How to be more focused at work


No matter how much you love and enjoy your work, it is inevitable to feel your focus and attention slipping away at times. Don’t worry too much – this happens pretty much to everyone.

These days, our attention span is even made shorter because of our smartphones, social networking sites, and other apps that provide big distractions. That does not mean, however, that you could not do anything about it. It is now up to us to make our way around it. Here are some ways to get keep your focus on the job:


Develop a habit/routine.


Having an effective routine to follow is one of the key secrets to focus and productivity. When you set time for actions and tasks, you are more likely to finish on time, even ahead of it. It will not be easy to develop such a habit, but once you establish a good, productive one as a foundation, you will find yourself more productive than ever and will remain so the following days.



Take out your MP3 player.


This might sound self-defeating, but this actually works for some. For one, it can signal your coworkers that you are ‘in the zone’ and must not be disturbed. What kind of music to listen to would actually depend; classical and instrumental jazz are easy choices, but sometimes, listening to the music you have heard millions of times actually work as well as they serve as some kind of white noise.

You do now want interesting lyrics and lines you did not appreciate before distract you from your work, so make sure to fill your playlist with very familiar tunes. Also, do not forget to first make sure that this is permitted in the workplace before putting on your earphones.


Keep things organized.


It is important to keep track of your tasks and responsibilities. Make use of your organizers and notepads to keep a to-do list, and while it is important to know your long-term goals, it might be a good idea to keep another list containing the simpler tasks. This way, you can easily check your progress hourly rather than weekly and can easily adjust accordingly. Before it turns into a problem, start by filing important documents and papers properly, and better yet, keep digital copies as well (even backups).

Properly document who’s getting what, so everyone knows who is responsible for each and everything in the office. They do not seem like much but believe me, you will be saving your future self-valuable time and keep you from foreseeable problems, hassles, and distractions.

How To Be More Focused At Work

Learn from Zen.


You do not have to be religious or to switch faiths to apply the teachings of Zen. What is great about Zen is how it is concerned with practice instead of metaphysics or the supernatural. Zen masters teach the importance of detachment.

When it comes to garnering all your energy and attention to channel it on one thing, detaching from other things and worries will surely be fruitful. For starters, the classic Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki can provide a good introduction. Among other things, meditating from time to time can definitely lead to great, productive results.


Take a break.


We are all humans, and we get tired after all. Even the most hardworking need some time to rest and room to breathe in. So go ahead, make use your leaves, especially the paid ones, and go out of town. And while vacations are important, rest is not limited to that.

Taking mini-breaks from your work throughout the day can also help you keep your focus and lead to better results than wearing yourself out. Try standing up from your workstation and moving around/walking around after an hour of pure attention and focus on work. You might just find yourself refreshed and more motivated and prepared to tackle your tasks.  Going to the comfort room to freshen up or the toilets due to the call of nature go well with this tip.


Do not overwork.


This might already count as taking a break, but the flip side of this advice should be given even more emphasis. How exactly is overworking not a bright idea? First, overworking leads to stress, and stress can significantly decrease how fast your brain processes information, memory, and work performance in general.

Studies also show that those who are mentally and/or physically exhausted are more easily distracted. So better know when to call it a day and go home to rest. It might also be a great idea to find a hobby you will enjoy in your times of rest.


Make sure to regularly get a good night’s sleep.


This might sound like a cliché, but this step is more beneficial than many probably think. Think it is okay to do a couple of all-nighters or that three hours of sleep is sufficient? Then you should read on the studies demonstrating how lack of sleep affects your concentration and mental health in general. For countless of times, it is shown to ruin relationships, negatively affect work performance, and lead to mental problems like depression and unmanageable anger.


Stay hydrated, and keep a healthy diet.


Did you know that just by drinking a single glass of water, you are increasing your brain’s speed by 14%? Well, it does. So the next time you think of undermining the importance of water and think it irrelevant to work, just imagine how that 14% can help you produce so much more on your work desk.


And yes, our diet also affects how our brains function and process information. So take it seriously people when they say “you are what you eat”. Studies show that eating healthy can not only improve your memory and mood but also your concentration.

In order for your brain to function properly, the cells with which it is composed of need oxygen which are taken from the blood sugar. Remember that the next time you think of skipping meals. Women need an average of 9 cups (about 2.2 litres) of water a day, so make a mental note to keep a jug of water and even some snacks nearby or on the desk, if your work permits it.



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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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