How to Focus at Work and Be More Productive

How to Focus at Work and Be More Productive

Read Time: 4 Minutes


26 Jun 2017

With our to-do lists getting longer and longer, our workloads can seem so overwhelming that we just don’t know where to start! Teamed with the distraction of social media and emails constantly alerting us and drawing our eyes away from the task at hand, we all find it hard to focus at work sometimes! We are here to help with our 20 simple tips on how to get stuff done…


1. Organise your workspace

A tidy desk is a tidy mind! Clear away any unneeded paperwork or out-dated to-do lists and create a clean and tidy space. It is also helpful to organise all your stationery and paperwork so that you can find everything you need quickly.

2. Split big tasks up

When faced with one big daunting task, it can be tempting to keep putting it off. Try splitting the task up into lots of easy steps. That way, the work will seem more manageable and you can do a little bit every day.

3. Set a time where you can check your emails or your phone

Much like taking regular breaks, it can be helpful to schedule in time when you ‘allow’ yourself to check your phone or your emails. Sometimes, knowing you will be receiving emails can be a distraction in itself. So, get your phone out once or twice a day and then put it away when your emails are dealt with!

4. Set achievable goals

Setting goals is a great way to motivate you and keep you on the right track, however, setting your goals too high can cause you to burn out and feel disappointed at the end of the week. Aim to set achievable goals so you can push yourself while still feeling calm and collected.

5. Prioritise tasks

When your to-do list is getting hectic, it is helpful to decide which tasks take priority over others. Perhaps one task has a deadline sooner or is for a really important project – make these tasks stand out on your list by highlighting or starring

6. Choose the right desk and chair

An uncomfortable chair can have more of an impact than you may realise. If your posture is bad when you are working this will impact on your attitude towards the work you are doing. Avoid back ache and give yourself a boost by choosing the right desk and chair.

7. Write a smart to-do list

At the beginning of the day or week, it is useful to write a to-do list including all the tasks that need to be completed. This should include large and small tasks and detail any deadlines. This will keep your workload organised and it feels great to tick something off when you’ve done it!

8. Delegate tasks

We are all guilty of trying to do everything sometimes, and while it’s great to get recognition for our hard work, we never will if we are so over-stretched that the work is lacking! Delegating tasks is a really sensible way to organise your workload and make sure everything gets done.


9. Add some motivation

Add a bit of extra motivation to your day by placing a motivational quote on your desk. You could get one printed on a postcard to pin on your notice board, or opt for a larger print to go on your wall!

10. Listen to the right kind of music

Listening to music can really help you to concentrate but remember to choose the right kind. The type of music that works for you will vary from person to person but it is usually best to opt for calming instrumental music.

11. Open the window

Opening a window and getting some fresh air can really help to clear your mind. If you feel yourself getting distracted, opening a window can be the change to your environment that you need.

12. Add some plants

Plants such as spider plants and aloe vera are known to purify the air around us. Adding some house plants to your desk of office is a wonderful way to soothe your mind and keep you breathing easy.


13. Stay hydrated

We all know how important it is to hydrate, but it’s easy to forget when we are so busy. Invest in a water bottle and keep it topped up on your desk – you’ll find it much easier to sip on water through the day if it is right there next to you.

14. Indulge in a cup of tea or coffee

If you start to feel your mind wander when you need to be focusing on work, it can be really helpful to get up and make a cup of tea or coffee. That boost of caffeine may be just what you need to get you task done.

15. Schedule in breaks

It is helpful to have regular breaks in order to process the work you have been doing and have some time to think. Aim for a short break every hour or so and get away from your desk.

16. Have a healthy snack

It is normal to feel your energy levels drop throughout the day and it is often tempting to reach for a sugary snack to give you a boost. Keep your body and mind healthy by choosing to snack on some nuts instead – the slow-release energy will curb hunger for longer and you won’t be left with a sudden drop in energy later on.

17. Meditate

Mediation is becoming more widely accepted as a beneficial practice for everyone, and no wonder when the benefits are so great! Don’t worry, you don’t need to sit cross-legged on the floor and say ‘om’ – just take 5 or 10 minutes out of your day to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Clearing your mind in this way trains your brain to focus on one thing at a time and you may find that you are less overwhelmed by the work you need to do.


18. Focus on one task at a time

It is detrimental to your productivity to try and focus on more than one thing at once! Be strict with yourself and fix your mind on one thing at a time – it is likely that you will get more done in the long-run.

19. Set timers

If you are struggling to focus on one thing at a time, try setting yourself timers. For example, you could decide to work on one task for 15 – 30 minutes and set an alarm to go off when the time is up. Half an hour doesn’t seem too long even for a task you don’t like doing, and with a timer you won’t be tempted to keep peeking at the clock.

20. Download helpful time-management apps

Your phone can often be a distraction but there are ways to make it work for you! Apps such as Evernote or FocusatWill can help you to get organised and stay focused on the task at hand.

Our free eBook, More Time for Business, contains 4 time management templates you can start using today to help you focus at work and get the most out of each day. Get your copy below!

Do you have any helpful tips on how to stay focused at work? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!


About the Author

Hi, I’m Craig, instantprint’s Marketing Manager. I have a passion for discovering new and innovative ways small business owners can give their marketing a boost.