The average person’s mind wanters anywhere between 15-20% of the time. When working from home, this becomes even more of a challenge because you’re unsupervised, surrounded by distractions, and have the entire web at your disposal 24/7.
No one can blame you for losing focus, but it can make your life exceedingly difficult. That’s why it’s important to learn some focusing skills that will help you pay attention and get your work done efficiently. Read on to learn some ways that you can make yourself focus and make the most of each day.
Keep a Consistent Schedule
Keeping a consistent schedule helps to alert your mind and body when it’s time to work vs when it’s time to relax. It also helps you to stay focused during work time since you have a set end-time to look forward to. You won’t be tempted to stray from the task at hand to watch your favorite shows or read books since you’ll have a set time for that later.
One of the most important aspects of scheduling is to have a regular sleep schedule and nightly routine. Going to bed at specific times helps to keep your circadian rhythm in order so that you get a good night’s rest. You’ll then wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to focus on the day’s work without your mind straying out of exhaustion.
A nightly routine in which you brush your teeth, do some stretches, and read a chapter of a book can work wonders in signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep. On the flip side, your mind and body will know that it’s time to work and focus after you brew some tea, take a shower, and get dressed. What you do before a task is critical to how well you will perform at that task.
Be in the Right Work Mindset
A morning routine can help you to get in the right mindset for work, but there are other aspects to getting in the right frame of mind for productivity. Draw the curtains in your home office and let the sunlight in. This is a great way to give yourself some Vitamin D and boost your mood throughout the day. If it’s warm out, you may want to prop the window open for fresh air, too!
Black tea is also an incredibly popular way to get some more oxidants and wake yourself up. It isn’t so caffeinated as to keep you up at night and throw off your schedule, but it has a little kick to it that will let you start your day off right. Try different tea flavors like English Breakfast, Earl Grey, floral blends, fruit teas, and raspberry/rose combos. You’re sure to find something you like.
If you still have trouble struggling, you may like this article on the use of cannabis to boost focus. While you obviously shouldn’t get baked before starting your work, you can take one hit of Delta-8 THC or consume a small amount of edibles. Because Delta-8 is a low potency strain, you won’t have the same extreme psychoactive effects as you would if you consumed cannabis to get high and have fun.
Keep a Clean Workspace
Fresh air, tea, and THC are all great ways to boost focus, but they won’t be effective if your workspace is messy. A cluttered workspace means a cluttered mind, and disorganized files get lost quickly and impede your ability to perform your job.
Studies conducted by Princeton University found that those with clutter surrounding them are less able to maintain concentration on any given task. Specifically, your visual cortex will become overwhelmed with images that aren’t related to what your doing, which will muddle your thoughts and cause confusion.
Messes also make you more prone to stress, irritation, and even depression when you don’t clean them for a long time. Because of this, it’s important to nip the problem in the bud as soon as you notice clutter so that you can keep a clean space.
Set aside time every workday to clean up your space. This will likely be 5-10 minutes either at the start of your workday (while your tea’s brewing) or at the end of it (before you put your PJs on). We recommend doing the tidying up at the end of the day after your tasks are completed so that you can start the next day fresh and ready for work.
Use Web Blockers
One of the greatest distractions for those who work from home is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and more are really easy to let distract you from the things that you need to do during the day. After all, they’re right at the tips of your fingers- all you need to do is type a few letters into the search bar and click enter.
But what if we told you that there’s a surefire way to resist this temptation?
There are a huge number of web blockers that you can get offline. You can install these blockers onto your computer in the form of browser extensions and set a specific timeframe that your computer won’t allow you to access specific websites during. For example, if you’re overly distracted by YouTube, you can put the YouTube URL into the blocker and tell your browser to block you from the site for 5 hours.
Once those 5 hours are up, you’ll be able to watch videos again. During that time, though, you’ll get a lot of work done!
Since working at consistent times is a good idea anyway, you can also pre-set some blockers to block the websites at specific times of the day. This will save you the hassle of needing to plug in tons of URLs each day. More importantly, it will motivate you to get your work done at certain times so that you can be free when you’re able to access the sites you love.
Put Your Phone Away
If you’re really dedicated to accessing social media during work hours, you’re probably thinking: what about my Smartphone?
