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Focus Techniques That Work

time management strategies

If you’ve ever had one of those days (or weeks) where you find yourself staring out of the window and daydreaming you know that it can be difficult to concentrate on even the most routine tasks. I have these days often enough that I’ve developed an action plan. When it’s time for me to switch to “laser focus mode”, I reach for a few tried and true focus techniques that help me to increase my productivity and maximize efficiency. Maybe some of these will work for you!  

Listen to Music. Put on a giant set of noise-canceling headphones and block out the bustling energy of the office (or your home)!  YouTube has a fantastic array of music. There are playlists of music in all genres from all of the world! I choose unfamiliar instrumental music so I’m not distracted by lyrics.  Pick the tempo that works best for your project and enjoy the heightened focus! 

Set a timer. I have an hourglass on my desk.  It’s actually a “half-hourglass”.  It caught my eye because it looks neat, but I started using it to challenge myself to stay in the zone and it really works!  There are no minutes or seconds to obsess over, just the gentle visual cue of bits of sand making their way from one side of the glass to the other.    When it’s time to commit to a project, I turn that thing upside down and the challenge is on! An added bonus? It serves as a visual signal to coworkers that I’m “in the zone”. 

Stand up!  The best investment I’ve ever made for my professional workspace is a desk converter that allows one to sit or stand while working.  You can find these on Amazon for around $100, and I’ve seen some at outlet stores for as little as $30! When it’s time to review a lot of data at once (like your grades!) I’m able to do it without hunching over like I tend to when I’m seated. Standing is energizing!  Which brings us to the next tip….  

Take a walk! Our bodies are designed to move!  When we sit still for too long, inertia sets in and we can feel everything slow down.  If you’re feeling sluggish or stuck, take a quick walk around the building to get your blood flowing again!  Mini-breaks can spark new ideas and inspired perspectives. 

Put it on the calendar.  If you have open office hours, block out time for important tasks so you can devote your full attention to them. Not everyone is able to turn off email notifications, but if you can, take advantage of it!

If you have practices that help you to concentrate, please feel free to share them!
Here’s to your success!



Mycenea Worley Student Success Coach

Contact Information

Mycenea Worley
Montclair State University
Student Success Coach


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