Try to start your day right with a long walk around the neighborhood, or take your lunch break at the gym to work your body and focus your mind.[14]
    Focus on Work Step 10.jpg
    • Yoga, jogging, cycling, and swimming are all great low-impact ways to get your blood pumping.
    • You don’t have to spend a ton of time working out each day—even 20 minutes of moderate exercise can be beneficial for your focus and your overall health.


  • Planning ahead is the best way to use your time wisely.


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