Hard to Concentrate? How Not to Lose Focus and Improve It: 14 Tips

how not to lose focus

Finding it Hard to Concentrate? Don’t Lose Focus Anymore! Find 14 tips on how to improve focus and increase your attention span for more productivity, here.

‘I Can’t Get Anything Done’

Having the potential to achieve your dream but not being able to focus on it may create frustration, low self-esteem and a feeling of no accomplishment.

It’s easy to get lost in the pursuit of endless goals, jumping from one to another, exhausting oneself by the end of the day and still having nothing accomplished.

Are You Distracted by Everything? The Curse of Digital Age!

In today’s digital age, we get bombarded with the lives and goals of many around us.

It’s so insane that you can’t really concentrate on anything and find yourself getting easily distracted.

Want to see how?

Imagine yourself working on your project but then you get tempted to check your social media account.

Then starts the barrage of updates.

“Ross has lost tons of weight, and now he looks irresistible.”

“Sheila has hit the jackpot running her new Internet business.”

“Ramesh is on a world tour, posting every hour of his travel on Instagram, enticing you to be there too.”

“Salma got admission to an Ivy League college.”

“John got his dream job.”

“Kyla got a promotion.”

“Manpreet just got married.”

“Sheena had her baby.”

“Kamal just wrote a bestseller.”

Amir left his job and country and now seeking his passion and living in Hawaii.”

“Helen has an envious love and sex life which she can’t stop gushing about.” 

What do these ‘updates’ do to you?

They paralyse you.

Aside from leaving you feeling dissatisfied with yourself, these updates create stress and anxiety—a sense of inadequacy and a feeling of never being good enough.

They steal away your focus.

It becomes challenging to stay focused and concentrate on one goal.

You wonder, how to focus better when every other option looks equally lucrative, worth chasing. 

The truth is every goal needs conscious effort and efforts need time, and we have limited time.

Wouldn’t it be easier to stay focused on a goal if we could decide what to pursue and what to reject? It sure would.

This article is all about improving your ability to focus, maintaining it and staying on the course to success.

Including the tips and techniques to increase your ability to concentrate and focus, you will enjoy a life of joy and satisfaction.

Let’s start with the basics first.

What is Focus?

Focus is your ability to choose a task and to finish it efficiently without extra stress. Focus gets you a high-quality result in minimum time without making you feel anxious.

You can’t finish a task unless you know what is expected of you, what you need to complete, and what you would achieve once you are done with it.

Having a clear idea of what you want to do and why you want to do it is a necessary prerequisite for attention and focus. 

Then, how you deal with all the distractions which may pop up along the way decides your strength of focus and attention span.

Why to Stay Focused?

If you want to change something, make an impact, you need a focused effort. 

Learning how to focus yourself might improve your chances of completing a task efficiently; that would boost your self-confidence and reduce stress in your life, making you the driver of your destiny.

A constant feeling of achievement can work wonders for your sense of well-being.

That’s the reason why focus is essential.

How Do You Lose Focus and Why is It So Hard to Concentrate?

You might have an IQ of a genius or the potential of a world-class athlete, or maybe both, but a lack of focus in your life wouldn’t take you far. 

5 reasons you can’t stay focused, lose attention and find it difficult to concentrate:

1. Multitasking Can Make You Lose Focus

There are many reasons why someone may find it difficult to focus on one thing.

Their belief that they can multitask is one such common reason.

They erroneously think that they can achieve more in less time if they could do everything together.

It’s a common irrational belief.

They fail to realise that there is a switching cost involved when they shift their attention from one task to another; that results in a significant drop in their overall productivity.

2. Fear of Missing Out

Then another reason is their inability to decide what goal to choose.

With so many options, a fear of missing out (FOMO) creeps in; that in itself is enough to freeze our minds.

They find many things interesting, and it can get tough for them to select “one” item and pursue it over a sustained period.

Fear of choosing something wrong and the resultant regret may keep many paralysed.

So, it’s better to choose a goal carefully and stick to it no matter what.

3. Instant Gratification

Then another reason why you lose focus is being impatient.

Wanting instant gratification may break focus if a goal requires you to pay attention for a longer period of time.

For example, you want to write a book and publish it; but if you don’t have the patience to research endlessly and make you sit through hours and hours of writing, your focus is bound to wear off soon.

4. Wanting External Validation

Many people don’t know why they are up to a task.

They either chose to do it unwillingly because of external pressure or the lack of better options.

In both cases, they would struggle with maintaining the zeal to work hard and pursue their goal and would find themselves losing focus. 

5. Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety and fear of failure or looking bad may result in many people losing their focus—for instance, the inability to focus while having sex.

Many men find their minds wandering during sex because they are worried about their performance and how long they can stay in it.

Similarly, women can get disconnected if they don’t feel comfortable with their appearance and how they look.

Not being in the moment, worrying about other things may diminish the pleasure and, in turn, can make you feel frustrated.

How Do I Stop Losing Focus? 14 Tips to Improve Your Focus When It’s Difficult to Concentrate

How to improve concentration?

