How to Stay Focused While Writing a Paper – 2024 Guide

Though we live in a noisy world with constant distractions, the art and discipline of staying focused can still be achieved. According to, focus is the key to productivity when writing an academic paper.

Focus is essential for anyone who wants to achieve something worthwhile. As a writer, it is non-negotiable. If you are constantly distracted by other things going on in your environment or your mind, you would not be able to get your best work done.

Writing does not always flow steadily like a rolling stream. Instead, it alternates between frequent droughts and occasional floods. Whether you are writing a research paper, article, novel, or blog post, you might find it hard to stay focused.
If you want to write great papers and contents, you need to master the art and discipline of staying focused. Without further ado, here are some tips to help you stay focused while writing a paper.

1. Declutter your space


You will get distracted if your desk or workspace is stacked with clutter. Clear your desk or workspace before you begin your work. Better still, you can use the library. The library will be void of any item or material that might want to distract you.
However, if you don’t have access to a library or you don’t like using the library, you can still make your workspace void of distractions by clearing away anything that you won’t be needing for your work.

2. Get in the flow

Psychologists describe flow as a powerful form of concentration. It happens when you are fully engaged, and your attention is wholly directed to what you are doing. When you get in the flow of writing, it becomes easier and natural for you to write.
Your writing thought would flow effortlessly. However, getting in the flow requires your full concentration, and that all forms of distraction should be eliminated.

3. Download a self-control app


Have you ever sat down and opened your laptop to begin writing a paper, only to find yourself after surfing through unrelated content on the internet? This habit is common, especially in this age of advanced technology. There is always a pop-up or the other showing up as you surf the internet.

However, with the help of technology, you can forcefully control yourself from visiting unrelated sites. There are several free apps available on the internet which block you from visiting the websites you don’t need to go on. For example, if you are addicted to YouTube, you can block yourself from visiting YouTube for as long as you want.

4. Use a concentration timer

You can also use a concentration timer to help you stay focused. You can set the timer to ring every five or ten minutes. It will periodically remind you to get back to your writing if your mind has wandered.

5. Play some classical music or white noise


Contrary to some opinions, playing music while working can help you stay focused. Though, you need to be careful of the choice of music you listen to while working. Playing your favorite music or music with a loud beat will only amplify your distraction. You need to find the balance.

Classical music is usually advised for this purpose. You can also find music dedicated for this purpose online. Also, if you are finding it hard to concentrate, you can block out your thoughts by listening to some white noise.

6. Switch off distractions

Turn off your TV, radio, close your email program, close unnecessary tabs, shut the door, and use a word processor void of distraction. As much as possible, block out every source of distraction.

7. Stay away from your phone


It can be hard to stay focused and get in the flow of writing when a notification or text interrupts you every three minutes. As much as possible, stay away from your phone or any other gadget that can easily distract you. If you can afford to turn it off, turn it off or hide it away from your reach while you are working.

8. Take a break

It’s okay to take a break. You don’t have to finish the paper at a sitting. Take a short ten-minute break when you finish the first couple of pages. You can also use this time to briefly check your phone to make sure there are no pressing emergencies.
You could also go on a short walk around the building. It will get the blood flowing to your brain again and make you feel refreshed when you go back to your work.

9. Stop Multitasking


Research confirms that monotasking, and not multitasking is the secret to getting things done effectively. People who think they can multitask and do many things simultaneously are not getting more done. In fact, they tend to achieve lesser and get more stressed out than those who concentrate on a single task.

According to neuroscientists, our brains are not built to do many things simultaneously. So, when we try to multitask, we are actually damaging our brains, and this approach negatively affects our productivity, well-being, and mental performance.

10. Meditation

Meditation helps to develop concentration and calmness. You can set out some minutes to meditate before you start your work. It will also help clear your mind from thoughts that might distract you when working.


There are a lot of distractions in and around us. We have our thoughts and internal doubts to manage. We are also surrounded by people, events, and activities that add to the chaos and distractions, thereby making it hard to concentrate on writing our paper. However, with discipline and determination, you can master the art of staying focused and improving your productivity.