How to Stay Focused When Working From Home

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If you’re working from home, then you’ve probably noticed you’re having a hard time staying focused on the task at hand. In fact, you find that every little thing can distract you and you feel like your attention span is worse than in children. We’ve all been there.

So, there’s no need to beat yourself up. It’s just something you haven’t had experience with before and you need to come up with a plan. A plan will help you stay on course and finish your work on time. Here are some tips and tricks on how to stay focused when working from home.

Organize your time.

Staying focused Stress Free Home Office1

One of the most important things about working from home is to organize your day. Plan your workday according to the tasks you want to finish or according to the time you want to spend working. This will help you stay focused on the work and be productive. Otherwise, you may find yourself working throughout the whole day – in unfocused sets of 1-2 hours and procrastinating in between those periods.

Another thing I want to mention here is to decide when your days off will be. I try not to work on weekends. This gives me extra motivation needed to finish work on time during the week so that I can take days off on a weekend and have time for my family and myself.

Act as if you were at the office.

Probably the first thing that comes into people’s mind when they hear the words ‘I am a freelancer.’ is an image of a person working from the bed in pajamas. Although working in your pajamas may seem comfortable and cozy, it doesn’t exactly help you stay focused when working from home.  

According to psychologists, what we wear can affect our work, both in a positive and negative way. For example, if you wear your pajamas or casual clothes you associate your clothes with ‘relaxed, no-rush’ state, which means you’re likely to get less work done. Remember that even though you’re at home, you still have work to do. Therefore, dress as if you were going to the office – professionally and comfortably.

Just as wearing pajamas isn’t such a good idea, neither is working on the couch. Create a small area in your home that you will use only when working and decorate it accordingly.

Make frequent breaks.

As you probably already know, making frequent breaks during working hours can help you increase focus and productivity.

Some people keep up better focus when working for short periods of time (25-30 minutes) and then take a 5-minute break. Others find it more efficient to work for 50 minutes and then have a 15-minutes break. Eventually, you’ll find what best works for you but you do need to start somewhere. Whatever you choose; be sure to stay focused during dedicated work time. Either you can set your alarm or use apps designed to help you stay focused, such as Pomodoro.

Rest during your break.

Since you’re likely to have several breaks during your workday, it’s important to make the most out of them. Not all breaks are considered effective and beneficial for your focus.

The aim here is to take a short rest and ‘refresh’ your mind. You can listen to music, play a game, or go to the balcony and take a few deep breaths. This will help you stay focused and alert.

Get off the screen

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Even though this probably isn’t what your backyard looks like, go for what you have

It may also be a good idea to give your eyes a break from the computer screen to prevent eyestrain.  Looking at trees and sky should help here. Along with this, you can also do some neck and shoulder stretches or even add a quick workout to your workday. Whatever works best for you.

Give yourself realistic deadlines.

People work best when they don’t have all the time of this world to finish their project. If your deadline is a bit looser, don’t wait for the last two days to start working on the project.

Instead, set your own deadlines for tasks and projects. These should be tight but realistic at the same time. You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself, as this will actually be counterproductive.

Don’t let distractions distract you.

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A desk full of items is usually quite the distraction

If in the middle of your work you suddenly remember something you need to do later that day, whether it is to reply to an email or buy something for the house, don’t let your thoughts go in that direction. Instead, jot down your plans for later on a sticky note and get back to work. Also, try to keep your workspace organized, to cut back on visual distractions.

Another thing related to distractions is that you should not to check Facebook, emails, and your phone. Checking social media will certainly distract you from your work, which you don’t want. If you really have the urge to check social media, you can allow yourself to check it during the break, let’s say for 5-10 minutes. But, it should not be longer than that. There are browser extensions like StayFocused and WasteNoTime to help with that as well.

Eat regularly.

When you have a lot of work to do, it’s easy to skip your meals. Apparently, this is not good for your focus, productivity and motivation. The more hungry you are, the harder will be to focus on work. Think about food as giving fuel to your body. What you eat matters, so try to avoid junk food and stick to nutritious food that will keep you full for longer and help you stay focused at work.

Set boundaries.

If you live alone, well, this one won’t be a problem for you. However, if you live with a partner, a roommate or even parents you definitely need to explain to them that they cannot interrupt you when you’re working. This means they aren’t allowed to knock on your door every time they have got this great idea and they want to share it with you. No. The idea can wait. Your work can’t.

Nonetheless, there is one thing to have in mind. You’ll probably have to keep explaining this to them until they get used to your ‘new type of work’. Apparently, those who don’t work from home don’t seem to understand all the challenges one is faced with.

Spend time with your loved ones.

One of the biggest traps when working from home is that you can end up working more than you should. For example, you’re done for today but you just want to send a message to a client or check this or that.’ And two hours later you find yourself still on the computer. Don’t do this.

The flexibility is one of the perks of working from home, so make good use of it

You need to have a private life as well, just as those who work in the office do. Find time for your hobbies and for your friends and family. Being able to make room for your loved ones is one the greatest perks of working from home (even though it might require some discipline as well). This will give you the energy and focus needed to excel at work.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be a truly rewarding experience if you know how to stay focused. Without self-discipline, you may not be as productive as you want to be, which can lead to feeling guilty and, naturally, unhappy. The tips I shared with you will help you develop your work routine and get the work done on time. This leaves more room for doing other things you love. Just remember it will take some time until you find your perfect routine, so a little patience can go a long way.

What techniques work for you? Share in the comments if you have great advice, apps, or experiences, let us know.

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