How Do I Keep My Focus While Working from Home?
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Working in your comfort clothes without going to the office, or answering emails while drinking your chamomile tea were luxuries offered once in a blue moon by your job.
Yet due to COVID’19, this luxury has become a new normal for most of the people around the globe. Working from home sounds great… until you hear a barking dog, or someone hammering their wall, your neighbor’s (or your) children wailing, or general noise around the neighborhood.
For many of us working from home is quite a new experience that requires finding new ways to stay focused in a different atmosphere which might lead to reduced productivity. And many ask: How Do I Keep My Focus While Working from Home?
But there are techniques that allow you to become more focused and prevent your work from turning into in a Augean chore.
Take a look below for some expert-backed strategies to improve your focus in your workspace, and working routines to make working from home most productive.
Stick to your normal routine
"Establish a pre-work routine and an after-work routine. Working in the same place where you wake up, eat, and sleep can make anyone go crazy without proper boundaries in place."
--Marissa Owens, Opportunity Business Loans
Working from office requires the same functional routine you would use for office work: waking up early in the morning, getting dressed and prepared, driving to your office, and entering your office with a clear mind to get geared up to function.
While at home, the shifting from your bed to your workstation can be far too jarring, and lacking stimulus and inspiration, which can cause you to lose focus.
When working from home, strive to maintain and stick with your old routine that gets things done — starting with your work schedule.
An efficient way to maintain your focus while working from home is to leap into your to-do list as quickly as you awaken. After your morning routine, dive quickly into your work without being distracted by other chores such as cleaning up or cooking.
Remember, distractions are much easier to find in a home office than in traditional office, mainly because they are in every step on the way, so, go straight to work as soon as you are ready.
Otherwise, you will prolong breakfast and allow the morning laziness to take away your enthusiasm to work.
“Try to get up at the same time, and do all the things you would typically do to get ready for work,”
William Castellano, a professor in the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, tells the New York Times.
Put up a functional workspace:
Ta-ta boring uninspiring cubicles, now you can create your own space where you can feel inspired, focused and motivated to do the work you need to do.
Not everybody gets a designated home office, but it's important to have a quiet place for your work. It would be great if you dedicate a specific room or surface and use it only for work.
Finding the quietest corner of your house is the key. Though some individuals require some background sound to work, while for others any kind of noise at all is distressing.
Part of creating a productive atmosphere is how you show yourself for work.
Even when you’re working from home, do all the things you'd do to get ready for an office role if you never have video chats, get up and wear nice clothes before you start working.
"Wake up and get ready just like you're going to work. If you stay in your slippers all day you will not be as productive."
--Elijah Schneider, CEO & founder of Modify 3
If you do have a specific room for a home office, whether children are permitted in your room in office hours is one of the most critical choices you will need to make.
If you do let children in your home office, so you’ll surely need some rules.
Set some ground rules
It’s vital to set clear boundaries with anyone you’re sharing the space, acknowledging the fact, that we’re all working outside of our comfort zones.
Friends and family must know when you’re functioning and respect your time and space. When these rules are formed, your home can convert a perfect workplace where you can focus even if your juggling domestic chaos.
Few well-established ground rules can make surviving home office easier, especially when you have kids.
Tell your kids about the rules the time you set up for your home office, and ensure that they go along. Implementation of the rulebook only occurs by continuous reinforcement and reminding, which needs time and effort to get your kids to understand.
A way to reduce disruptions from kids is to plan out their time as much as you can. Arrange snacks and clothes in advance. Arrange activities for the kids to do while you are busy working.
For home-based workers, disturbances by others are not the only form of distraction they face. Interruptions come in the form of emails, social media, household tasks, TV, and a lot more.
To prevent disturbances while working, you need to be self-disciplined.
Keep a record of your hours and activities might be useful in revealing when and where you get distracted. Once you know what sidetracks you, set rules, and goals for yourself.
If you have a noisy neighborhood, consider buying noise-canceling headphones.
And if you have kids at home, let your family know about your work so that they do not disturb or distract you during that time.
While many people believe they can efficiently multitask, like watching TV during work, research from the University of Southern California displays that doing multiple tasks at one time decreases productivity as it requires your brain additional time to shift mental gears among tasks.
Take clear breaks
Never forget to take breaks during the day, an advantage to working from home.
Research shows that letting your brain rest for a while can boost creativity, productivity, and ability to focus. While making your schedule remember to take a small break so you don’t get burned out and get easily distracted.
Too many breaks can get you off track, whereas too few can be counterproductive leading you exhausted half-way through your day, so it’s tricky to figure out when and for how long your breaks should be to keep you focused.
Taking breaks remember us that work time is limited and will end. When you are over with the day’s work, it is important to move away and put our tasks behind even if we physically stay in the same room.
Regular short breaks, even of 10 minutes, in combination with longer lunch breaks, will help keep the same rhythm that you had in the office.
Prepare your meals the night before
Once life becomes busy, making a meal night before in the refrigerator helps a lot.
Making food ahead of time make sure you can utilize your meal times to eat, and that you are devoting your energy and entire focus to your work.
It's a strategy for a successful day. Do all of those things which you think you can do in the morning. Which means making lunches, washing dishes, folding laundry.
Apart from complex meals, stock up your refrigerator with snacks such as fresh fruit, chopped vegetables, boiled eggs, and proteins such as chicken, salmon, or whatsoever you like.
You can swiftly heat and eat these snacks without much worry. You can get innovative with eating behaviors for “brain food” and productivity.
Physical activity is vital for a healthy body and focused mind, even if it just a quick walk.
Decreased motility is not only bad for your physique but also your mind as it can make your thinking process slower and reduces your focus.
Become innovative with your workout practice. Take a jog at sunrise or walk to the park during your lunch break.
If you feel like you cannot focus on your work, do a quick 10-minute workout, like stretching. Your mind will be clearer, and you will be more productive for the rest of the day.
Even though most of the work-at-home disruptions can be evaded by setting some basic principles for yourself.
Although these principles may differ from person to person, the main purpose is to increase productivity and maintain focus, which really important given the current conditions.
So, by making the small changes we have discussed, you can improve efficiency and focus in your work.