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11 ways to keep focus

Anne-Kathrine Utzon
Staying focussed all day at the office can be tough. Can you manage it? Try our 11 useful tips to improve concentration and increase focus at your desk.
Anne-Kathrine Utzon

According to experts, it can take well beyond twenty minutes to get back to the same concentration level every time you are interrupted by a colleague’s phone call, or you see an email you need to read, or fancy a quick coffee, and so on…

Among other things, disruptive and unwanted noise can often be so troublesome that it causes fatigue and concentration difficulties in workers.

We’ve gathered these 11 helpful tips on how to reduce interruptions at your desk and therefore optimize your concentration, well-being and performance – yes pretty much your entire working day. 

  • 1: Eat healthily
    Think about what you eat. Your diet greatly affects your concentration, and how long you can stay focused. A healthy diet that keeps your brain in shape consists of the following: whole grains, fresh organic vegetables and fruits, seaweed such as wakame or iziki, nuts and seeds in shells, fatty fish and lean organic meat.  

  • 2: Turn off your mobile phone
    We all know the feeling of working while your phone vibrates or makes a sound, an acquaintance adds you on LinkedIn or when a new email ticks in. According to Danish stress clinics, smartphones are one of the reasons for developing stress. It might be a good idea to turn off your smartphone when you’re at the office – so you can keep your focus at the right place. 

    You could also use the advanced notifications features in many mobiles to customise the distractions that get to your desk. You might need that important email from your boss, but do you need to know that someone invited you to play Candy Crush? Probably not. 

  • 3: Sit comfortably
    An uncomfortable chair can really reduce your ability to concentrate. Use a chair in your daily work that fits your back posture and will stop you from fidgeting at the office and reducing your focus on work. 

  • 4: Exercise
    Exercise helps to keep the brain running, and getting movement into your workday is a great way to keep focussed when you get to the office. It may also prevent damage and pain in the neck and back. You can keep your body moving by take a walk around the office or arrange walking meetings.

    You can also take a break and use an Exercise ball, train with a Jump Rope or just do some simple movements. If you have a height-adjustable desk, you should switch between sitting down and standing up while working. Some exercise also releases endorphins, so will also help you cope with the long hours of your job!

  • 5: Turn everything off 
    Do you have any other devices like an iPad or iPod that you’re not using? Turn it off when you are at work. Notifications can be distracting, but so can be the urge to check it! Put it in your bag and get it off your desk, too.  

  • 6: Organize
    Make sure to keep your desktop tidy. Keep only the tools and things that you actually need in front of you. Dispose of old coffee cups, papers and everything that makes your office sloppy and disorganized to look at. Having a clean working environment will clear your thinking about work.   

  • 7: Measure your time
    Take time and check how much you have done in an hour. It will help you sharpen your focus and allows you to set challenges for your productivity. Try the ‘Pomodoro method’, of setting timed intervals with regular breaks. 

  • 8: Make a list
    Make a to-do list of tasks you are supposed to take care of during the day. It will give you an overview and reduce the chance of a stressful feeling that can affect your ability to concentrate.  

  • 9: Reward yourself
    Be proud of yourself when you achieve results, and reward yourself. It will give you motivation to continue to work effectively to achieve new goals. Take a break to chat to a co-worker, or get a muffin in a café over the road.

  • 10: Visualize your goals
    You can choose to visualize your goals and take a look at it everyday before work. It will remind you of what you are working hard to achieve. Lists can be useful, but mind maps and drawings may improve your ability to remember tasks. 

  • 11: Listen to music
    Researchers have found out that classical or instrumental music can improve your concentration. Rather than large orchestral pieces, try simpler piano or string music, such as some of Mozart’s piano concertos or Ludovico Einaudi. Music with lyrics or background noise in the office is much more likely to be distracting. 


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