When nearly all activities move online and your home converts into your office, it’s easy to lose your focus.
Every little noise, every unexpected move or non-work related request may quickly hijack your attention. With constant online distractions such as social media or the steady flow of e-mails, you may easily lose your concentration and be less productive.
So, how can you maintain strong focus during your work, even if you work from home?
Have a look at these handy ideas:
1. Create a healthy workspace
To focus on work you need the right environment. This means something else for every person, but it’s usually a combination of the right equipment, comfort level and surrounding sounds.
For example, I can never work productively on a sofa or in a corner of my bedroom. To show up fully for my work and deliver the best possible results I have to be at my desk in my home office. Maybe the same is true for you or maybe you thrive in loud and chaotic spaces. No matter your preferences, make sure that your environment inspires and motivates you and is free from distractions.
Can you quickly get down to business when you reach your work space?
Or do you need to start from cleaning up the crumbs and removing empty glasses?
Make sure your work area is decluttered every time you enter and leave it. A tidy and clean workspace will put your mind at ease, a disorganised desk will make your brain cluttered and chaotic. Even if you’re convinced that you need some level of chaos for your creativity and flow, try making your space as minimal and as clean as possible. Then notice if such a surrounding changes the way you feel and work.
2. Use your work time for work only
This is very simple. Work, when it’s time for work. Rest, do your housework, socialise, play games or <insert your favourite time killer>, when you’re done with your work.
It’s not easy, especially when your working space is too close to your bedroom or your kitchen. You might get easily distracted by a long list of potential housework—a quick visit to the kitchen for a coffee may end up in a marathon between the washing machine, dishwasher and rubbish bin, because it will “only take a minute” or “help me relax during my break”.
Of course, you need to take short breaks during your work. Just make sure your breaks don’t consume too much of your energy and your focus. Stay in your concentration zone, even you don’t feel like working. Sometimes all you need to do to find the right flow is to simply start doing what you have to do. If you wait for the right mindset, the right focus level or the right alignment of stars, you may never complete any task.
3. Boost your energy
If you constantly struggle to keep your wandering mind on track, it might be a sign that you need a better source of energy. Our thoughts usually drift away if there’s not enough power for the brain to function properly. The brain’s neurons need energy to continue working, and if they lack glucose and glycogen, their capacity—thus also your mental power—will be reduced.
That’s why you need a healthy diet. Make sure your menu includes brain-boosting ingredients such as avocados, blueberries, walnuts, broccoli, turmeric, dark chocolate, bananas or fatty fish. These products are rich in good fats, antioxidants, minerals, and essentials vitamins that will improve your memory and increase your focus.
Remember also to establish the right morning routine, such as physical exercise and find some time for mindfulness and meditation. That’s another way to boost your energy and to increase your focus. For example, many researchers prove that meditating or practicing mindfulness influences our brain’s activity. When you meditate, your brain stays steady not only during your practice, but also during other activities. That means it’s easier to keep your focus on the task at hand and be more in control.
Over to you
What is your best strategy to stay in your concentration zone?
What do you do to make sure you can work productively?
P.S. I share more tips on establishing the right approach to your work in my free e-book “How to make the best use of your time”.
And if you’re looking for advice on how to juggle your work with motherhood, have a look at my book “You’ve got this: How to continue your freelance career when you become a mother”.