By Sarah Drees

If you stumbled across this article, I’m going to assume that you are going through a break up and are struggling to learn how to focus after going through a breakup.

You may even be at work reading this.

If you are, reading this at work…. get back to work!

Kidding… kind of…

But if you do, bookmark this article and come back and read it after work… it’s definitely worth it.

The first few days after a break up are typically the hardest. Usually that is when emotions run the highest, especially if you two were dating for a long time. It’s natural that your ex and you would fall into a routine during that time. And it would be normal that you would think about him often even if he was not around. That doesn’t just disappear when the relationship ends. In fact, the worry that comes after a breakup is likely to multiply the amount of time you spend thinking about him.

Now that you are broken up, you are probably flooded with wondering:

  • What your ex is doing
  • If they are thinking about you
  • If they are seeing someone else
  • Why the break up happened
  • If you will get back together
  • If they miss you

Wow, that is a whole lot to think about!

These thoughts that you can’t seem to control are probably making it really hard to stay focused at work and are affecting your work in one or more negative ways.

Sometimes your at home habits may also be affecting your work life such as, a lack of sleep or going out each night to drink or to try and meet someone new.

In this article we are going to go over:

  1. Ways that a break up can affect work
  2. Things you can do to stay focused on work while you are at work
  3. Things you can do at home to better your work productivity

Are you ready?

Lets get started!

Ways a Break Up Can Affect Work

There are several ways that your break up may be affecting your work. I narrowed this down to the “Top 3 Ways Your Break Up Can Affect Work” and then I included what I consider to be the trickiest of tricky work situations.

Don’t worry because after we talk about this, I’m going to tell you exactly what you can start doing TODAY so that your break up is no longer affecting your work so much. That way you can get back to being the productive rock star that we all know you are.

So, without any further delay…

Top 3 Ways Your Break Up Can Affect Work

So, you go into work, following your break up and everything seems normal but at the same time you feel as if your whole world has been turned upside down and nothing, absolutely nothing is the same. You’ll wonder why the rest of the world doesn’t feel the same extreme loss that you are feeling.

You may feel on the verge of tears or tempted to break down and tell all your coworkers what happened. You may feel the need to go to the bathroom and just cry or to call in sick and not go to work at all.

You know that there is no way that you can focus on that presentation you have to give. All of your spreadsheets seem like they are in another language and can’t seem to hold your attention. And you are struggling to even fake a cheerful demeanor with customers.

All of these things are normal feelings to have immediately following a break up.

You’ll also notice as you read through these, that they all are linked together.

The Top 3 Ways Your Break Up Can Affect Work are:

1. Overwhelming Sadness at Work

You are sad constantly because of your break up, that includes at work. It can be hard to find the motivation to get up and do stuff after a breakup already. So, it’s understandable that you may find it hard to behave as you normally would while at work and this may make it hard to be productive.

You may have even had to bring a box of tissues with you to work, go to your car or the bathroom to cry, or even call in sick because of your overwhelming sadness.

2. Can’t Focus at Work

You simply can’t focus at work. Perhaps it is because of feeling constant sadness like we just talked about.

Or… maybe it is something else that is taking away your focus, like you feel the need to check up on your ex’s social media to see what they’ve been up to. Whatever it is, you will most likely recognize that it is preventing you from staying on task.

3. Can’t Stop Thinking About My Ex at Work

Last but not least, you can’t stop thinking about him since you broke up. This may or may not be preventing you from getting your day to day tasks done. However, it is still something that you would like to change as the overwhelming and seemingly uncontrollable thoughts are certainly not ideal.

If these things sound familiar don’t worry, we are going to talk about strategies in a moment to help you start to feel happier, get your focus back, and avoid distracting thoughts of your ex creeping up on you while you are trying to work.

Whatever it is, it is affecting your performance.

But first, let’s talk about one particular situation that is extra tricky and will require a really disciplined approach.

The Trickiest of Tricky Work Situations

So what is the trickiest of tricky of work situations?

Well… it’s if you work with your ex of course!

Yup, that’s right. Can you imagine going through a break up and then having to see your ex constatnly at work?

That is tricky.

In this situation, you will have to take an approach of Limited Contact. Don’t know what Limited Contact is? It is basically No Contact but when you can’t do a full No Contact because you will have no choice as to whether you interact with your ex. Need more info on Limited No Contact? Check out this article here.

If you are in this situation, make sure that you take Limited Contact seriously but otherwise, the below strategies to regain your focus and productivity at work, will apply to you too!

How to Focus and Be Productive at Work Following a Breakup

If you’ve read this far, you are probably ready to hear some strategies to regain your focus, concentration and productivity at work. I understand that it is difficult to figure out how to concentrate or be productive after a breakup.

So, let’s just jump right in.

First of all, I want each and every one of you reading this to take a personal responsibility for how you feel.

Yes. YOU!

I know you are going through a break up and your ex may have said or done some things that hurt you but you and only you have the power now to make yourself feel better.

That is right, not me, not your ex, only you!

So, if you want your break up to stop affecting your work, you are going to have to take these strategies seriously and start to apply them. It will take more than reading this article.

But, I know that if you really take this seriously, you will regain control of your work life in no time!

Tricks and Tips to Snap Out of It

I am going to give you some tips that you can apply to start to feel more focused and productive at work. I can tell you, these are tips that I have applied in the past and a lot of them worked for me personally.

Learn to Be Present

It is easy to get stuck thinking about the past and your pain and it feels as if the world around you just keeps moving. One of the hardest things to do when you are going through the pain that comes after a breakup is BE PRESENT.

The way that you do this is figure out what it is that you are afraid of. Identify how you feel about it. Try to understand why you feel that way. The best way to move past this is to let it out. Crying is an okay way to do this, just don’t live in that place.

My favorite way to do this is to journal your discoveries as you go. It takes what you are feeling and places it in a receptacle that isn’t your mind. It allows your mind to move on to other things… like work.

Take a Break

You can take a break in a couple different ways. This one should be easy to figure out. If you are ever feeling really overwhelmed or distracted, take a break from your work life and allow yourself time to reset your mind so you can come back fully focused. You could take a walk around your office, go sit outside for a few minutes, or go to the break room, as allowed of course.

Don’t Ignore Feelings,  But Don’t Be Controlled By Feelings

This one is important and may be a little tricky to master. You should not try to ignore your feelings and avoid them because they will creep up at unwelcoming times. However, you should also not be controlled by your emotions. For example, if your emotions are telling you that you must know what your ex is doing throughout the day and you are feeling the urge to check his social media every 15 minutes, you will need to train yourself to not do this and control your emotions – don’t let yourself be controlled by them.

Simply put, allow yourself to process your emotions at appropriate times and in appropriate ways.

Turn Off Your Phone

If you find it really hard to not look at your phone waiting for a text or call from him or you feel the urge to check up on him as we just talked about, then simply turn off your phone while at work. Better yet, you can leave your phone in your car or desk drawer and avoid it altogether while you are at work.

Change Up Your Routine

One of the reasons you feel like you “miss” your ex in general is because you established a routine that involve him or revolved around him. Yes, even at work. One simple way to train your mind to keep it off of your ex is to change up your routine. By changing up your routine, you will naturally interrupt that cycle of thinking of your ex.

Remove Any Reminders

This one is pretty simple. Remove any reminder of your ex from your workspace. If you have a photo of your ex, put it away. You don’t have to get rid reminders altogether, but put any reminders in a place where you won’t see it on a daily basis.

Be Positive

Have you ever heard the saying, “the energy you put out is what you’ll get back?” Even though it may be really hard immediately following a break up, try to be positive and treat your coworkers with kindness. This will come back to you and will contribute to your overall happiness at work.

