5 Tips To Help You Focus At Work If Your Brain Is Basically A Goldfish 24/7

Do you ever go through periods in your career where, no matter how much you want to be productive, you can’t seem to focus? 

Be it events in your personal life leaking into your 9-5 or simply feeling uninspired by the job, being unfocused can make you feel anxious, useless and downright frustrated. Blegh.

If this is you then read on for a list of actions to implement before you panic about this being your everyday reality for *checks notes* forty years.

Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise 

When there’s so much work to cram into eight hours, the thought of getting through it all can feel overwhelming. If you’re struggling to focus, get in the habit of listing your tasks out in order of urgency or importance. 

This can help to break your day down into chunks rather than seeing a wall of deadlines and hiding under your desk scrolling TikTok until 5pm.   

Prioritising tasks can also help with the modern mental fatigue of multitasking. While technology has revolutionised the workplace, we’re now more contactable, have tasks coming in across multiple platforms and email accounts, and are more likely to switch tasks over the day. 

While your boss might love the thought of you being across multiple projects in the same hour, studies show that this is actually decreasing our productivity and work output due to something called the “switch cost effect”. 

This is the transition from one task to another that creates cognitive effort, resulting in physical and mental fatigue, reduced performance and a loss of concentration. That brain-dead feeling you get post-work? It’s a real thing, folks. 

By writing out your tasks, you can remain on track and block out chunks of time to get them donezo. 

Have the correct tools

The days of physical files, typewriters and landline phones may as well be a world away. One way to remain focused in the modern era is ensuring your tech is up to scratch. 

With AI becoming intertwined in our workplaces more each year, you can use the tools to your advantage. This could look like using a laptop such as HP’s range of AI PCs. Its Intel® Core™ Ultra processors adapt to your productivity needs and, if you’re a creative, the laptop can help build your craft with the enhancements of AI

Tedious jobs in Adobe Photoshop and Wondershare Filmora can be completed faster, helping you to focus on other tasks. We love to see it. 

Pomodoro Technique 

Similar to breaking up tasks on your to-do list, by breaking up chunks of your day, you’re able to focus on one thing at a time. A great tool to help you do this is the Pomodoro Technique. Developed by a university student in the 1980s, the technique asks you to set a timer for 25 minutes. In this time, you focus on only one task. Then, when the timer goes off, you take a quick five to ten minute break. 

Repeat this four times and then take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes. Seriously, when I’m really struggling to get anything done. I always lean on the Pomodoro Technique to help me back on track and tick some things off. 

Eliminate distractions 

When we have access to all of our friends and a stream of never-ending content literally in the palm of our hands, it can be tempting to lock into a doom scroll when at work. 

Dopamine addiction from checking our smartphones is very real so you’re not alone if you’re reaching for your device like a cigarette. 

To remain focused at work, eliminate the things that are keeping you distracted. This could look like turning your phone on Do Not Disturb to remove notifications or physically putting it in another room. 

If you’re partial to a chat in the office, let your colleagues know that you’re trying to set boundaries around your work habits and block out times to socialise like on the morning coffee run or at lunch. 

For some people, listening to music can be a good way to lock in. Chuck on Charli XCX’s Brat in your noise-cancelling headphones and let the hyper-pop focus you to smash your to-do list. 

Take breaks 

The saying goes that you can’t pour from an empty cup. The same applies to work. If you’re running on fumes, it’s going to be harder to get into juicy concentration time. According to HP’s Work Relationship Index, only 22% of Aussies have reported having a ‘healthy relationship’ with work, which is a little bonkers. Setting yourself up with the right tools, finding the right methods of time management and of course, taking breaks are small ways to help combat feelings of burnout.

Make sure you’re taking your full lunch break (looking at you, people pleasers) and standing up to stretch your legs as often as possible (guilty). 

Also, know when to investigate your lack of focus. While we can go through periods of better or worse concentration, there may be an underlying reason for it. If you’re not feeling yourself, check in with a doctor or therapist to be able to bring your best self to your day-to-day.

If you’re keen to zhuzh up your current work set-up, check out HP’s new line of laptops that are equipped with the freshest AI-technology in the game.