A Guide On How To Stay Focused (With Practical Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Focusing and concentrating on your work and goals can be vital for success. Learning this valuable skill can improve your personal and professional life by enhancing your motivation and helping you gain more clarity. There are several simple ways in which you can enhance your focus and work better. In this article, we discuss how to stay focused on your short and long-term goals and share a few simple tips to help you get started.

Related: 10 Tips For Working Effectively And Improving Productivity

How To Stay Focused On Your Goals?

Learning how to stay focused and improving your motivation is a multi-step process. Here is how you can achieve it:

1. Identify your motivation

The first step can be to introspect and identify what motivates you. Different kinds of motivators work for different people and understanding which ones work for you can be crucial in staying focused. For example, some people might perform better when they get a tangible incentive or reward, like a bonus. For others, motivation can be intrinsic and simply getting satisfaction from their work can help them in focusing. Similarly, many people have a fear of failure, which can also work as a powerful motivator. You can determine what factor motivates you as per your career and personality.

Related: What Is Self Motivation? And How To Use It To Meet Your Goals

2. Set clear goals

It is important that you set clear and unambiguous goals for yourself. You can write them down and pin them to your desk to ensure you keep working towards them. These goals can be short and long term, but make sure they are realistic and have a timeline. If you are new to goal setting exercises, you can use a variety of tools and techniques to start. For instance, the SMART goal technique helps set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals. You can also use the WOOP technique, which helps you list the wish, outcome, obstacle and plan.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition And Examples

3. Break down goals into milestones

Create milestones for your goals by breaking larger goals into smaller steps. This can help make the immediate goal more achievable and realistic and work as a motivator to help you stay focused. You can create daily, weekly or monthly milestones according to the larger objective. For example, suppose you intend to launch your business in the next six months. In that case, you can set realistic milestones that include creating a website, registering the brand name, creating the visual brand identity, getting investors and finding a workplace.

4. Devise a plan of action

With clear goals and milestones, you can create a detailed plan of action that explains what actions and activities are important. This exercise can help you identify everyday actions that can help you achieve goals, manage your time better and create a blueprint for your journey. For instance, if the milestone is to find investors for your new business, the action can be to search for experts, leaders and entrepreneurs on social media and write to them. This can help you understand how to achieve specific goals and objectives.

5. Develop a routine

Next, create a routine that best fits your life and personality. By being regular and disciplined, you can work more efficiently and be more productive. Depending on whether you prefer to wake up early or work until late at night, you can create a routine that helps you make the most of your attention, energy and focus. This might take some trial and error, but once you discover what routine works for you, commit to it. Make sure you include ample breaks and allocate time for pursuing hobbies in your daily routine to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Related: How To Stay Focused When You Work From Home

6. Be conscious of your time

Time management, planning and scheduling are vital in today's world. With many distractions in our personal and professional environment, being conscious of how you spend your time can help you stay focused. You can use effective time management techniques, like the quadrant system, where you divide your daily work as per urgency, or the pomodoro technique, which allows you to take frequent breaks. Effective time management can help you increase productivity, reduce distractions, sustain energy levels, maintain focus and achieve your goals.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition And Examples

7. Organise your work environment

The physical space where you work can influence your ability to focus and concentrate. For instance, if your desk or workspace is disorderly, you might find it difficult to concentrate. Similarly, working on tasks that require attention and focus can be challenging if there are too many distractions or noises in your environment. So, make sure your desk is clean and tidy, regardless of whether you are working at the office or working remotely. If there is too much noise in your environment, like when you are working from a cafe, you can use headphones to focus better.

8. Hold yourself accountable

As you get accustom to your routine and start accomplishing tasks, it is important to ask yourself whether you have achieved the day's goals. You can revisit your goals daily, weekly or monthly to measure progress and hold yourself accountable. You can also reward yourself when you achieve your goals to motivate you. Whenever you feel like procrastinating, try to understand why it is happening and remind yourself of your goals to avoid getting complacent. Realising that your actions have consequences on your career and life can also be a reminder to motivate you and help you stay focused.

9. Share your journey

Another way to increase accountability can be to share your goals with friends, family members and colleagues. You can update them on your progress, get their feedback and learn from colleagues trying to achieve similar goals. By being accountable to someone other than yourself, you can motivate yourself and increase your focus on doing your work better. Similarly, the sense of accomplishment can also be stronger when you share your progress and success with people close to you. You can also look for mentors in your organisation or industry to seek inspiration and guidance to grow your career.

10. Assess your progress and make changes

Finally, make sure that you have the flexibility and adaptability to try new techniques and approaches. As you evaluate your progress and successes, honestly identify which areas require improvement and analyse how you can change your approach. Whether it is following a new routine or changing your short-term milestones, do not be rigid in updating your goals. These assessments and changes are particularly important when starting a new job or your own venture. Knowing your strengths, expectations, values and vision can help make this exercise more effective.

Related: How To Be Flexible At Work: A Complete Guide

Simple Tips To Help You Stay Focused

Here are some easy steps to follow that can help you start building focus while you are working:

  • Avoid multitasking. To ensure that you are able to work with attention and focus, do not multitask. Focus on doing one task at a time to increase your concentrate and efficiency.

  • Inculcate mindfulness. Practice techniques that can help increase your mindfulness and attention. Meditation and other such practices can help you manage distractions and focus better.

  • Remove distractions. Try to turn off notifications from your phone and other devices while working. This can help limit the number of distractions while you work and sustain your focus for longer durations.

  • Always take breaks. Make sure you always have some time to relax and take a break between activities that require high levels of focus and energy.

  • Stay hydrated. You might find it challenging to focus on your work if you feel hungry or dehydrated. Make sure you eat your meals on time and keep drinking water or other hydrating liquids while working.

  • Rest well. Even if you have a habit of working until late at night, make sure you get ample sleep and rest. It is ideal that you sleep on time every day and give your body and mind a predictable routine to relax.

  • Use website and ad blockers. When using the internet, use tools that limit your access to social media websites or ads to reduce the number of distractions. This can help you stay focused on the task better.


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