12 Things You Can Do When You’re Having Trouble Focusing on Work

having trouble focusing on work

With so many electronic devices and social media platforms, it’s easier than ever before for even the most focused and organized of professionals to get distracted from the task at hand. Combine that with the fact that work-from-home and hybrid work models have become popular for many companies, and it should really come as no surprise that people are having a hard time focusing.

However, with a little discipline and a few routine changes, there are some effective ways to banish procrastination, minimize multitasking and achieve focus during your workday. To that end, 12 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share their insights on the following question:

“What’s one thing you can do if you’re having trouble achieving focus during your workday? Why is this so effective?”

Here’s how they recommend you take back your focus.

1. Switch Your Phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’

“Oftentimes, in the middle of a thought, a phone or email notification pops up. Most of them can wait, but we want to check them. This distracts our chain of thought and also changes our mood, depending on the content of the notification, causing the task at hand to be affected. ‘Do Not Disturb’ gives you that peaceful time to get your work done.” ~ Kripa Shroff, AK Multinational LLC

2. Turn Off All Distractions

“Make sure you turn off all distractions. Shut your office door. Close all social media. Turn off your phone. Turn off all notifications across all your devices. When you’re constantly pulled in different directions, you can’t focus on anything. Create a list of things you have to do and prioritize it. Work on one item at a time. Multitasking is the worst thing you can do when you need to focus.” ~ Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com

3. Break Work Down Into Chunks

“Break it all down into chunks. Don’t think of your workload as one solid thing. Recognize it for what it is: a series of tasks that you need to complete. This specificity will help you home in on what you’re doing and really focus, rather than be distracted by the seeming enormity of everything you need to do. Focus on one thing at a time.” ~ Nick Venditti, StitchGolf

4. Identify Why You’re Not Focused

“I like to identify why I’m not focused. If it’s because of something I’m worried about that I don’t have control over, then I meditate to give myself compassion for my current state and allow myself the grace to do what my body, mind and spirit need at that time. If it’s an issue that is in my control, I ask myself what I need, and sometimes it’s a fancy hotel room with no distractions.” ~ Givelle Lamano, Lamano Law Office

5. Try a Daily Meditation Practice

“Start with a simple five-minute guided meditation and work your way up. The more you train your mind to separate your thoughts from your reality, the more you can be in the present moment and achieve focus throughout your workday. I use Insight Timer, a free meditation app, but have heard great things about Headspace and Calm as well. Find your zen!” ~ Nic Weinfeld, Five to Sixty

6. Do Some Physical Activity

“When you have trouble focusing during the day, take a walk or do some physical activity. Sports will always help you organize your thoughts and organize your tasks.” ~ Alexandru Stan, Tekpon

7. Stretch and Breathe

“Take a few moments to get your blood flowing. Take 10 deep inhales and exhales. Bend down to touch your toes. Reach up to the sky with your hands and focus on getting that spine to stretch. This two-minute exercise can be repeated multiple times in a row to achieve renewed focus. If you are in a time crunch, going through the exercise one time is enough to realign yourself into focus.” ~ Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo

8. Change Your Environment

“One thing that sometimes helps me focus is to change my environment. If I’m at home or in the office, I go outside. Even changing rooms can be helpful. It may be that a device I’m working on is distracting, so it can also help to go offline and brainstorm or write things down using a pen and paper.” ~ Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

9. Switch Your Tasks

“If I’m having trouble achieving focus at work, I switch my tasks. Sometimes, I need a day of small 20- to 30-minute tasks instead of eight hours spent on one project. I’m always self-aware when I decide to make this switch so we don’t fall behind. I think this strategy is effective because I can keep my focus long enough to mark things off my list and stay productive.” ~ Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

10. Prioritize Your Goals Over Other People’s Demands

“Focus is a funny thing — some days will be crystal clear, and others will be more varied. You cannot control everything, so try to take advantage of the time you do have. Instead of making a list of 10 things, choose three or four. Prioritize your goals over the demands of others. Many times, protecting your own needs instead of being reactive will bring the focus you are so desperately seeking.” ~ Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity

11. Use the Pomodoro Technique

“Whenever I have trouble achieving focus, I find it super effective to use the Pomodoro technique. In this technique, I take a five-minute break every 25 minutes. Once I complete four such cycles, I take a longer break of 10 to 15 minutes. This technique sets a sense of urgency and takes away the feeling that I have the entire day to complete a task because I only have 25 minutes in every cycle.” ~ Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

12. Listen to Music to Boost Your Mood

“I listen to my jam. Music makes me motivated and ready to go. I definitely need music to keep me upbeat and motivated for the day. If I need to be perky, I’ll play my favorite Beyonce songs. If I need female empowerment, I’ll play more music about that. It is effective because it calms and awakens my soul. The best part? It gives me more ideas depending on the music I listen to.” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish

Image: Depositphotos

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.