How I’ve learnt to keep focus when working from home

7 months. That’s how many months I have been working from home. 4 months is how many I have left, all being well of course. My completely digital day job has been moved home for the rest of 2020 and whilst I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work throughout the pandemic, it can be damn hard to focus on the job at hand – literally!

I really wouldn’t choose to work from home full time, but alas here I am. So how have I kept focus? Well, there were plenty of times where I had to be my own cheerleader and motivate myself to work, but I seem to have a bank of tools to use if I have a not so manic Monday.

Here’s how I’ve been keeping my head in the game, despite there being so many distractions at home…

Read : Is a routine the key to WFH happiness?

Change of scenery

And whilst this might seem exactly the opposite of working from home, changing your scenery could be the kick up the bum, get my work done change you need. Head to a local coffee shop, work space or even to a friends for a day of work. Being outside your comfortable home can help peel you away from the latest netflix series, pop album and even the fridge. Being elsewhere will certainly help focus the mind on your job.

Set breaks

Back in the office, you used to jump up for a cup of coffee at natural intervals. Without anyone else around you, nor a rhythm in your work, you can find yourself making too many breaks, or even not enough! Setting yourself regular breaks to make a coffee, grab a snack, or take a walk around the block can help give you the small breaks you need, and divide up your working day into small chunks.

Close the laptop at lunch

When in the office, its not uncommon to head to the on site cafe, visit a colleague, head into town or grab lunch locally. Working from home saves pennies, but can mean you spend lunch stuck in the same position as the rest of the day. Closing the screen for your lunch ensures you take a break, even for the sake of your eyes. Being away from you WFH desk and screen can help re-focus when you come back to work.

Switch off the distractions

Some people, me included, just hate silence. Having a TV show or radio playing in the background can help focus the mind – it does work for me. But for others, it doesn’t and only works as a nice distraction from their workload. Understand what distracts you and what helps keep you focused.

Make a good environment

No one really thought when working from home started that we could be working from home for such a prolonged amount of time. But even if you have a month, or 3 , left to work from home, comfort is key. Having a good place to be able to work is critical to keeping focus when working. Being uncomfortable breeds moving away from the workload and doing everything but.

Accept when you need a breather

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much work you need to do, you just can’t focus enough. Know when things aren’t working and you need a breather. Take a walk, switch on some music or even do some of those home chores. Taking a 10 minute breather from your work load can give you the breathing space you need to collect your thoughts and re-focus.

Keep lists

Never under estimate a good old list, especially when trying to focus. It can certainly feel over whelming when there is lots to do, so writing it all down to visulise, priortise and tick off can be a great way to manage a hectic schedule, and remain focused.

Are you working from home? How are you maintaining your focus when there are so many potential distractions?

Is a routine the key to WFH happiness?

Devastating news for me last week – my company will not re-open offices until all worldwide offices are safe to do so. And with one in the heart of NYC, and Donald Trump at the helm, walking back into a office, for me, looks like something set for 2021! *Gulp*

I know, I shouldn’t complain. My company have been ruddy brilliant at putting staff health above profit. We have been supported in every way possible and I’m incredibly lucky to have the chance to work in the safety of my own home. But damn, I will miss those chit chats over the boiling kettle with my colleagues.

It was after this news that I realised I probably can’t continue with my shoddy excuse of a routine. Especially if I was to be productive throughout this whole process! I have been working from home for a little over 2 months, and with very little space in my home, it has been very much a bodge job.

I won’t be alone in feeling like my full potential has not been met working from home. It’s hard to concentrate, and distinguish home from work. I find myself demotivated and frustrated from being within the same space to work, be productive and then relax and unwind after the day.

It’s certainly a strange and surreal experience we find our self in, now working from home when we are all so used to a office environment.

But with our usual office environments, we all had a little more structure, a routine per-say. Is that what we are all missing, beside the aimless chit chat over the boiling kettle?

Yes, yes yes.

Most of us have been plunged into working from our own home with little to no idea on how to ace it. And whilst prior to Covid plenty of us would have been intrigued at working from home, we can’t help but felt out of depth and eager to get back to the office because it just isn’t working.

We are not tired. We are staying up later. We are eating wayyy more than usual. We are often getting dressed at lunch and even then it’s sweats. We are a lazier edition of our former self. Having a routine can reverse our sleeping patterns, and help us ace that WFH malarkey.