While a valid concern, you can easily eliminate this distraction. Turn it off and place it in the corner of your room. You can use checking the phone as a reward for when you complete certain tasks that need to be done. 5 minutes of phone time for every task completed is a great way to check yourself and stay on track!
If this isn’t going to work for you and you need your device out of sight to be out of mind, stick your phone in another room. You can put it on silent and leave it in another area that will be more difficult for you to access. This will give you the chance to think before you access your device since you would need to go through multiple steps to get up, walk to it, and turn it on.
Some people, however, don’t have the luxury of not being accessible. If you have children, elderly loved ones, or an emergency going on that requires you to be within reach, there are still options for you. Both iOS and Android devices have a Do Not Disturb option that will turn off notifications besides those that you pre-set.
You can star specific contacts and allow them to call you while others cannot. You can also set your phone to only alert you to calls from starred contacts while blocking text notifications. In addition, you may want to click the little button that notifies you if a number calls you multiple times within 5 minutes even if they aren’t a starred contact.
Another aspect of being productive and learning how to work from home well is to set and stick to goals. At the beginning of each workday, sit down, take a deep, cleansing breath, and ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I need to accomplish today?
- Why are these goals important? (The answer can be as simple as ‘my boss told me to do them’, but answering this will help you to keep on track)
- How can I break these tasks up into less-intimidating chunks?
- Where should I accomplish my goals? Should I vary the location that I work at to provide variety?
- What tools will I need to accomplish my objectives?
Make a to-do checklist on an index card or in a favorite notebook. Online checklists are fine, too, but nothing feels as good as crossing off something on a list of daunting tasks.
Take Frequent Breaks
Whether you work at home or in an office, it’s important that you take breaks frequently. This will give your mind a chance to relax and refresh itself before moving on to the next task.
Sitting down all day in front of a computer can do a number on your lower back even if you have the comfiest and most ergonomic of chairs. You should be standing up and moving around for at least 10 minutes out of every hour. This ensures that you can stretch your joints and move your body to prevent muscle cramping and long-term back issues.
If you don’t have a lot of space to walk around, that’s fine, too. Do some stretches and jumping jacks in the other corner of your office. Blast a couple of your favorite Taylor Swift songs and dance like no one’s watching (because no one will be watching). Any way that you can move your body makes for an awesome break.
You also need to give your eyes a rest from looking at a screen. You can do this while you wander around- don’t just pace the room while staring at your Smartphone. Use mobile devices as rewards for meeting goals, not as breaks from working whenever you want to take them.
Going outside and taking a walk around your block is a great way to take a longer break on warm days. While you obviously can’t take an hour-long walk for every hour’s worth of work you do, you should try to walk outside once a day for at least half an hour. This will give you fresh air and oxygen so that your mind is able to focus and it will cleanse your thoughts as well.
Reward Yourself and Hold Yourself Accountable
Finally, it’s important to reward yourself for all the work that you do (and hold yourself accountable when you don’t do it). While you no longer are a child who’s going to be given a sticker for finishing your schoolwork, you can use this same principle to keep yourself on task and motivated.
Let yourself play on your phone for 10 minutes when you accomplish a task, watch an episode of your favorite anime, or treat yourself to some McDonald’s (after a longer and more grueling job). This will give you something to look forward to and make reaching your objectives feel like a more meaningful experience.
Holding yourself accountable when you don’t reach your goals is more difficult, but it’s necessary. This doesn’t mean that you punish yourself, but don’t allow yourself to have the reward that you said you could have (if possible). Instead, consider what went wrong and what you can do differently next time to meet your goals.
Boost Your Focusing Skills Today
While focusing on tasks while comfortable at home can be a challenge, it’s completely possible. All you need is a bit of self-accountability, patience, and perseverance. Now that you know how to hone your focusing skills and become a better employee when working from home, it’s time to learn more.
Check out the ‘lifestyle’ tab on our home page for more tips on how to get in a professional mindset that allows you to focus on important tasks. You might also want to take a look at the ‘business’ tab to learn about maintaining professional relationships with both colleagues and clients. The bottom line is that you’ll find tons of articles on our site that will help you maintain your focus, so start browsing ASAP!