There are always distractions that can take your focus away from work – especially when you’re working from home. If you’re surrounded by family members, it can be easy to get lost in conversation or get distracted doing activities together. Even those who are working from home alone, things like social media, physical location, or even household chores, that can take away from the work you’re trying to complete.
Below we’ve laid out a few of our favourite ways to eliminate distractions and stay focused on work, during COVID and beyond.
Plan your day
Begin your day the night before by creating a daily plan for yourself. By simply creating a to-do list of all of your important tasks, you can easily delegate what’s most important. Ideally, you should have 2-3 major tasks that you want to complete each day. A great way to not make your priorities seem daunting, is to break them out into smaller tasks that you can complete easily and in a short time frame.
Knowing your most productive time of the day is key. Is this after you’ve sat and had your coffee, or is just before you make lunch? Plan to do your most important tasks during these specific time slots.
Another amazing tip we’ve been utilizing is to create a list of simple and less important tasks that you still need to get done but aren’t at the top of your list. This way, when you feel yourself losing focus, you can work on this list instead of aimlessly browsing or turning to other distractions.
Turn Off Notifications and Digital Distractions
Everyone knows that your phone can be one of the most distracting things during the work day. Try turning off certain notifications, like social media or non-essential emails, for a set period of time throughout the day. Digital clutter can also take your mind off of the important things. Make sure to close any tabs or documents that you aren’t currently working on or need open, to avoid switching back and forth between tasks.
Try batch checking everything at the same time by blocking off 15 minutes specifically to check your socials, emails, or even just listen to a new song you got a notification for.
Whether you have a home office, or just a small table in the corner, make sure to create a dedicated workstation so your mind associates the area with work-related thoughts. Make this space comfortable, yet professional, so you automatically know once you sit there, it’s as if you’re in the office.
Other basic distractions that can come from your physical location are things like working in front of your TV, because even if on mute, you can easily get distracted by the images. It’s also noteworthy that working from your bed, or even while you’re eating can often lead to less productivity and more wasted time.
Let others know you need to focus
If you have other people living or working in the same space as you, it’s necessary to let them know when you need to focus. Plan to have a dedicated “focus” time, where interruptions are as limited as possible, and people know not to disturb you. If you can’t set a specific time, a small action such as simply putting in your headphones, is a silent “busy” signal that will usually deter anyone from distracting you.
Focus Practices & Meditation
Your brain is a muscle, so you can train it to focus! Turn your focus to one task at a time. Our brains aren’t actually designed for cognitive switching back and forth between multiple tasks, so even though we may think we can multitask, it ultimately leads to a lower performance rate.
Meditation is a wonderful way to train the brain. The practice of meditation helps to build your focus abilities, and calm and de-stress, while also giving you greater control over your emotions and mindset. This helps you to engage with tasks quicker and give more effort into specific items. Meditation is a great practice to combat work stressors, and helps you to take a step back and refocus.
Most Importantly, Take breaks!
We can’t be working 24/7! Make sure you take breaks throughout the day. Leave your workstation and ensure you’re getting a change of scenery. Whether you take a walk, sit in the backyard, eat a meal, or listen to music, you need to take consistent breaks in order to keep your mind fresh and focused. Once you leave and come back you’ll be able to reset and will be more productive when starting up work again.
Ultimately, try and keep a solid routine throughout your work days. As we’re working from home, it’s almost impossible not to let work bleed into life, but we have to make sure we make time for ourselves and the other things we have going on. Give yourself a break, and stay positive!
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