Get Involved With Your Coworkers

Get active and involved with your coworkers! Coworkers are great people to socialize with and to form connections with. Keeping yourself busy and occupied following a breakup is also key. Perhaps arrange a happy hour or another work function that will get your more involved at work in a positive way and will also keep your mind off of your ex.

And, even though it is tempting, do NOT tell everyone you talk to at work about your breakup or how much you miss your ex. It will make that the only subject anyone talks about to you, which will defeat the purpose of reading this article.

Things You Can Do at Home

Now that you have a couple of strategies that you can apply at work, let’s talk about some things that you can do at home while you’re not working that can also positively affect your work productivity and focus.

Let’s be real, your at home life and your work life go hand and hand.

The habits you form at home, you can carry over to your work life.

If you can form some good habits surrounding your break up, you’ll be able to more easily carry those over to your work life.

No Contact

Let’s talk about No Contact for a minute. Doing a proper No Contact is probably one if the best things you can do for yourself after a break up. If done properly, meaning you don’t check in on your ex’s social media or break No Contact by texting, calling, emailing, “running into” in person, etc. then No Contact will allow you to regain control over your emotions and thoughts quite a bit.

The first step to preventing your breakup from affecting your work is to immediately implement a No Contact period and to STICK TO your No Contact period. If you can do this, know that you are putting yourself on a path to success.

Here’s an interview Chris did with Glenn Livingston, author of “Never Binge Again.” They discuss No Contact and how to stick with it.


Another thing that you can do at home, is to work on getting proper sleep. I know, I know, I know. After a break up it is hard, like really hard to fall asleep. You may stay up at night trying to figure out what went wrong, replaying the breakup, or thinking about your ex in general. If this is something that you are struggling with, I want to recommend to you something that I’ve done before.

Set a time that you will go to bed each night. Let’s say 10PM. Do your normal go to bed routine, but when you get into bed, have a pen and a notepad handy. Write down really quickly, maybe in a short list, whatever thoughts are running through your head. Then, once you get it all out, go to sleep.

Here is the real trick through, if you write something down, you have to stop thinking about it. If it pops up again tell yourself “nope, I got that on the list.” Eventually, you will find that there is nothing left to stress about before you go to sleep.

Conquer Obsessive Thoughts

Similar to the “sleep method” I just mentioned, training your mind to avoid obsessive thoughts while at home is key. One of the simplest ways to do this is to simply control your reactions to your own emotions. What do I mean by this? Let me give you an example.

Let’s say your mind and emotions are telling you that you need to check your ex’s Facebook page. You simply need to tell yourself “no” and then not check it.

Your Routine Again

Last but not least, you can apply the same tactic for changing up your work routine to your at home routine. If you change this up, you will naturally change how often you think about your ex.

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A Quick Recap

It is totally normal for a breakup to affect your ability to focus when you are at work. But there are definitely things you can do to regain your focus and productivity. At first, you may be overwhelmed with sadness, find it hard to focus, or find yourself constantly thinking about your ex. But, if you apply some of the methods mentioned in this article, you may find success in preventing your breakup from affecting your work.

One of the first and most important things you can do is to apply a No Contact period. However, if you work together, you may have to use Limited Contact instead.

There are other ways too that you can implement at work and at home. Most of these methods are simple however, you will likely have to train yourself and put in the work to get the most success out of these suggestions.

  • Take Breaks
  • Learn to Master Your Emotions
  • Take a Break From Your Phone
  • Change Up Your Routine
  • Remove Any Reminders
  • Be Positive
  • Be Sociable With Your Coworkers
  • No Contact
  • Get Enough Sleep
  • Conquer Obsessive Thoughts

Now that we have that out there, I want to do something for you. I want to discuss your specific situation in the comments below. Let me know:

  1. A little bit about your breakup
  2. How long you have been chasing your ex
  3. What methods you will be implementing after reading this article

Hopefully, we can give you a little EXTRA insight on what you should do moving forward.

Sound good?