It doesn’t matter if you have been someone who has struggled all their life with having a focus to finish things.

The bigger goals in life need years of focus and concentration.

For instance, writing a book is not a one day task.

Your challenge is to maintain your motivation to write that book, day in day out, for months until it’s completed.

It’s so easy to lose interest in between and leave it unfinished.

There are many reasons why a book never gets finished.

Maybe you realised you are wasting your time writing it; you are not confident about your writing skills; you can’t find time for it; other life goals became more urgent.

We have rounded up some tips and techniques to focus better and turn your life around.

Here are 14 ways how not to lose focus and improve it when it’s hard to concentrate:

1. Decide What to Focus on First

It’s almost impossible to do everything, even if you have a talent for each of those things.

The reason?

We have limited time and attention resources.

Sure, you want to look your best, marry the perfect person, pursue a successful career, live in a beautiful place.

All these things are attainable with the right kind of focus and effort.

However, if you are planning to achieve everything at once, you are paving your path to failure.

There is only one way to do everything on your wishlist: prioritising the goals or dreams and choosing to focus on one goal at a time.

a. The Advice of Oracle of Omaha

One of the greatest investors of our time, Warren Buffet, once shared one of his crucial decision-making strategies.

There are three steps to it.

First, come up with the top 25 goals you want to achieve in a week/month/year/ lifetime.

Second, whittle down to the top 5 and eliminate the rest.

Third, focus only on those ultimate five goals, and avoid the rest at all costs.

b. How to Prioritise Goals

By assessing the importance and urgency of a goal, you can decide its order.

Time-sensitive goals that can also improve your life and move you forward to a better spot are the ones that should be at the top of your list.

In other words, the most important and urgent goals take the first position.

Then come the urgent and lesser important goals, followed by important and not-so-urgent ones, and then finally, the least important and the not-so-urgent ones.

The word “important” here means something that has a positive impact on your life; something which is in tune with your values and makes your life worth living; something vital to your growth, survival, and happiness.

2. Say Yes to Single-tasking

It may sound repetitive, but committing to just “one” thing is the key to laser-sharp focus.

The mind works at its maximum capacity when it tackles a single problem at a time.

Multitasking can be exhausting for your brain. 


Context switching makes you pause your brain for some moment, and it needs to read the new rules and framework for the switched task.

The result?

Frequent context switching can make you anxious and stressed.

Doing a single job and committing to it would result in high-quality work and a greater sense of achievement.

How to not lose focus at work if you have a desk job?

While working on the computer, it’s a good idea to open just a single tab, the one you are working on, and close others.

Keeping your browser in full-screen mode too can overcome the impulse to context switching and can boost concentration.

3. Live in the Moment

Ruminating, rehashing the past conversations or worry about the future can shift your focus from the task at hand. Once your concentration gets divided, your productivity starts to diminish. 

Life throws its many curveballs at us, and then it can get tough to be here and now.

Break-ups, divorce, loss of loved ones, failure in business, physical and mental health issues can bring our life to a standstill.

The resultant thoughts and worry can feel like a constant companion.

It is almost impossible to pay attention to your goal with such intrusive thoughts. How to concentrate when going gets tough?

Learning to live in the moment doesn’t happen overnight; it needs practice.

Many people swear by the benefits of meditation when it comes to helping them live in the present.

Train your brain for meditation and deep breathing.

Practising meditation and mindfulness can make one aware of their thoughts without the urge to resist them which in turn can improve cognition.

Being non-judgmental to these thoughts leave you unaffected by their adverse effects.

4. Make Daily Goals and Have a To-do List

Knowing what to do and when to do it is an essential requirement for a focused mind.

Taking some time to prioritise daily goals in the evening or the first thing the following day can help you seize the day.

You do not want to be wasting your time wondering what to do next during the most productive hours.

Making daily goals and having a to-do list would provide you with clarity and motivation to strike off your goals, one by one. 

5. Take Breaks and Rejuvenate

A source of constant stimulation can tire out our minds soon.

As time passes by, our brain finds it difficult to carry on the same task with the same concentration level.

Taking regular breaks, however, can refuel our attention capacity, making us more productive.

A good suggestion would be to do 90-minutes of uninterrupted work followed by a small break (10-15 minutes).

A cup of coffee, a short walk around the block, listening to music or a quick call to your loved ones can help you regain your focus to grapple with the task.

Taking daily physical exercise and following good sleeping hygiene too can help you rejuvenate.

6. Tackle Distractions by Scheduling Them

Sometimes you are engrossed in your work, and suddenly, out of nowhere, a thought pops into your head that tries to attract your attention towards it.

This non-work related thought is enough to put a break in your focus. 

What options do you have? 

If you engage with it, you are going to waste your time.

If you resist it, you would again waste your time.

The best option is to acknowledge it and schedule a later time when you can fully engage with it.

Most of the time, such thoughts are unimportant, and the urge to engage with them fizzle out after some moments.

7. Review Your Progress

Once you start working on a goal, keep track of your progress.

