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Advice on staying focused at work and managing your workload

Updated on June 13, 2008

Train yourself to be good at multi-tasking, and you will find it easier to stay focused at work

Day planners- A small investment garunteed to yeild great results

Staying focused at work is easy, if you can put your mind to it

I am going to tell you how to stay focused at work.

Here is what you'll need:

  • At least eight hours of sleep at night
  • A balanced diet
  • The desire to be productive at work
  • The ability to keep your home and personal life separate

  • A day planner, scheduler, etc
  • Notebooks and pens

Here is what you do not need:

  • Large amounts of caffeine, red-bull, adderall, or other stimulants
  • Your cellphone turned on (even if it's on silent)
  • To be worrying about personal problems while you're at work

  • Junk food, especially at your desk
  • To be socializing in your office/ cube when you should be working

1. When you start your day, stop yourself from thinking " Ugh, another day, another dollar, this sucks." Because the reality is, if you stick a smile on your face and be GRATEFUL that your company has hired you and continued paying you, your job and life will be easier. If you dread going into work, it will make time drag, you won't be productive, and you're likely to get sacked so they can hire someone that is happy as a clam to get a steady pay check.

2. When you first get in: Make a To-do list of everything that needs to get done that day (or week). Label each task with an A, B, or C next to it:

  • Items with A next to them are high priority, they need to get done TODAY.
  • B items are tasks that should get done today, so you should do them.
  • C items are low priority, they can wait until a later date if need be ( but keep adding them to your to-do lists each day so you don't forget about them).

3. Keep your e-mail well managed. It's okay to check your work e-mail after you make your to-do list. What's in there? Answer anything high priority first, before you start on your list. If you can't answer something immediately, add it to your to-do list and try to get it done before the end of the day ( sitting on e-mails often lead to them getting lost, which can lead to unhappy co-workers. Anything low priority, that can wait, comes after you have completed your A tasks for the day.

4. Don't spend more than 15 minutes in front of your e-mail at any point in the day. I work on my e-mails of the day when I break from doing my high-priority, "A" tasks. Make sure you keep your inbox organized and cleaned out ( you will have to make folders in your inbox to file them away).

5. If your "A" projects can't be done in a day ( you're waiting for people to get you things, they are too large, etc. etc.), multitask between managing your e-mail, completing your high priority tasks, and your "B" and "C" tasks.

6. The ABC system might not work for your workload. If you are having a hard time focusing, it could be that your workload is too hefty. If you suspect this may be the case, sit down with your boss and ask them to help you prioritize.

7. If you feel like people interrupt you a lot during the day, ask them to schedule a meeting with you (for longer issues), if people are interrupting you, and it can be resolved briefly, just answer them there and then, that way you don't have to worry about it later. You could always close your door, or use a privacy screen in the opening of your cube.

8. Let your phone go to voicemail if you don't know who is calling, or why they are calling, you can always call them back later.

9. If you have friends at work, make time to hang out with them during your lunch break, that way it isn't distracting you from keeping up with your to-do list. With that said, even if you eat your lunch at your desk, you still need to take your lunch break to deal with personal issues/ socialize so that it doesn't overspill or interrupt your productivity during the rest of the day.

10. Find little tricks to stay focused that work for YOU. Personally, I find, getting up for a cold glass of ice water every hour or so, working with my ipod on, and going for a walk on my lunch break, all help to keep me on track.

Staying focused at work is all about good time management skills, staying organized, and being a good multi-tasker. If you feel that you have tried several tactics to stay focused at work, you might want to consider taking some professional development courses, or speaking to a counselor to may sure there isn't a deeper underlying issue.


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    • profile image

      don 6 years ago

    • LeisureLife profile image

      LeisureLife 6 years ago from USA

      Another helpful way to stay ontop of things is to boost your energy! Drink Concoction here:

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Wow, this is quite a comprehensive Hub, and pretty helpful at that! I'd say you have all the tips and tricks noted here :)

    • profile image

      Jonzboy 8 years ago

      This is good advice and pretty simple. I'm finding junkfood is frying my brain and contributing to my lack of focus. Take this advice from Lady Luck very seriously! Also, I never get enough sleep and will try to focus on this for the next couple weeks...I'm desperate to get my workload back to a manageable level.

    • lady luck profile image

      lady luck 9 years ago from Boston

      I'm in publishing.

    • vreccc profile image

      vreccc 9 years ago from Concord, NH

      I can't believe I'm the first to respond to this hub! I need lists to be productive. I have an iPhone that checks all email accounts which I should probably turn off during the day. Hmmm.... that's hard.

      What industry are you in, Ladyluck?