4 Productive Tools to Improve Focus in Distracting Offices

Unless you have a private, closed-off space to work from, the chances are that you get distracted from time to time. Regardless of whether you are working from home or from a shared office, distractions have a big impact on your ability to focus and get things done.

Instead of trying to push through, and becoming frustrated with those around you, why not try some simple solutions to the problem? Here, we explore some cost-effective tools that will enable you to maintain concentration despite any interruptions.

1. Brain.fm

Screenshot of Brain.fm User Homepage

First on the list is Brain.fm, which is a music application with a difference. It delivers scientifically-backed functional music designed specifically to block distractions and improve focus.

If you’re currently using music as a concentration tool, you will already know how music can boost your productivity. However, Brain.fm takes it to the next level. It uses patented technology to elicit neural phase-locking, which coordinates the neurons in your brain to reach a desired state of mind for working on complex tasks.

Related: Common Workplace Distractions and How to Avoid Them

It has a very user-friendly interface, so you can get started right away. When you go to the Brain.fm home page, you can sign up for a month-long free trial, followed by a paid subscription. This will give you access to all features, including unlimited music sessions, all categories, and offline use.


Once signed in, just follow these steps to start listening:

  1. Navigate to your user Home page.
  2. Under the heading I want to, choose from the Focus, Relax, and Sleep options to start a generic session.
  3. At the bottom of your session page, tailor your experience by adjusting the Time and Volume.
  4. Select Skip to move to the next track.

You can also click More music at the top of your screen to explore all the tracks that Brain.fm has to offer. Additionally, you can click Learn to discover more about the science behind it.

Download: Brain.fm for Android | iOS (Free trial available, $6.99 per month or $49.99 per year)

2. Beeline Reader

Screenshot of Beeline Reader Chrome Extension

When reading, distractions can easily make you lose your place, or slow the process down altogether. Beeline Reader uses a color gradient that speeds up your reading speed by about 35%, and also helps you to keep track of where you are on the page.

It works by seamlessly pulling your eyes through blocks of text, making the process of reading chunks of text much easier. It’s also kinder to your eyes, which can help prevent eye strain. It is available as an extension or add-on for most internet browsers, and you can also download the iOS app. Once downloaded, simply open the extension or app to get started.

Related: Ways to Increase Your Motivation at Work

If it doesn’t automatically apply the gradient, you can click Settings and click Enable auto-color. You can also Disable this if you want to turn the Beeline Reader off. You will then be able to click on any web page, and Beeline Reader will work automatically.

The default colors are bright red and blue, but you can change this by clicking the Color tab and choosing your preference from the Themes provided. You can also click the Size tab to adjust text size, line height, and letter spacing.

Download: Beeline Reader for Chrome | Firefox | Microsoft Edge | Safari ($2.00 per month for 1 browser; $4.50 per month for 5 browsers).

Download: iOS App ($4.99 per month)

3. Magical Text Expander Chrome Extension

Screenshot of Magical Text Expander

Loud or distracting environments actually decrease your productivity and efficiency, because it takes more mental effort to think about what you’re going to do. In these instances, automating repetitive tasks can be a life-saver.

Magical Text Expander is a Chrome Extension that allows you to create shortcuts instead of writing out text that you commonly use. For example, if you send lots of e-mails that have similar content, or repeat a phrase regularly, you can turn this into a shortcut to save you time.

Once downloaded, go to the Jigsaw icon on your Chrome browser and select Magical – Text Expander. Then, simply follow these steps to get started:

  1. On the Magical Text Expander page, click Create shortcut.
  2. Where it says Trigger, type your shortcut, e.g. “;customer” (be sure to distinguish it by including a symbol at the start of it, such as a semicolon.)
  3. Where it says Shortcut content, type the full text that will appear when you type the trigger.
  4. Click Save.

Now that it’s set up, simply type the trigger into any web-based software or e-mail, and the full text will appear automatically. Magical Text Expander allows you to create up to 10 shortcuts for free, so you have plenty of flexibility with it.

Download: Magical – Text Expander Chrome Extension (Free)

Related: White and Ambient Noise Tracks on YouTube to Help You Focus

4. Mailbutler

Screenshot of Mailbutler Web Page

If there are a lot of distractions, and you’re really struggling to concentrate on e-mails coming into your inbox, Mailbutler is an e-mail extension that lets you snooze e-mails for a later time when it’s quieter. This is especially helpful if you’ve found yourself forgetting to respond to e-mails following a distraction.

Once downloaded, all you need to do is click on the e-mail you want to snooze, locate and click the Snooze icon, and select the time that’s convenient for you. At the specified time, you will receive an e-mail reminder, so you won’t forget to read it or reply to it.

Download: Mailbutler Chrome Extension (Free)

Managing Distractions

You may not be able to control the disruptions happening in and around your office, but you can manage how you respond to them. The tools explored in this article will go a long way to helping you counteract the negative impacts that distractions have on your productivity.

It is always worth trying new things and seeing what sticks, but these four applications should cover your bases. If any of these don’t suit you, have a look around for other ways to stay focused, and if it works, use it.

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