I got an email from someone recently who was telling me that they had gone through a terrible breakup and that it was having a very negative effect on their work productivity. I know that this is a very common issue and I feel like people don’t talk about it enough!
When someone breaks your heart, it feels like your entire world gets turned upside down. You don’t want to do anything, you’re constantly feeling sad and lethargic, and what’s worse, you’re realizing “Wow, it hurts so much that I can’t focus on work!” So is there anything you can do about it or do you just have to wait it out?
Fortunately, there is always something you can do about it and I am here to walk you through it!
Why you can’t focus on work after a breakup
On the surface, nothing has changed. You still go to the same job, you work with the same people, and you have the same responsibilities. So why is it that when you go through a breakup you feel like all of this has been thrown upside down? Why does it feel impossible to concentrate on the work before you?
It feels like you keep thinking about your ex and the relationship and the breakup and what they’re thinking about and if they miss you and if you’ll get back together…
It’s like a whirlwind of thoughts in there right now.
I want you to understand that this is perfectly natural. Sometimes you’re going to have to go let yourself cry it out in the bathroom. Sometimes you’re going to have to let yourself not go into work because you know you’re not going to be able to do your job as well as you would under other circumstances. Just remember that this is temporary and you will begin to feel better. So even if you’re thinking, “I can’t focus on anything because I’m so upset,” don’t be too hard on yourself. We are all human and these things happen.
We aren’t made out of stone and when something we care deeply about is on our minds, it is normal that it would be at the very forefront of our thoughts. Besides, the more we try to stifle these thoughts, the more they’re going to surge up later on. The key is to find the balance between facing these emotions and not letting them control our lives. So how do you do that?
I can’t focus on work because of how I’m feeling: Here’s what to do
The first thing I want you to be aware of is the fact that you are the only person who is in charge of your emotions. Not your ex, not your boss, not your friends, and not your family. You are the one who decides how much power you’re going to give this breakup over you.
It’s OK to be hurt and heartbroken, and to feel like it’s hard to concentrate on other things, but you’re the only one who can choose to dwell or to begin making changes!
Starting now, I want you to begin altering the way you’re looking at the situation. I bet you’ve been thinking, “I can’t focus on work,” or, “I can’t concentrate because it hurts to much!!”
There is something to be said for the power of positivity and how it can begin to shift how you feel. I want you to try a simple exercise. The next time you catch yourself getting frustrated thinking, “I can’t focus!!!” Switch up your words:
“I am now going to focus on what I need to do. I am here right now and I am in control of my emotions.”
Now is the time to think about what exactly you are afraid of. You’re holding on to something that’s holding you back, so what is it? Do you feel like you won’t find another partner? Do you feel hurt and betrayed by the person you love? I encourage you to begin writing your feelings out when you have the time. This is a great way to release them and to clarify your thoughts. Once you have a clear idea of what you’re feeling, you’ll have an easier time coming up with solutions.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and not able to focus on work, take a little break. It can even be for just a few minutes. Make yourself a cup of coffee, get a breath of fresh air outside, or write down your thoughts on a piece of paper.
I know it’s hard to keep your emotions from taking over, but begin practicing self control. You might be consumed with the temptation to stalk your ex’s Instagram or Facebook, but you’re going to have to fight the urge. Not giving into these temptations is actually going to help you heal by proving to yourself that you are in control.
If it’s too much, just turn off your phone. Most of us have developed the habit of checking our phones every few minutes, and this definitely is not something that is going to make things easier on you right now!
Can’t concentrate because of the breakup? Try switching up your routine
One of the reasons it becomes to hard to focus on work is that you had developed a routine with your ex, and now everything still reminds you of them. Your schedule and your habits revolved around your ex, so it’s normal that everything makes you think about him or her.
The key is to switch things up. Get rid of any reminders of your ex (both in your home and in your office), and do different things before and after work. For example, try something new like waking up extra early to hit the gym, or hit the gym right after work. Meet up with your friends when you get off, and check out a new restaurant. Thinking about your ex has become a habit, so you can break the cycle of thinking about your ex all the time by changing your routine.
Another thing I like to encourage my coachees to do is start helping other people. You’re probably feeling like you’re locked up in your head that is swimming with thoughts about your breakup and your ex. So, start thinking about what you can do for other people. You can start small by thinking about what would be nice for your colleagues – bring a box of doughnuts one morning, or think about how you can give someone a hand.
Get more involved with the people you work with. Attend work functions or go out for drinks with some of the colleagues that you feel closer to.
Again, this is about switching up your routine, and it also helps you to broaden your horizons. You’ll develop new friendships and make new contacts that could benefit your personal and professional life!
What to do when you can’t focus at work after a breakup
When you’re suffering from a lack of focus at work because you’ve just gone through a breakup, you might feel tempted to talk about it. I actually encourage you to try to talk about other things with your colleagues. The more you talk about something, the more space it’s going to take up in your mind.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that you should never ever talk about your breakup! I am saying that you should discuss it with a select few that you trust, like your best friend or your sister. You don’t need to talk about it to everyone you converse with – especially not at work.
Besides, if you talk about it at work, people will ask you about it and bring it to the forefront of your mind. This will inevitably make it even more likely that you will be unable to concentrate or focus at work.
As always, if you aren’t sure who to turn to and you are interested in finding out how to move past this breakup or get back together with your ex, I encourage you to get in touch with me right here!
Together we can design a custom action plan suited to your situation and your desires.
I sincerely wish you all the best in life and love,
Your coach when you can’t focus on work because of this breakup