Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Do you ever feel that you need to focus at work but don’t have the words to say it in English?

With open floor plans and flexible office space, many professionals find it hard to focus at work these days.

In this episode of the All Ears English podcast, Lindsay and Michelle discuss how to say you need to focus at the office.

We’ll share strategies and provide additional tips on how to maintain focus and increase productivity in the workplace.

In these situations, the words you choose matter.

Your goal is always to maintain connection but you also need space to focus on your work.

Tip 1: Acknowledge the importance of focus

Maintaining focus at work can be a challenge, especially with numerous distractions vying for our attention.

It is crucial for accomplishing tasks efficiently and effectively.

By recognizing the value of staying focused, you can prioritize your workflow and allocate time and energy to the most important tasks.

There are key phrases you can use.

“I need to focus on this project before I get back to you.”

“I will take ten minutes to concentrate on this report but then I need to get back to the meeting.”

Tip 2: Create a distraction-free environment

If you find it difficult to concentrate in your usual workspace, consider changing your surroundings.

Going to a café or finding a quiet spot away from usual distractions can help create an environment conducive to focus.

Especially if you have one task that requires in-depth work and needs to be prioritized, going to a different place to complete that one task can help.

Tip 3: Eliminate digital distractions

There are several things you can do to minimize or eliminate distractions.

  • Silence notifications on your phone
  • Close unnecessary tabs on your computer
  • Use apps that block access to social media and distracting websites

These strategies can help you stay focused.

Tip 4: Utilize time management techniques

Determine when you are most alert and focused during the day.

Complete your most important tasks during those hours.

For example, Lindsay is most focused in the morning.

Sometimes when there are important things to get done, she’ll try to complete those first, before checking her email.

Tip 5: Prioritize tasks

Make a to-do list and categorize tasks based on urgency and importance.

Tackle the most critical tasks when you are at your freshest.

Allocate time to less demanding tasks when your energy levels naturally dip.

There are useful phrases to say this to yourself or others.

“You need to apply yourself.”

“I need to apply myself.”

This phrase is more about the big picture choices that you make in your career path.

You might say this to a teenager when you want to encourage them to apply to colleges.

Another way to say this is “direct one’s attention.”

“She worked hard during the week, but on the weekends she directed her attention to her family.”

Tip 6: Break tasks into manageable chunks

It’s easy to feel like you’re in over your head.

This feeling happens when we allow ourselves to get overwhelmed.

You can avoid overwhelm by breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps.

This approach increases focus and helps prevent procrastination.

Tip 7: Choose the right words

Be direct and clear when you communicate that you need to focus.

You need phrases in English to say that you should not be disturbed.

“I really need to focus on my work right now.”

This communicates to colleagues or family members that you require uninterrupted time to concentrate.

Tip 8: Set boundaries

One option is to place a “do not disturb” sign on your door or cubicle.

This signals to others that you are engaged in focused work.

Alternatively, consider using noise-canceling headphones as a visual indicator that you need uninterrupted time.

Tip 9: Take intentional breaks

Incorporate short breaks into your workday to recharge your focus and prevent burnout.

Brief activities such as stretching, taking a walk, or engaging in deep breathing exercises can provide a mental refresh.

Use breaks mindfully by avoiding activities that can further distract you, such as checking social media or emails.

Instead, engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as listening to music or practicing mindfulness techniques.


Maintaining focus at work requires intentional effort and a conscious commitment to eliminate distractions.

By creating a distraction-free environment, utilizing time management techniques, and communicating your need for focus, you can enhance your productivity and accomplish more in less time.

Remember to take regular breaks to recharge your focus and avoid burnout.

Applying these strategies will not only benefit your work performance, but will also contribute to a more focused and fulfilling work experience.

Most importantly, be smart about how you communicate your focus needs.

Choose the right words and phrases to maintain your relationships with your colleagues.

Now that you have the tools and strategies, let’s get focused and get some work done!

What are the English phrases that you use to communicate your need to focus?

Let us know in the comments.

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