How To Improve Your Concentration at Work in 15 Ways

Updated July 27, 2023

A person seated at a desk gazes thoughtfully out a window.

Concentration involves focusing your efforts on a single task or activity so you adapt to new information and complete your duties more quickly. Concentration skills are often important in various roles, allowing you to learn new things and better achieve your personal and professional goals. Learning how to improve your concentration can help you reduce distractions in the workplace, which may increase your productivity and work quality. 

In this article, we discuss what concentration is, describe how to improve your concentration and list some of the primary benefits of improving your concentration in the workplace. 

What is concentration?

Concentration is the act of thinking carefully about what you're doing. When you concentrate, you focus your mental effort on one subject or task. By doing so, you can exclude any unrelated feelings, thoughts, ideas or sensations. This allows you to complete the task more quickly and accurately, as it helps you eliminate distractions. Concentrating at work can be important for succeeding in various careers. 

Related: Mental Focus: 10 Ways To Improve Your Concentration

How to improve your concentration

Here are the primary ways you can help improve your concentration: 

1. Eliminate distractions

Distractions can affect the quality of your work, so it can be beneficial to eliminate as many as possible to improve your concentration. Consider what distracts you from your work most often and then take necessary steps to reduce or remove those distractions. For example, if you check your email, text messages, social media or favorite websites during the workday, consider turning your phone off at the start of each day and putting it away. You could also uninstall any games that may divert your attention from your work and block certain websites you frequent. 

Related: 15 Tips on How To Eliminate Distractions at Work

2. Meditate regularly 

Meditation can help reduce stress, allow you to feel more awake and increase your attention span. It may also have a positive impact on your memory and cognition. Consider beginning your morning with a meditation session by breathing deeply for a few minutes. You may also watch guided meditation videos to increase your patience and reduce anxiety. If you feel yourself losing concentration while at work, close your eyes briefly and take a deep breath to regain your focus. 

Related: 11 Simple Morning Routines To Start Your Day

3. Exercise

Exercise can help you reduce distractions more easily and improve your overall concentration and productivity. Try to exercise regularly and incorporate an exercise routine into your workday. For example, you could take a short walk around the office parking lot or in your neighborhood during your lunch hour each day. You could also visit a gym before or after work each day. 

4. Build willpower

Willpower is the ability to reduce your impulse to do something to achieve your long-term goals. You may exercise willpower to avoid the temptation to watch videos on social media rather than work on your project during the day. To develop your willpower, try to set one goal at a time and be specific about your goals so you can commit to achieving them. Consider rewarding yourself each time you exercise willpower to continue to reinforce positive behaviors. 

Related: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

5. Practice your memorization

Memorization can help you retain information more quickly and improve your learning experience. It can also help you increase your vocabulary and improve your writing quality while allowing you to concentrate on important tasks at work for longer periods. You can improve your memory by reciting a poem, quote, verse or piece of trivia to yourself each day. You might also complete a puzzle or play a strategy game outside work. 

Related: Best Games You Can Play To Improve Your Memory

6. Read more often 

Challenge yourself to read a book more often to improve your ability to focus. In addition, consider spending some time reading articles that interest you. Not only can reading improve your comprehension, but it can also help increase your attention span. As you read more, you may be able to concentrate on tasks for a longer amount of time. 

7. Be more attentive

Practicing attentive listening is important for improving concentration and interpersonal skills. Make an effort to listen attentively in your conversations with family members, friends or colleagues. For example, you could turn your phone off and avoid checking it while eating lunch with a colleague to avoid the distraction of a text notification. Convey your attentiveness by using both verbal and nonverbal cues. In addition, consider taking notes during meetings to remember the details that the participants discussed more easily. 

8. Work when you're at your most productive

Identifying the times of day when you're most alert and completing your tasks during those times can help you maintain concentration for longer periods. For example, you may discover that you can complete more tasks earlier in the day instead of later, so you might decide to finish more time-consuming projects before lunch. In addition, note the times of day when you're less productive and then work on fewer time-consuming tasks. 

9. Know when to take breaks

When you concentrate on one activity for a long time, you might notice that you're less focused. You can increase your attention span and overall concentration by taking breaks throughout the day. Consider taking a 10- to 15-minute break for every hour you work to enhance your mental concentration. If you decide to work a little longer, you may instead take a 25- or 30-minute break. In addition, make an effort only to check company emails during work hours and try to avoid working overtime to maintain a healthier work-life balance. 

Related: How To Schedule Your Day and Be More Productive

10. Declutter your surroundings

At the end of each day, organize your workspace and remove any distractions that may prevent you from working productively. File away any old paperwork on your desk and store any documents that you aren't using inside your desk. A clean workspace can help you avoid becoming distracted throughout the day. 

Related: 10 Tips for Organizing Your Desk, Office or Cubicle at Work

11. Determine your ideal noise level  

While some people work more productively in a quiet environment, others may concentrate easier by listening to music or background noise. Determine your preferred noise level and consider how you might implement it while at work. For example, if you discover that you can concentrate better in a quiet environment and you work in a busy office, consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. If you concentrate better when listening to background music, choose a type of music that doesn't contain lyrics that might distract you. 

Related: Steps for How To Handle Loud Coworkers

12. Adjust the temperature

Feeling too hot or too cold can reduce your ability to concentrate. While you may be unable to adjust the thermostat if you work in an office, you can store a light sweater or fan on your desk to help you adapt to different temperatures. Consider speaking with your manager about adjusting the temperate so you can work more comfortably. If you work from home, set your thermostat to a temperature conducive to productivity.

13. Use a timer

Consider using a timer to help you concentrate on your work for a certain amount of time. Set a timer for 20 to 30 minutes and choose one task to work on. When the alarm rings, you can take a short break to do a stretching exercise before you continue working. You might decide to increase the time each day until you can determine the level of productivity that's best for you. 

Related: 12 Strategies and Tips To Improve Your Focus at Work

14. Vary your tasks 

Rather than trying to complete longer or more difficult tasks at once, consider switching to easier tasks or activities that you enjoy doing when you begin to lose concentration. This can help prevent you from becoming tired and allow you to regain your concentration and stay productive for longer. As you complete a task, assess your mental focus and alertness. If you become distracted, consider changing your work environment if you work remotely or taking a short break to work on a new task. 

15. Prioritize one task at a time

Try to reduce multitasking instead of prioritizing one large task at a time before you decide to complete another. This can help you increase your focus and reduce additional distractions. Multitasking may include listening to a podcast while writing a report, sending an email while speaking to a customer on the phone or trying to complete multiple projects at once. Consider keeping a list of the times you multitask to help reduce those negative habits. 

Related: How To Prioritize Workplace Tasks (With 5 Steps and Tips)

Benefits of improving your concentration

Concentrating correctly can help you perform your work more quickly and avoid making mistakes. Good concentration can also improve your decision-making skills and your ability to adapt to new situations. By improving your concentration, you may improve your overall performance at work, which can help you access better career opportunities and advance in your role more quickly. Some additional benefits associated with improving your concentration at work include: 

  • You can complete tasks more efficiently. Better concentration can help you complete tasks more quickly and efficiently, increasing productivity and output. 

  • You can produce higher quality work. Good concentration can also allow you to complete tasks with fewer mistakes while ensuring that your work is of the highest possible quality.

  • You may experience less stress. Eliminating distractions from your work can help you reduce the likelihood of missing an important deadline and allow you to schedule your day based on the times when you're most productive, which may reduce your overall stress level.

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