Finding it difficult to focus? Sometimes a little space is all you need.

Isolate yourself from too familiar or too comfortable surroundings. Studies show that your local coffee house can be a tremendous place to get work done. How can that be? The cacophony of irrelevant noise and activity creates an isolation barrier allowing you to better focus. Also, its presence eliminates the more relevant (and often distracting) noise and activity that exists in more familiar settings.

Similarly, use headphones to create choice background noise. Optimally, choose sounds or music designed to keep you on task, using applications like For some physical skill-based tasks, a catchy or motivating song can boost productivity, while for more mentally demanding activities, or rule or knowledge-based tasks, silence, white noise, or perhaps lyric-free music, can better serve.

Do similarly for visual cues by eliminating all but needed materials in your field of vision. Clean up your immediate work area.

Finally, work to expand the duration for which you can effectively concentrate. Set a timer to establish a defined period of task focus and mental concentration. Expand this timeframe as your ability to concentrate expands. Ask not to be interrupted during this period and put your phone in a different location.

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