We all have days when staying focused and on task feels challenging.

Whether it’s a case of “the Mondays” or you woke up feeling drained, being productive at work doesn’t always come easy. In most jobs, this is problematic as the effects of a low focus day can snowball into a stressful week of playing catch up.

Having days where concentration is difficult is a reality of life. The key is knowing what to do when it happens.

Improve your focus. Don't let a case of the Monday's stop you from your journey to wellness.

Take Breaks Throughout the Day, Especially If You’re Feeling Stuck

Workers who take more breaks during the day are more productive than those who work long stretches. (1)

Stepping away from your workspace for a few moments, going out for a quick walk, doing some simple stretches at your desk, or having a snack are all ways to give your mind a chance to clear. When you come back from a break, you will be more focused and productive. (1)

Take breaks throughout the day, especially if you’re feeling stuck. It'll help improve your focus.

Caffeine Can Help You Focus, but Only in the Right Amounts

Coffee and caffeinated tea can both boost focus and productivity.

The key is to have the right amount, enough to sharpen your ability to concentrate, but not so much that you increase your heart rate or induce anxiety. Regular coffee drinkers have to be especially mindful as they may be so acclimated to high doses it will be less noticeable when they’ve exceeded the reasonable limit.

Two to three cups in the morning are considered a good benchmark for improving focus. (2) Less than that amount has not been shown to improve focus at work; however, it all comes down to individual tolerance.

Keep in mind that caffeine harms sleep, which in turn will decrease focus. Studies show that caffeine intact as early as 6 hours before sleep caused significant sleep disruptions. (3) Cutting off the coffee by one or two in the afternoon is ideal.

Caffeine, but in the right amounts

Minimize Interruptions

The average worker gets interrupted 50-60 times a day. (4) This is a considerable barrier to focus. While some interruptions are unavoidable, many can be prevented by merely closing your office door or putting in a pair of headphones to signal that you are focus on what you are doing.

If you are consistent with kindly but firmly letting co-workers know when you are focusing on a task, they will respect that time. Who knows, it may also inspire them to commit to focused time at work.

Minimize interruptions

Put Yourself in “airplane Mode”

We all interrupt ourselves too often throughout the day by regularly checking email, social media, and texts. Get disciplined about doing what is called “batch checking.” (4)

Set a time, maybe once an hour or two, when you check everything. Read and reply to an email, answer any necessary texts, and pop on social media for a set amount of time. After you’ve finished checking and taking care of what is essential, close it down and let yourself get back in the zone.

Using apps that allow you to restrict social media access between breaks can be helpful. It is also best to turn off notifications for as many non-essential apps or email accounts and put your phone in airplane mode until it is time to batch check.

Institute Batch Checking

Stop Multitasking

Multitasking is a misnomer as your brain can only truly focus on one thing. (5) Each time you move from task to task, it can take up to a minute for your brain to refocus, longer if the job is more complex. It is not only an inefficient way to work, but it also reduces productivity by 40%. (6)

Giving up multitasking means being disciplined about implementing batch checking and preventing distractions. You can also motivate yourself to focus on one thing at a time by giving yourself strict deadlines. If you usually do a task in one hour, see if you can complete it in 30 minutes. You might find it’s possible once you give up all the other functions you used to try to do at the same time.

Your increased focus and productivity will keep you motivated to stick to one task at a time.

Stop multitasking to improve your focus.

Staying Focused for the Long-haul

Wellness at work is dependent on your ability to decrease stress and improve your enjoyment of your work.

Implementing these tips will result in better focus and productivity. The more you can concentrate and get jobs done, the less stress you will feel. It’s a step forward to greater well-being.