Staying focused isn’t always so easy, huh?
And working at home doesn’t seem to help much on this. Still, it’s not as difficult as you may imagine. So I want to show you how to stay focused when working at home. I use these tips for a while now and they help me a lot so I decided to share them with you.
1. Eliminate Distractions
There’s no way you can stay motivated while working at home if you keep getting distracted. So:
Put your Phone on “Do not Disturb”
Your mobile is your #1 distraction. So leave the temptation away and put it on silent mode so you can’t hear it.
You can check out every hour if you missed any important calls. And if you need to be on call, at least turn off the Wi-fi. Probably, no one will call you about something important on Viber.
Turn Wi-Fi Off
If you don’t need an internet connection, turn your router off. It’s so easy to get distracted and waste your time online. It’s only a click away. Turning your wi-fi off puts a little wall between you and your social media accounts, Youtube and any other platform that will make you spend your time NOT doing what you should.
And even if you need internet for part of your job, at least turn it off for the more creative tasks you have to do. For example, when I write, I don’t really need internet, so I turn it off. And to be extra focused, I usually write on Calmly Writer, a tool you can use to write distraction-free. You can use it offline, too, so there’s no need to be online.
Ask People to be Quiet
If there are others at your house, ask them to be quiet. Hopefully, your roommates are people that will respect your wish.
If it’s not possible to tell them that or they just don’t listen to you, use headphones to avoid getting distracted. Or just go somewhere else to work. Trying to work in an environment with distractions is a constant battle. No reason to use your will power this way. You’ll need a lot of it during the day, anyway.
Keep a little Notepad Nearby
And use it to scribble whatever comes to mind for later. We get random thoughts all the time. Some of them are pretty important, so your brain tries to remember them and gets distracted from the task you’re doing at the moment.
Help it stop thinking it by writing your thoughts down. It’s like telling your brain: “Relax, I’ve written it down, I won’t forget about it. Now, stop thinking about irrelevant things; we have work to do!”.
When you take a break or finish working for the day, you can take the list and decide when or if you’ll do something about your random thoughts.
If you have planned to work, don’t give it up because someone wants you to take care of his dog, because they want to go swimming.
It’s difficult to persuade people that you have to work specific hours when you’re working from home, because they seem to believe that you can change your routine based on their needs all the time. And even though it’s okay to change your schedule to help a friend once in a while – one of the benefits of working at home, after all, is a flexible schedule – it’s bad if they ask you to do it all the time.
So set some boundaries early on and tell them that you need to develop your own routine and you want them to respect it. After a while, they’ll get the message.
And if they don’t, call them at 3am for a random favour and show them what you mean about people disrupting your routine. Savage, but it gets the message across.
Environmental factors are very important when you’re trying to stay focused. Here a couple of ways to work better.
Work in a Bright Room
The best you can do is use the daylight, so if you have many windows where you work, it’s great. If not, at least use good lightbulbs. Personally, I prefer white light to yellow when working. I think it keeps me more alert.
A dark environment tends to make us a little sluggish, so a bright environment is way better to get you up and moving.
Sleeping well helps, too. Therefore, try to sleep as much as you need, without using an alarm clock.
Clear your Workspace
It’s so easy to leave stuff on your office when it’s part of your living room. A little more difficult when you have a different room as your office, but still doable. Little by little, you’ll start leaving things there and clutter it with useless stuff you don’t have somewhere else to put. But this is really bad for your focus because you’ll get distracted trying to find things you need all the time.
Plus, when you work, you need a clean workspace so you can focus on the task on hand, not on the clothes that you need to launder later.
3. Don’t Stay Hungry
Get some snacks ready before starting – preferably, healthy ones. This way, when you feel hungry, you can eat a quick snack and you won’t hear your stomach louder than your thoughts.
I do recommend healthy snacks because they not only keep you full, but they also give you a little boost of energy. Water helps, too, so don’t forget about it.
4. Don’t Multitask
Most people can’t multitask without messing up or losing their focus. So multitasking is definitely not recommended.
Every time you jump from one task to another, your brain needs a little extra effort to make you recall all the information you have for this task push aside the info for the previous one. If you keep jumping from task to task, you’ll get tired faster than if you were focusing only on one task until you finish it.
Plus, there’s also the possibility that you’ll mess up some of the tasks. And if the tasks are similar, the possibility is higher.
5. Tomatoes Are Your Friend
Use the Pomodoro technique to work less, but more focused.
Brain.fm is an awesome site you can use to listen to AI-generated music that can help you perform better. You can choose what you aim for and it provides you with music based on what you want to do at the time:
- Focus: Use focus when you work, study, read or do some kind of creative work, e.g. writing, painting
- Relax: For taking a break or meditating
- Sleep: For napping or sleeping
I use Focus when I work and it works very well. The site says that you need to 10-15 minutes to start seeing results, but to be honest, I think it took more for me the first time. Now, though, it takes about a minute to make me focus on the task at hand.
7. Train your Self-Discipline
It’s not easy, but you can train yourself to get focused easier by training your self-discipline.
Most of the tips need you to create a habit out of them. I know it takes time, but it’s so worth it. You’ll be getting so much more focused, that your productivity will increase.
Let me know what tips you use to stay focused. I’d be glad to add them to my list.
If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer! Any suggestions are always welcome, so tell me about topics you’d like me to write.
See you next time!