How to stay focused working from home
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
Whilst we’ve all likely had some practice at working from home now, it’s good to reflect on what might be tricky for us and what we might want to tweak. The comforts of home can absolutely contribute to a better working life, but let’s be honest, they can also be downright distracting!
There’s no magic formula for staying focused and productive, however, there are tons of things we can try to improve our focus. Everyone is wonderfully and uniquely different so finding what works for us personally is crucial.
Staying focused can help us feel less overwhelmed or stressed by the uncertainty around us right now, so the Beingwell family have collated some of our favourite tips and experiences.
1. Start the day at the same time
If we wake up at different times each day the body and mind can get confused, and we find it hard to focus. It’s also a pitfall for poor sleep (have a read through some of our Sleepingwell articles). Create a morning routine to start each day at the same time. Get dressed, or pop on “day pyjamas”, grab a cuppa, and then start the working day. Grace, our Life Coach, swears by clearing any visible mess away (hiding it?) so she doesn’t get distracted as she begins her day.
2. Factor in a commute
We might be thoroughly enjoying not having to commute for work. If we used that time before COVID to get into a working mindset or enjoy a bit of time to ourselves, it might be helpful to schedule in a new “commute”. Laura, our admin manager, takes her dog for a walk in the morning, using the time to think about her tasks for the day. It’s not her usual commute but when she returns home and takes off her muddy boots, she’s ready to start her working day.
3. Have a proper breakfast
We all know how beneficial good nutrition is. Like fuelling the car to make it work, our brains need fuel the same way. Why not use the flexibility of working from home to make breakfast there was no time for previously or something simple that’ll really be enjoyed? Bernard, our founder & CEO, takes his time and enjoys his breakfast and a coffee every day to fuel up for his, usually, jam-packed days! Maybe try a spot of mindful eating, paying attention to the tastes, textures and smells of food. A great way to practise being in the moment.
4. Take regular breaks
We’re human! It’s okay to occasionally get distracted. If the washing up catches our eye and we feel compelled to do it right away, get it done and return to our workspace ready to focus again. Sam, our content developer, likes to take advantage of her and her partner both being at home by sharing their lunch break to catch up. With a pet at home, attempting to have a “carpet picnic” didn’t quite go to plan though.
5. Do more than just work
Scheduling exercise and activities can help us to separate work, tasks and fun (who said work can’t be fun?). Knowing there is a specific time to do exercise or activity we enjoy can reduce distractions around it. Rather than thinking about the run or yoga class, we should do today, setting a time aside to do it allows us to put it out of our mind till that time comes. Martina, our cognitive scientist, schedules her exercise at the end of her day. This means she can fully concentrate on her work and then switch-off by doing some upbeat physical activity.
6. Use a playlist or podcast
Having a playlist or listening to a podcast can help concentration levels, especially for those of us who don't like to work in silence or even with busy households to drown out the distractions. Duncan, our business developer, likes to listen to an album he enjoys helping him focus on work, especially for some of his heavier/meatier tasks. Albums are usually similar in length so putting one on helps him focus till the end, then he can take a quick break and stretch, find another one and get back to work.
We know how to focus but sometimes it just doesn’t happen, and we all struggle at times, so let’s give ourselves a break and if it’s not happening – walk away and try again later! A final thought Being able to fully switch off from work allows us to focus on ourselves, things we enjoy or spend time with the family undistracted by work. Having this time away from our job can help us to refocus when the working day restarts.
Keen for more working from home tips? Check out our blog on empathy here.