wooden scrabble letters spelling focus

10 Helpful tips on how to stay focused


Being able to focus properly means being able to say no to other facets vying for your attention. Zeroing in is maybe the reason why a handful of people stick to their resolutions and others don’t.

At some point we have all struggled, even in the slightest, with concentration and focusing.

Maybe not Elon Musk but I was talking about mortal humans anyway.

Sometimes the task at hand either becomes ‘too’ daunting, we burnout, we lack concentration or we dreadfully procrastinate; <insert more reasons (excuses) here>.

This blog may help you better understand why that is or possibly help you whenever the urge of idleness decides to rear its ugly head.

I was recently spurred into action (after procrastinating of course) when I came across a Netflix show called ‘The Mind Explained’. I admit I have not watched every episode and I do not believe I needed to. After watching season 2 episode 1 – ‘How to Focus’ it became, ironically, a focal point for my own research into this subject.

To summarise in bullet points of some of the insight I gained from the episode:


  • Focus on one thing at a time
  • The gorilla test – did you see the gorilla walk in front of you while you was concentrating? 50% of people miss it.
  • People are easily distracted, make things easy to navigate and easily accessible.
  • Don’t check emails or social media every minute
  • Create structure, schedule your day beforehand so you are not wasting time on that day thinking of what to do
  • Meditation can help strengthen the ‘muscles’ for concentration
  • Motivation
  • Take a break


Below is a list of the helpful tips I’ve obtained through the series and my own experiences so far, these are the main aspects of how I stay focused in general, enjoy.


1: Get rid of distractions


The list of distractions can be endless but many peoples Achilles’ heel is usually along the lines of social media. Social media can be a great tool to enhance your brand and rightly so. The problem arises when you are endlessly scrolling in the depth of the rabbit hole, before you know it hours have passed and wasted.

What to do about it?

There are ways other than will power alone to stop you falling into this issue. Generally phones have a screen time limit or an app limit to help you realise how long you’ve been using each app or your phone in general. These limits highlight the fact and can go a long way to cap your time spent unnecessarily scrolling.

Turning off your app alerts can help with this matter, lets be real you don’t HAVE to know about every like on your latest Instagram post.

Better yet you can also try putting your phone on silent every now and then, I am sure your colleagues sitting near you or the person on the train wouldn’t mind that so much either.


2: Get a good sleep


This one is pretty self explanatory, not only does sleep improve your mood and help with memorising your studies, a good nights sleep will help with alertness and concentration, easing complex thoughts, mental health, judgement and productivity. More on this subject here.

What to do about it?

Following the steps above will help you to not be sleep deprived due to distractions.

Having a sleep routine should help, going to bed around the same time will allow you to wake around the same time. I understand that this can’t always be helped though.

The amount of sleep can vary for each individual, I know my ideal sleep amount is around seven hours. The majority are going to be just under or just over that amount.

Natural light or light from our screens can have an effect on our circadian rhythm – our natural system can be discombobulated by unnatural lights from our screens or from progressively sleeping during the day rather than at night. More on this subject here.


“The circadian system in animals and humans, being near but not exactly 24-hours in cycle length, must be reset on a daily basis in order to remain in synchrony with external environmental time.”[1]


Vision Protect Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Vision Protect Blue Light Blocking Glasses


Bedroom, Desk Lamp (Black) with Clamp, Eye Protection
Bedroom, Desk Lamp with Clamp, Eye Protection


3: Exercise frequently


I am a massive advocate for exercising as much as possible, having been a member of a gym for a long time now, I cannot stress enough how important this is for your mental and physical health. As a web developer I understand the importance of getting off your chair and getting out. Stepping away from the computer can help you regroup your thoughts and start again.


“Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention.”


What to do about it?

The most efficient way that I suggest would be joining a gym, if you have the means to, you can join one with a swimming pool, sauna and extra activities (like a David Lloyds). If that is out of your budget then look around your local area as there’s likely a gym near you or your workplace.

It doesn’t even have to be rigorous exercise, it could simply be a case of just going for walks or a bike ride. If you’re really feeling adventurous, hiking and dancing/dance lessons are excellent ways to lose weight, have fun and feel invigorated – after feeling shattered of course.


4: Diet


Without a good diet, exercising and concentration will mean very little. You may have heard of the term ‘brain foods’, a quick search for this on Google can help you choose the foods that are best to eat that would be healthy for your hard working brain.

There are also the foods and drinks for us to avoid like highly processed food or alcohol, for more details on foods to avoid check this blog out here.

What to do about it?

I am sure many people will be happy to know that coffee, in moderation, seems to be good for our brain alertness and helps with concentration. So enjoy.

There is one type of food that pops up constantly as the ultimate brain food:


“about 60% of your brain is made of fat, and half of that fat is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids”…


which is found in fish. I would say if you tend not to eat too much fish during the week then taking some cod liver oil can do wonders for you and also helps your decision making.


Related: Cod Liver Oil One-A-Day by Seven Seas, Omega-3 supplement supporting Brain, Heart, Vision, Plus High Strength Vitamin D for the immune system, 120 Capsules


Making the effort to eat a healthy balanced diet will help so many aspects of your life not just concentration, click here to see what we believe is a great balanced diet and why.


5: Motivation/Interest


Another highly important aspect to stay focused is the reason why you are doing it all in the first place. Are you self motivated enough to stay on track? If not then perhaps ask yourself why you aren’t. Have you got your goals in place and your end goal reminders to work towards? Are you even interested?

