Regardless of where you work, there can be distractions. And there’s a high chance you are having some difficulty staying focused and productive during these uncertain times whilst working from home. Don’t fret, you’re not alone.
According to sports and performance psychologist Michael Inglis “Our minds are made to wonder”. The trick is training your mind to focus on what’s important and to allow us to direct our attention onto what it’s been trained to do – kick goals and smash deadlines.
On average, remote employees worked an extra 26 hours each month during Covid. Nearly an extra day every week. (Source: Owl Labs) Well perhaps if we were to stay more focused during our work week we would have the ability to complete our tasks in our normal schedule.
We are less productive when we are distracted. Whether it’s our phone notifications or our constant pinging email box. Something will sway our focus.
There are several things we can do to regain our focus after we have lost it.
We can train ourselves, but it’s just a matter of repetition.
Staying Focused Tip #1: Set boundaries:
Setting and sticking to boundaries is critical to staying focused while working from home. Incorporating boundaries for family and friends helped me dedicate my working hours truely to my job. Consolidating this routine then allowed me to briefly socialize on my lunch break or after work hours.
This may also be the case if you are in a household with roommates and even kids. Setting boundaries and creating a system will not only help you succeed in your job but also give you the right structure so that you’re not shutting your social life and family life out completely. And lets not forget the distractions of one’s smartphone.
Staying Focused Tip #2: Set a timer on your phone
It’s tempting to avoid the phone beeps especially when you are an individual that likes to keep informed on the constant influx of breaking news and notifications
(That was the old me) I started to notice it was dividing my attention and also dampening my mood. This was particularly difficult for me as my family and friends live in another country. The constant worry about their state of affairs, any government regulations and just their general well being.
This is only normal.
To avoid pitfalls and maintain my well-being, I found the following helped really well. Turn off push notifications and put your phone out of site. Obviously this can be difficult for those who may use their smartphones to fulfill their work tasks. So instead, lock the unnecessary apps that are not required to conduct your duties. This grants you access to all imperative applications while also allowing you to receive calls in the case of emergencies. You don’t have to to go MIA.
Staying Focused Tip #3: Structure your day
No one is expected to churn at full speed without breaking for a full 8 hours, or however long your workday may be. This is especially imperative when it comes to working from home. Your day is no longer broken up with grabbing a coffee, leaving for lunch, walking to and from meeting rooms and even the water cooler talks (We all miss them). Take scheduled breaks often. For me, I plan these breaks at the beginning of my day based on my meeting calendar and workload.
Now I know things can pop up, tasks or deadlines are moved forward, last minute asks are landed on our laps. Try to stick the schedule you set out for yourself as much as you can. Whether it’s opening that anticipated amazon package, getting out for some fresh air, participating in some online exercise/yoga classes, or reading a book. Whatever the case may be, stepping away from your work space and having “me” time is essential.
Staying Focused Tip #4: Stay Active
This not only keeps us physically well but is also good for the mind. Lack of can cause us to become sluggish and the tendency to lose focus throughout our workday.
According to the Canadian Psychological Association, mental-health benefits of physical activity include prevention of depression and anxiety, reducing day-to-day stress and boosting happiness as well as self-esteem.
Utilize the time you previously spent getting ready and commuting to work on a brisk morning walk, an online fitness stream or even doing some stretches.
Create a routine that works for you and enforce it into your business day.
Your health is your wealth!
Staying Focused Tip #5: Make a list
I know it seems old school, but when I can visualize something it helps me keep on track and stay focused. At the end of the day if I have completed all my tasks it provides me with closure and allows me to set my new goals for the following day.
Visa versa, if I was not able to complete all task I had set out for myself that day, this allows me to reassess – How can I approve? Am I overwhelming myself? These are all questions you can ask yourself and practice until you find the correct flow for you.
Staying Focused Tip #6: CommitTo3
Have you ever set goals for yourself but end up not having the motivation to follow through?
As of recently, The Abacus team introduced the CommitTo3 platform into our work life. CommitTo3 is a daily task manager that allows you to focus on your goals at hand for that particular day. Begin each day by committing to three of your most important tasks. When you have identified and completed your three goals, your success is shared with your peers and team. This creates a sense of encouragement for other team members to complete their goals as well.
As a person who likes to set out and track my responsibilities each day this is a great app that has truly helped me plan and center my day around my goals and priorities. Such a motivating and creative way to keep up with your schedule.