How To Regain Your Focus When You Feel Unproductive

A practical guide for taking back control of your productivity.

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Photo by Feranmi Ogundeko on Unsplash

I used to feel incredibly guilty whenever I lost my focus while working. The reason? I was one of those people who thought they had to be productive during every waking minute of the day.

I worked as much as humanly possible. Every single second was spent typing on my laptop, trying to get loads of work completed in the shortest amount of time.

But one day, I became overwhelmed. I struggled to focus and couldn’t even summon the mental energy to type a sentence. I thought I was a failure.

Now, I know that’s not the case. My past self failed to realize that you need to relax and take time for yourself to have the mental energy to work efficiently. Otherwise, you’ll just feel burned out all the time.

So if you want to become a lot more productive, here are several things you can do to regain your focus. Each of these insights changed my life for the better, and I’m sure they will do the same for you, too.

Take A Deep Breath.

According to Harvard Medical School, “Breath focus helps you concentrate on slow, deep breathing and aids you in disengaging from distracting thoughts and sensations.”

My mind used to race at a thousand miles per hour while working. But once I began implementing this strategy, I found it much easier to gain mental clarity and concentrate on my work.

Inhale for six seconds, and then breathe out. Rinse and repeat that strategy as many times as you want. It’ll help to reduce any feelings of stress or anxiety.

Close Any Extra Tabs In Your Browser.

This strategy was a massive game-changer for me. Whenever you need to focus, close any tabs and/or applications that aren’t vital to the completion of your task.

For example, you probably don’t need Facebook, YouTube, or Netflix open in the background of your internet browser while working on a new spreadsheet.

Distractions will just increase the amount of time it takes to complete a task. Remove them. Because when you spend less time on things that don’t matter, you’ll find it much easier to concentrate on the things that do.

Go Outside For A 30 Minute Walk.

I used to spend the entirety of my day indoors. From dawn until dusk, I’d stare at the same four walls while trying to work. But over the past twelve months, I’ve realized that’s a terrible strategy.

I’ve recently started going on walks during the day. Sometimes, it’s just for a few minutes around my neighborhood. Other times, I’ll walk along the shore of Lake Ontario and listen to the sounds of nature. It’s beautiful.

So if you want to improve your productivity, break up the monotony of your daily routine, and explore your local area. It could be a short walk before work, during your lunch break, or any other time of day that works for you.

The effect it’ll have on your mental health and ability to focus will be incredibly profound.

Write Down One Thing You Can Do Right Now.

In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy writes: “Your outcomes are all a result of your moment-to-moment choices. You have incredible power to change your life by changing those choices.”

He’s totally right. Writing a novel starts with typing the first word. Running a marathon begins with taking the first step. If you continually put one foot in front of the other, you’ll eventually reach your desired destination.

Write down one thing you can do right now to get a little bit closer towards your goals. For example, if you want to write a new article, you could spend five minutes writing the bullet points of what you want to say.

Your level of productivity isn’t going to go from zero to one hundred within a matter of minutes. Starting is often the most challenging part. So if you want to regain your focus, begin with small tasks that are easy to complete.

Make it easy for yourself. You’ll find it much easier to concentrate as you won’t be forcing yourself to jump in the deep end.

Take a few deep breaths. Close any extra tabs in your browser. Take a walk around your local area. Write down one thing you can do right now to make progress towards your goals.

If you can do all of that, it’ll be a lot easier to regain your focus and improve your productivity. So what are you waiting for?

Start now.

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