Even if you don't have ADHD (like I do), learning how to keep yourself focused at your desk — at work or at home — can be a frustrating process, full of trial and error. What can be especially frustrating is that there's no one-size-fits-all solution for when you find it hard to keep your mind on your task, so whatever method or product your BFF swears by might be a terrible fit for you. There is, however, a wide range of methods and products that are useful for staying focused, and plenty of those products that can help you focus are also perfect desktop tchotchkes, so you can stay on task as much as possible.
Because no single solution or type of solution will work for everyone, it's worth trying different methods for staying focused, including software-based ones like apps made specifically for focusing, and physical products like chairs and fidget toys. Like I said, it's going to take some trial and error to figure out exactly what works for you, but if you're patient and give yourself the time you need to figure out what's right, you could end up with multiple seriously effective solutions for your focusing struggles.
Whether your particular trouble is getting distracted, not paying attention to the time, or just not being comfortable enough in your workspace to concentrate, these focus products are definitely worth a shot.
1. Pen & Notepad
Studio Oh! SJ003 Hardcover Spiral Notebook
I know, I know — this one doesn't sound revolutionary. But believe it or not, it actually is, and maybe not for the reason you think, because I don't use mine for work-related notes. Instead, if I find myself getting distracted, I'll pull the notebook over and jot down...pretty much anything that comes to mind. Giving yourself 30 seconds to doodle or write down lyrics stuck in your head can help you turn back to what you're doing refreshed.
ban.do design 17 Month Agenda
Like a pen and notebook, having a paper calendar around may not feel revolutionary, but even as a loyal Google Calendar devotee, I find that using a paper calendar and physically writing my schedule down, including times for a mental break or even mini pep talks, can help me stay focused. On top of that, being able to see my full day laid out on paper helps me prep myself not only for the task I'm doing and the one I'm doing next, but for a whole day. And if you're the type of person who needs to keep up momentum to stay focused, this is a go-to. (Plus, not gonna lie, this calendar is a very cute desk accessory.)
3. A Timer
GIFTME Cactus Kitchen Timer
There are plenty of snazzy products on this list, but a timer is *essential* to keeping me focused. I usually use the one on my phone, because setting a time and seeing the numbers ticking down keeps me seriously on track. But if you're looking to add to your desk decor, these cute cactus timers are an A+ option.
4. Fidget Cube
Optimus Prime Fidget Cube
Yes, that is an Optimus Prime fidget cube, and no, I have no shame. I know the push for fidget toys has maybe been a little exhausting lately, since fidget spinners have become less a truly necessary aid for people like me with ADHD, and more for kids who think it's cool. But don't underestimate that getting your fingers moving can also get your brain moving. And if you're someone with a lot of extra energy, fidget cubes are perfect for centering yourself.
5. Ergonomic Keyboard
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo
When you think of things to help you focus, a practical, ergonomic keyboard might not be first on your list, but it actually is incredibly helpful. Keyboards are not designed for the comfort of our wrists, backs, or necks, so if you're hunched over a screen all day tapping away, your body is bound to get unhappy with you — and that can make it harder to focus. Keeping your body comfortable (and that includes fueling and hydrating regularly!) is essential to staying focused.
6. Lumo Lift
The Lumo Lift is, to put it bluntly, *wild*. It works with your phone to help you keep an optimum posture, which, again, will help keep your body as happy as possible, and can keep you from getting sleepy in your desk chair. All you do is sync the Lumo Lift sensor to an app on your phone, and it'll vibrate when you're slouching. Voilà!
This handy little button is based on the pomodoro technique, which I use religiously. With it, you focus intensely for 25 minutes, then get a five-minute recharging break. Then rinse and repeat. The Saent Button links with a Saent app that helps block distractions on your computer, automatically calculates how long your recharging break should be based on how long you focused. Plus, Saent's creators say that if you use it in a crowded office, it can act as a Do Not Disturb sign to your coworkers.
8. An Awesome Chair
Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair
This chair is easily the most expensive product on your list, but if you spend a lot of time at your desk, it is *highly* worth investing in a truly great chair that will help your body. This chair is great for fidgeters like me, because you can't swing or kick your legs, giving you almost a compression effect that can help you keep still and stay centered and on task.
A word to the wise: This product is for hardcore focusers only, and for people who need serious consequences for not focusing. I'll let Flowstate's official iTunes page tell you why the developers call this app "dangerous": "Choose how long you want to write (5, 15, 30 min), then enter a flow session. If you exit early, or stop typing for longer than five seconds, all progress is lost. The only way to save your work is by writing until the timer ends." Yep. Flowstate has no mercy. Stop working, and you'll lose everything you've done. Harsh, but an unparalleled digital aid for keeping your typing fingers moving.
Finding the right product to keep you focused can be an arduous search, but with a blend of cute and useful, digital and physical, these products should help you get started on your journey to more productive desk time.