Interest and motivation can dwindle, it happens, just be aware that interest levels can be boosted with success. In fact its not uncommon for people to fall in love with something only after they get the ball rolling and become successful. Sometimes however a lack of interest just comes down to an individual and a change within themselves, being motivated after this has happened is almost impossible.

What to do about it?

Something I realised when I used to study a lot in my room, on my bed, mainly because I did not have a desk, once I knew how serious I was with my plans I knew a desk was necessary. I purchased a desk and another bigger monitor (so I can use dual screens).

Needless to say a proper working environment will help boost your productivity and motivate you to work more, in my case I was no longer associating my room with lounging or working which was also having an effect on my sleep. It allowed me to distinguish between resting and taking a break. This in turn can help build better disciplines and routines to follow.

Motivation can affect your life in many ways here is an article on the vital importance of motivation.


6: Using Organisation Apps


Unless you have a photographic memory the chances of you remembering everything is slim to none.

Being organised is essential to your daily and weekly tasks and productivity. Delegating and prioritising your day will enable you to concentrate on the things that need to get done for that particular day. This makes a world of difference if you are not already doing it.

Luckily there are many apps out there that can help you stay organised and are really easy to use.

What to do about it?

The most simple apps I use on a daily is the calendar on my phone, I use it as a reminder and a to do list for my days ahead.

As well as scheduling the more important tasks like meetings and work deadlines, I would also suggest getting into the habit of writing things to your calendar that come to your head, it could be subtle reminders but these reminders can make a massive difference over the long run.

To organise myself with the coming week I check my calendar and write out the things I need to get done in more detail and put these on an app called Trello. With Trello it’s possible to share the weekly programme and plans with colleagues in order to keep them up to speed if needed.

Now there are plenty of different apps you can use for these reasons and a quick search on Google can help you find what suits you best.

What you may find once you start writing things down, is that you will start to have an abundance of ideas and/or content.





7: Take a break/Unfocus


As important as it is to stay focused and keeping on top of everything, it is also so important to just take a break, this will actually help your productivity and you will have less risk of burning out.

Regular intervals helps you to de-stress, enhance creativity and make better decisions, a more in depth look into this can be found here.

What to do about it?

I find that when I’m in the ‘zone’, I like to stay in it for as long as possible where time seems to fly, I’m sure many can relate with this feeling. However, I notice when I start to slow down with my work and my brain starts to fog up, it usually means I need a break.

Breaks can vary in length, I’d say take at least 15 minutes depending on how long since the last break. These intervals are not including gym/exercise time and meals/eating. If the breaks need to be longer then I would also suggest taking a walk or bike ride when possible, up to an hour or so works perfectly for me, if you have some greenery near you this would be an ideal place to unwind and replenish your thoughts.

I cannot count how many times I have been stuck on an issue, gone out for a walk, came back with ‘fresh eyes’ and seen the solution staring me in the face.

Finally, remember to make more of an effort to stay social. Having the luxury of working from home probably means socialising has taken a hit, therefore attending networking events and understanding the importance of visiting friends when possible should never be underestimated.


8: Breakdown the work


“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it” C.S Lewis


If you have a big project that you’re working on, you would generally have a team or even a department taking chunks out of it to ease the load for everyone. This is for fairly obvious reasons. The bigger the job the more chunks there are to go around.

What to do about it?

Assuming you work by yourself and the project isn’t too overwhelming in the first place, you can try delegating your work to freelancers as an option, however this isn’t always viable. Simply put, working on the bigger projects means breaking it down so it’s manageable.

One thing that has worked well for me and I guess this is part of the learning curve of becoming a programmer is to take the problem or the thing you are trying to achieve/solve and break it down into bite size chunks; write down what it is you are trying to achieve and then write down manageable steps or goals to deal with the main course.

Another game changer for me was to switch off BEFORE finishing a task.

Of course if you have deadlines be mindful of leaving enough time to finish your work, however when I slip into the ‘zone’ and I realise it’s getting late I halt my progress where I know it would be easy for me to pick up where I left off and get into the zone again the following day.


white statue of buddha
Photo by Mattia Faloretti on Unsplash


9: Meditate


There are many people that may be dead against meditation working for them, these people may have given up too soon. Nevertheless it may not be for everyone.

For those that are more open minded to the idea of meditation, try to give it some time before you really feel the results.

I am no spiritual healer or guru so I will not pretend to know the ‘correct’ way to meditate but from my experience sitting still for a period of time, usually at least 10 minutes, concentrating your thoughts on your breathing really seems to help me clear my thoughts.

It doesn’t always work to my intentions, however I believe it’s important to not let your frustrations get to you.


10: Asking for help


Finally, do not be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling, sometimes all the above points may not be helping you for what could be a number of reasons. Helpful friends or professionals can help point you in the right direction.




There are many distracting aspects in today’s world, so much stimulation from seemingly everywhere you look.

The list above can help you set a path, a path of tunnel vision, to enable a sturdier focus.

There may be more reasons on ‘how to focus’ and you probably have your own but one thing I can say for certain is, keeping a certain level of concentration can be uncomfortable. 

Being uncomfortable can lead to growth.

In the Netflix show, one of the women being interviewed mentioned that its one of life’s great challenges to choose where we want our attentions to go. I am inclined to agree.

When you make your choice, do not forget that learning to focus will help you get what you are looking for.





This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

Please note I do not have a PHD and I cannot give clinical or medical advice – these are things that have worked for me and my experiences.