Too Connected to Concentrate? 5 Ways to Find Focus While Working at Home

Working remotely can become distracting. Whether juggling kids at home, household duties, pets, or even social media, it’s easy to let other tasks distract from work, but it’s possible to find focus. These are five ways to do it.

1. Know your strongest hours of the day:

Some people are early risers, and some prefer to work later or at evening times. Regardless of your preferences, take some time to figure when you’re at your best. If you know you do your best work between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM, schedule your most “important” tasks during that time, and save the less taxing work for later in the day when you’re feeling less productive or focused.

2. Designate a “workspace”:

In most cases, working remotely allows you to work where you like. And while this freedom is typically one of the benefits of working remotely, setting up a home office is still recommended. If your work-from-home arrangements are temporary and a full-on office isn’t realistic, try to create a dedicated workspace that allows you to focus, with minimal distractions—i.e., a T.V. in the same room, while working from home.

3. Plan out your day:

This is key! It’s essential to structure your day so you can be your most productive. Establish your work hours around the times you feel you can accomplish this. That means setting and sticking to boundaries. This is critical to staying focused while working from home. Explain to family members and friends that you don’t have time for unlimited socializing even though you’re home. Instead, chat with them briefly during one of your breaks. And stay on schedule by truly working the hours you’ve dedicated to your job. During the pandemic, you might also have kids at home. Unfortunately, kids aren’t the best at respecting boundaries, even in the best of times. An age-appropriate conversation is a good place to start.

4. Disconnect from social media:

It’s easy to get distracted by the never-ending barrage of breaking news and updates. Checking out what’s happened every time your phone beeps, or leaving a news channel on in the background while you work, can divide your attention, making you less productive. However, during the pandemic, these constant checks can also make you anxious, which, in turn, can make you lose focus on your work. To set parameters for how often you look at social media and news, set a timer on your phone to give you a set time to take a break; block time-wasting sites from your phone or email; work in a space where there is no T.V.; try playing classical music while you work (studies show it increases attention span and productivity, and decreases anxiety.)

5. Stay active:

Physical activity is essential, even if it’s just a quick walk. Lack of movement is bad for your body and your mind as it can cause your brain to become sluggish. Don’t be afraid to schedule a workout or some sort of movement in your day. This not only keeps you physically well but also allows for a mental refresh so you can maintain focus throughout the workday. Take a brisk walk in the morning or walk the dog on lunch break. If the weather doesn’t permit outdoor activity, then stream a workout for a quick 10-minute fitness boost or even do some stretching.

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