How to Stay Focused at Work When Working From Home

how to stay focused at work

The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the nature of work and work policies. To control and reduce the spread of the virus, governments enforced lockdown measures. This meant that most people had to work from home. Sadly, many can’t focus at work especially when they’re working remotely.

Most people are familiar with being very productive in an office setting. This explains why they are now finding all sorts of ways to avoid distractions in the home office setup.

This is entirely understandable given the current state of affairs. The world is in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic. Everyone’s lives have been upended. 

You are confined to only going out for groceries and essential items (in many states, that is). And maybe you have kids who are running around the house as well. This is not easy.

But we have to accept that these are challenging times. Think about the global economic recession and the high unemployment rates.

If you’re lucky enough to have a job, you can’t afford to be distracted and unproductive at work. In this article, we shall share tips and tricks to help you stay focused and productive. This list of time-tested fixes is guaranteed to help anyone who can’t focus at work.

Adopt Time Management Skills

During the lockdown, most people will be forced to hunker down which gives them the chance to learn new skills. One such skill is excellent time management. 

Statistics show that time management skills have increased the productivity levels of many remote workers.

The goal of time management is to help you become the best version of yourself. It only makes sense to use your time wisely, especially when you have many responsibilities. If you can’t focus at work, perhaps it’s time to adopt the following time management habits:

  • Create priority lists.
  • Avoid multitasking.
  • Use digital time management tools such as Time Doctor, Hubstaff, and Toggl.

Invest in Office Equipment Just Like Your Company’s Office 

Creating a replica of a good office environment helps. A good environment will help you to act professionally. It’ll help you to stay on task, and remain a productive employee. This is also true for students. 

Studies have shown that students who study in an environment that’s similar to the examination or test venue perform better. So take the time and invest in home office products. 

When you work from a well-equipped office, you’ll feel you’re in an actual office: A nice chair, second monitor, keyboard, and mouse are a good start.

Companies that invest in equipment notice an increase in employee productivity. Investing in products that increase productivity is worthwhile.  

Set Boundaries and Stick to Them

For those who have children, working with kids around can be difficult. But setting ground rules for your family members can help you have some time to work.  

It’s also helpful to maintain  the regular routine you are used to when going to the office. For example, your waking up, showering, and breakfast time should remain unchanged.. 

Maintaining your regular routine acts as a psychological boost as it helps you to get conditioned for work. 

Setting boundaries shouldnt end with your family members. It should apply to your friend who may want to catch up during working hours.

Boundary setting is also important when working as a group or team. It is very important to recognize when you are at your most productive and how to manage your time, and the time of those around you. 

Are you a morning person? A night person? 

Do you prefer to communicate in a certain way (i.e. phone calls, emails, video conferences, etc)? 

The answer to these questions can help you define exactly how to set boundaries and realize the value of time. 

It is difficult to set boundaries, especially when you have multiple jobs or a hectic schedule. But boundaries is your best bet to get the most value from your time.

For example, some people have made a boundary of not checking their work email after 8pm which helps them focus on other activities. 

Other people set boundaries by refusing to discuss important topics via email except when you call them on the phone. 

By speaking on the phone (as opposed to writing back and forth), one can save time by clearly and fully discussing important topics without anything getting lost in translation. 

Time management is a key ingredient to setting expectations and boundaries. You may want to consider something called the CEO or President test. 

Ask yourself the following: would a busy CEO (or the President of a country) spend their time on certain activities? If not, why would you? 

By setting boundaries and sticking to them, you are likely to be more productive by focusing on the most  important tasks

Set Goals

Setting goals helps you accomplish more and maintain a targeted approach to your work. Some peopleI like to keep a small whiteboard at their desk where they write down all their goals for the day, and check them off, one by one. 

This is a great way to stay focused and it’s very rewarding. Setting goals will serve as a gentle reminder to stay focused on a particular task.

Setting short and actionable goals can help you produce better quality work and  ensure that goals are met. 

Goal setting is important because goals are part of broader stories. These stories are what make us tick: our definitions of success, how we work, and what we accomplish.

Goal setting is not only about time, but it is about the allocation of resources. Knowing what you want to achieve is a great way to start your success journey.

One of the things you are taught in business school is that conceptualizing success and planning for it are intertwined. You can’t achieve a goal that you can’t measure, and you can’t measure progress without defining what progress looks and feels like. 

set goals

Understand and Implement the Basics of Goal Setting

Goal setting can be written, verbal, or mental. The key is that you clearly know what your goals are and can track progress of your sub and macro-goals. 

Goal setting is particularly important when you are young, finishing school and thinking about your first job or career. 

When you set goals you are able to focus on the most important variables. You’ll also learn to manage your time better and to prioritize important tasks. This way you’ll stop complaining can you can’t focus at work.

Spend Your Time With Role Models

It is important to be mindful of those that you spend time with and the effect they have on your ability to grow, think, and learn. 

It is advisable for young people to surround themselves only with people who value their time and know how to develop themselves.  Spend time with people who are focused on their career goals and relationship goals.

My sister is a top lawyer. She charges a princely sum per hour. She rarely has time to spend with people who don’t edify her.

My sister’s time management ethics taught me important lessons. Time is money. If you waste your time on frivolous relationships, you will lose your focus.. 

Schedule Time for Important Tasks

Although sticking to time and schedule may seem too old-fashioned, it is worth the effort, Creating schedules for tasks can make you more successful in your quest to focus at work.

Take one task at a time. Resist the temptation to multitask. Stick to the tasks on your priority list and be on schedule.

It takes time and focus to build any quality product or brand. Building your work-from-home career will require a lot of attention and intention. So create a schedule and focus on the tasks at hand..

Keep it All in Perspective

You must not work each day during the pandemic, but instead, you are in a pandemic and trying to work. 

Remember that there will be ups and downs throughout your days, because of the unpredictability of the period. 

So don’t be too hard on yourself as It is almost impossible to be fully productive during the current situation we. The least you can do is to deploy your best effort to make the most of this period. 

Be Optimistic About The Possibility Of Being Productive At Home.

One way to be productive while working at home is to employ good time management practices in your daily activities. 

You can spend time with people you enjoy, or read books you value, or engage in pleasurable activities that make your life worthwhile. 

While certain activities are in life are important, others are urgent, and some are both important and urgent.

Understanding the urgency and importance of tasks will help you prioritize your daily activities and not rush into every action.

You should think hard about going into some actions and activities that are neither urgent nor important to you.

Studying your role models and those you admire can teach you precious time management lessons on what’s important and what’s not.

Recognizing the most important things will help you allocate your best self and time to them and not waste them on frivolous activities.

Prioritizing time means thinking about how you spend your time, and investments, and also recognizing that you can’t buy certain things in life, like lost time and memories.

If you are working from home, you will definitely face many distractions. But you can overcome these with focus and precision. 

To avoid future regret, do what it takes to prioritize and manage your time to be more productive while working at home. 

It is true what they say, that people regret the things they didn’t do at the end of life, and not the things they did. 

By respecting your time and keeping work and life in perspective you can best ensure you put your best foot forward.

Conclusion

The early bird gets the worm or so the expression says. This need not be the case for the home office worker. You can start early or late as long as you maintain focus, increase productivity, and manage your time thoughtfully. 

The first step is to adopt time management skills. Time is the one asset we can’t get more of so use it wisely.

Invest in your surroundings and set necessary boundaries. This will enhance your focus and, ultimately, your outputs.

By setting clear goals and keeping your work in perspective you can reach your outcomes. Measure what matters and remain true to your north star. This will give you results you can be proud of in a timely manner.

About The Author:

Adam Naor is a writer at WFHAdviser.com, a site that helps remote workers thrive at home. He previously held positions on the Chrome & Maps teams at Google.

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