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10 Science-backed Tips on Staying Focused

We've all been there. You're sitting at your desk, trying to finish up a complicated project by the end of the day, but it seems like every time you sit down to work, your brain wanders in another direction. 

Maybe you're easily distracted and constantly checking email as each new one comes in, or you're having trouble focusing on the task. No matter what's distracting you from your work, here are some tried-and-true tips for staying focused:


Tip #1: Don't multitask.

When it comes to the workplace, multitasking is a myth. In most cases, multitasking makes you even less efficient and wastes time. 

It's better to focus on one thing at a time to see great improvements in your productivity. While we all have unique work styles and methods, certain habits can help us stay focused while working.


Tip #2: Use the 50/10 rule to structure your day.

To stay focused, you should focus. That's a pretty basic and obvious statement, but it can be tough to do when you're working with a team of people who need your attention or if you're in a situation where it feels like there are too many fires to put out.

Woman being handed many tasks

The solution? Use 50% of your time on the task at hand, and the remaining 10% you can spend on other tasks like checking in with coworkers. This helps prevent distractions from pulling you away from what matters most—as long as those distractions aren't urgent or time-sensitive, they'll wait until later.


Tip #3: Set a schedule and stick to it.

Setting a schedule and sticking to it is crucial for staying focused while working. It's also important to ensure your schedule is realistic, so you don't set yourself up for failure. 

Your schedule should be flexible, allowing you to change things based on your day. Decide how much each task will take and whether any deadlines are associated with the job. Make sure the tasks are prioritized by importance (the most important task should be scheduled first).


Tip #4: Turn off notifications

Like most people, you've got a ton of stuff going on in your life, and other things popping up in your notifications and interrupting your train of thought can be quite frustrating.

That's why it is better to turn off notifications on your phone, computer, email, and calendar if you're trying to concentrate on a certain task.

Laptop and phone turned off

When you turn off these notifications, you won't be notified by any alerts or reminders—you'll know when they happen because they'll happen! And since they're happening without interruption from other things happening around them (like texts from friends or emails from coworkers), it gives you a chance to focus on what matters most: whatever it is that needs doing right now!


Tip #5: Try the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro method is a time management technique that helps you stay focused and motivated. The method calls for you to set a timer for 25 minutes, work on a specific task during that time, and then take a 5-minute break before starting another 25-minute session of focused work.


You can find more about the Pomodoro method here.


Tip #6: Establish a routine.

Establishing a routine is important so you can plan for the day ahead of time. For example, you can get up at 7 a.m. daily and have a cup of coffee while reading your email before work. Then, you can check the news and head into the office by 8 a.m.

When working in your free time, it's best not to do so on weekends or evenings when family life may be happening around you. It's easy for distractions at home (e.g., your kids) to pull you away from what's important: getting things done at work! 

If you want some extra motivation not to fall into this trap (and who doesn't?), make sure that other people know how much time they can expect from you during your off-hours—and stick with those commitments!


Tip #7: Create a to-do list

You can't do everything in a day, so it's important to establish a to-do list that prioritizes the tasks you want to complete. Once your list is compiled, make sure each item is realistic and actionable. 

To do list in a notebook

Then make sure that your list is prioritized by importance: if there are multiple items with high priority levels, put them at the top; add lower-priority items beneath them. 

Lastly—and this is important—make sure all entries are listed in order of when they need completion: first come, first served! This way, you can stay focused throughout your day instead of getting distracted by other things that aren't as urgent or important as what should be done right now. We find that both Todoist and Notion are great tools to organize your tasks. They are very easy to navigate and have great features that we’re sure you’ll enjoy using!


Tip #8: Try meditation and yoga.

Meditation is a great way to help you stay focused at work. It can also help you be calmer, happier, and healthier. In addition, meditation has been shown to improve sleep quality. This helps because getting enough sleep is important for staying healthy and living longer.

The best thing about these two is that they're never too late to start! Young, old, active, or passive, meditation and yoga exercises are right for you. So check out these eco-friendly yoga must-haves!


Tip #9: Listen to the right music.

Music is a great way to boost your productivity and mood, but only if you listen to the right music. 

Make sure it's not too distracting. For example, don't listen to "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus if you're trying to focus on something else.

Don't play it too loud—your coworkers might be annoyed or distracted by the sound of your headphones or speakers (even though they should be able to respect your personal space). 

So what kind of tunes should we play? We recommend instrumental music like jazz instrumentals or classical songs without vocals (including pieces with lyrics). This type of music doesn't distract as easily because its sounds aren't tied directly into any particular memories or emotions surrounding its composer; therefore, listeners are less likely to get distracted by what they think about while listening instead of focusing on whatever task needs doing next.


Tip #10: Exercise regularly.

Exercise can improve your mood and energy levels, making you feel more positive and ready to tackle work. It also helps you sleep better, think more clearly, relax and reduce stress. Exercising is a great way to build self-confidence because it makes us physically and mentally stronger.

Woman laying out her yoga mat

If you're pressed for time at work and can't get away from your desk, you may make do with stretches and workouts that you can perform while sitting or standing up without taking your gaze away from your computer!


Conclusion

If you follow the tips and tricks, you're bound to start seeing an improvement in your productivity. Remember that one of the best things about these tips is that there isn't just a single way to go about them—so there's no need for any drastic measures on your end. 

We also recommend taking care of yourself as much as possible: sleep well, eat healthy food, and don't forget to exercise! These are all important factors when it comes to staying focused at work.

If you find yourself struggling with focusing or getting distracted, try implementing some of these tips into your daily routine—and let us know how they help you!