Whether you are still working from home because of COVID-19 or if it has always been part of your working life, the home office has become a norm for today’s work culture. It can be a highly productive practice – no more unnecessary commute time that can take up to almost two hours with rush-hour traffic or interruptions from colleagues or back-to-back meetings.
But like the office space, you can easily lose focus at home. In fact, it is easier to become distracted and get very little done at home, especially if you don’t have a proper office space, a schedule or if you’re the type who needs supervision or an office environment to get into the zone.
For whatever reason you’re finding it difficult to stay focused, we have the tips on how you can get back on track and get things done.
#1 Leave the household stuff
If you’ve been working for home for a while, it’s normal if both your work and personal spaces become one. Your “office” may even be your dining table! Some people find it difficult to remain in just one zone. One minute you’re doing work; the next you’re thinking about that slice of cake in the fridge you’ve been saving for lunch. It’s easy to blur the two. You may run off mid-work to do some dirty dishes or vacuum the floor because household chores are at the back of your mind and you can’t seem to shake them off until you get things done.
Doing this can interrupt for flow and focus. What was supposed to take only 30 minutes to complete has become an hour because halfway through, you decided the plants need a little watering. Wanting to do everything else other than work can also be a sign that you’re losing focus on the task at hand. Maybe it’s because you’ve been working really hard and are feeling a little jaded and burnt out – which is very common for people who work remotely if all they do is work round the clock.
The trick? Set an alarm. 30 minutes to sit down and finish replying emails. Once that’s done, you can go and do a quite five-minute dirty-dishes errand. 15 minutes to look through a job brief – set the alarm. Or set aside 30 minutes in the morning to do the chores that really needs to be done and forget about everything else until the evening when you log off work.
#2 Find your focus routine
We are all creatures of habit and a routine can help put you in the zone for something. Like how you may have a bedtime routine, you can come up with a focus routine that will help train your brain to switch on the focus button. Start this focus routine before you begin work on something that needs your complete attention. It could be turning your phone on silent, making a cup of tea, taking out your notebook and pencil in case you want write something down – anything that gives your mind 10 minutes or so to prepare for the task ahead. Consistently doing this routine becomes a habit and you’ll find your focus back, making WFH productive once more.
#3 Do one important task each day
Been extremely productive in the beginning of your WFH stint? So much so that you’ve nearly completely all your to-dos on your list and work’s a bit slow these days? That’s why you’re losing your focus – you peaked too soon and are now losing momentum. Plus, working at home can feel a little bit isolated and not feel like you’re working at all. Make your home office more office-like by scheduling in a call or a meeting. Set out to complete one important task each day. This will help you feel connected to your work and jumpstart that focus once more. It’s all about giving yourself reasons why you need to stay focused.
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash.