How I Stay Focused While Working at Home
Updated: Jul 8
COVID-19 has completely changed the world. For many of us, that means adapting to the challenges of working from home. What seemed amazing at first, now feels like a consistent Groundhog Day filled with temptations. After all, when your office is the living room couch you're just two buttons away from zoning out on Netflix for the next three hours.
As someone who generally struggles with maintaining attention and also works three jobs, keeping focused right now is non-negotiable. Read on for the best tips I have on how to stay focused and get things done during quarantine. You've got this!
1. Plan out your day.
At the start of every day, I plan out my agenda. Think of this almost like a school schedule. Block out hour by hour what you're going to do for the day and keep your schedule in a visible place. I would not recommend doing this on google calendar, because the whole point is to have a visible reminder throughout the day. I recommend investing in a daily planner (links below) or jotting this out on a white board. Now, the trick is to do this each and every day and hold yourself accountable to what you schedule out.
Some of my favorite daily planners:
Ivory Paper Co: https://www.ivorypaperco.com
Cabrix Planner from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G5WWHPM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
At-A-Glance Daily Planner from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/AT-GLANCE-Appointment-Monthly-Planner/dp/B07QN7YVBG?tag=176239-besthourlyplanners-20
2. Create small routines.
Personally, I find that creating regular routines can be challenging right now. I never know when an emergency meeting at work is going to pop up. It's difficult to create a regular weekly routine that I can commit to, that's why small routines are critical. For example, I know that every day I wake up at 6:40 and make my coffee and every day I eat lunch at 12pm promptly. These small routines that I can count on help to add a bit of normalcy and help to keep me on track. By having a morning routine, I'm not oversleeping and procrastinating. Having a strict lunch time, keeps me motivated in the morning and excited for a little break.
What small routines can you add into your day? Here's some ideas
Daily Coffee Break
Daily Workout routine (read more on this below)
Daily Prayer or Reflection
3. Take breaks!
This might seem counterintuitive, but breaks really do help me stay productive. I don't know if you relate, but sometimes I feel like I only have so much brain power to use. Working for long stretches of time usually leads to me feeling a bit fried and unable to focus on any one thing for too long. Usually, this is when you'll see me bouncing between ten different tabs on my computer, staring off into space, talking to literally anyone around (even if that's just myself), and generally just goofing off.
I usually plan an hour break at lunch time and a half-hour break from 3-3:30. Taking a break helps me to clear my head, regain some of my brain power and focus back in again. Check out the list below for how I spend my break-time.
Doing a puzzle. I'm obsessed with the Thomas Kinkade Disney puzzles! Link: https://www.amazon.com/Ceaco-Thomas-Kinkade-Collection-Aladdin/dp/B00RM1U0V4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Thomas+kinkade+disney+puzzle&qid=1589472655&s=office-products&sr=8-1
Watching TV. Current binges include Supernatural and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
4. Make time for exercise.
Quarantine 15 is a real thing. The start of working from home consisted of a lot of sitting in my bed and eating pasta for every meal. The weight gain isn't the only concern here. Turns out I tend to feel pretty darn sluggish and unmotivated the longer I sit around! Who would have thought? Taking time to move my body and keep the blood flowing has been great for my focus. Check out my favorite ways to exercise right now.
ZUMBA Super Cardio Dance Party (available on Amazon Prime)
30 Days of Yoga to a New You (available on Amazon Prime)
5. Celebrate small victories.
So, full disclosure, this isn't something I've actually been doing... BUT I saw the tip recently and couldn't resist adding it in here. At the end of the week, take a moment to celebrate getting through another WFH week! Treat yourself to some Starbucks, a movie, a glass of wine... whatever you need to do to celebrate the hard work you've been putting in. Oh, and it's a great way to remind yourself its Friday!
Until next time...