Knowing how you performed throughout the day, what’s left to be done, what needs to be tackled the next day, what’s not working for you, how and where to find help if you get stuck, and when to schedule it in case of emergency, would help you stay on the course, even if it is for years.

8. Measure Results

The best way to improve your performance is by measuring your results; that will tell you where you are and how much more effort is required from your end to complete the goal. 

For example, suppose your goal is to lose your body weight by 12 kg in six months.

You find that with your current diet and workout choices, you can shed 1 kilogram a month.

Measuring this result will tell you how much you need to adjust your diet and workout if you want to achieve your goal in six months. 

9. Get A Feedback

We don’t like to see our efforts getting wasted.

It could be heartbreaking when months of hard work doesn’t produce the intended result. It can create a fear of failure. 

You can’t stay focused second-guessing yourself.

Everyone needs validation for their efforts, so it is essential to have mentors who can provide constructive feedback.

The confidence that whatever we are doing is right and will reach us to our goal could be key to not lose focus and increase attention span.

10. Control Your Environment

Your environment must be free from the noise for a laser-sharp focus and have optimal light, temperature, and minimum visual stimulations.

For maximum productivity, a room temperature between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable.

The noise from nearby construction sites or a radio blaring from a neighbour next door could hamper the flow of your thoughts.

While it’s difficult to stop such noise, you could ensure that it doesn’t reach you.

Thick curtains, closed doors and windows, or noise-cancelling headphones may give you some respite.

11. Take Care of Your Vital Needs

When you focus on completing a task, make sure that you don’t have a growling stomach!

Eat balanced meals at regular intervals so that your energy is maintained throughout the day.

Glucose fluctuation in the blood may lead you to lose concentration.

In the same way, have a water bottle beside you and take regular washroom breaks so that you don’t have to break your concentration.

12. Handle Your Colleagues and Friends

We are social creatures who love to interact with each other as it gives us some sense of security and comfort.

However, to produce high-quality work, you need at least four to five hours of uninterrupted attention a day.

That being said, we do like to have some fun whether we are at work or home.

We don’t want to look aloof, overly ambitious or someone who doesn’t enjoy life, but it’s essential to create healthy boundaries for our colleagues, friends and family so that our work doesn’t get impacted.

It’s like walking a tight rope, and we may unintentionally offend some of our sensitive loved ones too.

So, how to focus?

Requesting them some uninterrupted time for work, politely, is one way to deal with this situation.

13. Put Your Phone Away!

All those pings and vibrations emanating from your phone can disrupt your concentration.

If switching your phone off isn’t possible, keeping the notifications on mute would be a great idea.

I know, it could be particularly challenging for those of us who start to get palpitations if we don’t get to check our phones every ten minutes.

Still, to produce high-quality work, we need to pay attention for a longer duration, and that’s impossible to maintain if our phones keep interrupting us.

A great tip to intact your focus is to leave your phone in another room, if possible.

14. Take Professional Help For Worries and Intrusive Thoughts

Do you find yourself worrying about your weight or looks while you are working?

Or maybe you are stewing over an argument with your best friend while cooking?

The feelings of anxiety, anger or sadness may distract us from the present moment.

Once we drift off, our attention dilutes, which disengages us from the work we are trying to complete.

It not only wastes time and impacts the quality of the work, but it also creates frustration and more stress.

It would be a good idea to take professional help if you find yourself getting overwhelmed with worries and intrusive thoughts.

Can’t Concentrate When Someone is Talking?

It’s not just at work or school that we struggle to focus on the task at hand.

Sometimes, it could be relaxing situations like talking to a friend or having sex when we find ourselves getting lost in a different world.

Here are some tips, keeping in mind these issues, which can help you enjoy engaging conversations. For tips on staying focused during sex, you can read this article.

How to Focus When Someone is Talking

Do you find yourself zoning out while talking to a friend or during social interaction?

It could be challenging to follow conversations when your mind wanders and you can’t concentrate.

Wondering how to concentrate? Fret not! 

One of the tips to be an active listener is to pay attention to the speaker and ask them questions.

Doing that will keep your mind receptive to their answers and what they say further.

If you happen to miss out on any point, there is no shame in acknowledging it and politely requesting them to repeat themselves; that will bring you back in the conversation.

Another tip is repeating and confirming what they just said.

It’s pretty normal to misinterpret when someone is speaking, so it’s a good idea to verify with the speaker that what you understood is what they meant.

Maybe you can’t concentrate when someone like your teacher is talking or giving a lecture.

To focus in class, aside from following the tips mentioned earlier, you can try sitting in the front row and taking notes in the book itself.

Both these tips would significantly help you improve your focus in the class while studying.


The mind is happiest dealing with one task at a time. Trying to juggle multiple tasks at once is the surest way to failure and unproductivity.

By proper time management, committing to a single goal, keeping track of its progress, and seeking constructive feedback, you can become focused and more productive.

If have been trying hard to concentrate, hopefully, using the aforementioned tips, you will never lose focus again and will achieve greater efficiency.


Deep Work by Cal Newport

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