Finding your Focus and motivation

Having a routine is crucial in maintaining focus on your work. We are all feeling the negative effects of working alone, and without colleagues who would usually be easily accessible.

Being focused on your workload, and being motivated to actually do your role from home are the two most important factors in nailing working from home successfully.

Part and parcel of being motivated and focused on your workload is having a routine. Having a clear structure to your day can help catergorise your working hours, and define your workload.

Your routine will not be a mirror of that routine you had defined when working in a office, but it is good practice to keep as much normality as you can, despite your new working environment.

Here’s some ways to define a new working routine that will help focus you on your workload and motivate you to work from home.

Read : Creating a Office Nook in any space!

Keep your work alarm

I know, no commute means more time in bed – but that’s causing you more home than good. Keep that usual alarm on, and use your extra time to get up and get ready for your day of work. Even if you scroll through instagram in bed, just being awake keeps your usual body clock ticking over.

Have breakfast

I used to have my brekkie at my desk around 9:30am. But my late alarm, morning conference and still being in pjs till 12pm strangely stopped me from having breakfast, and much rather a bigger, fattier lunch.

Make a conscious effort to have breakfast. It’s one of the most important meals of the day, don’t miss it because you’re being lazy. It can help with focus for your early morning tasks.

Keep snacking to a minimum, and healthy

You probably had the odd biscuit in the office with your cuppa, but having the kitchen cupboard just a few paces away is certainly a distraction for those frequent and often unhealthy snack sessions.

Try and keep any snacking to a absolute minimum , or make healthier choices. Have a bottle of water besides you whilst working, and perhaps have a bowl of fruit with you too. This will stop you having to head to the kitchen often, and you’ll have a healthy alternative at hand when you do get peckish.

Cut down your lunch portions

Skipping meals, like breakfast, makes you damn hungry around lunch time. You are then more likely to make a large, unhealthy lunch – fairly different from your usual sandwich you had back at the office. Be conscious of this – large meals will make you tired and sluggish – a real mood killer for WFH.

Get out

You are now spending a lot of time staring at a screen, with little to no let up. Even back in the office you would have frequent distractions from screen time, and socialisation to break up the day. Take time out from the screen when you can. Head out for a local walk, or head into your garden on your lunch and read a book. Be aware of the time you are spending in front of a screen.

Make yourself tired

We used to have so much activity heading into a office. Getting ready for work. The commute. In office socialisation. Work. The commute. And whilst it might not have felt like much before, by the evening we were mentally and physically tired from our day. All of these elements have now disappeared from our daily routine, leaving a huge gap in our activity.

It’s wise to kill that pent energy when you can. Going for a long walk after a work, a run or doing a at home workout can all help you burn energy and keep fit too. Making your body physically tired can help normalise your body clock and aid sleep.

Turn off the telly in the bedroom

TV’s really have no place in a bedroom. They can damage your ability to sleep and distract you when you should be heading to sleep. When working from home, it’s best to switch off the telly before bed. Mental stimulation like your tv and phone can be a huge problem when trying to sleep and establish your routine.

We have all undoubtedly taken advantage of working from home. Late nights, late mornings and good food can be a nice change, but not one we should be making a permanent fixture in our daily routines. It’s important to keep some normality, even when working from your spare room. Try and make a defined working space within your home too. This is really useful at mentally creating a work space and environment that you can focus within, and shut off from when the working day is done,.

For tips on creating a office space in your home, read this post.

How have you been working from home? Have you created a routine? Leave your thoughts and your own experiences in the comment section below.

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Working from home during the Corona outbreak : How to cope and look after your mental health

I don’t know about you, but the idea of working from home always seemed really rather appealing to me. I travel at least an hour to work, so I could save money and time from staying at home, and well, there’s a tv, sofa and my own personal supply of chocolate.

And yet, like so many others, I have been asked to work from home during the unprecedented corona outbreak across the UK. And as I reach the first weekend after working at home all week, I feel….deflated, bleak and well, lonely AF.

Yep, we are all feeling how working from home can quickly impact our mental state and our enthusiasm towards pretty much anything. I don’t want to cook, tv is boring ( and I even mean Netflix! ), and there’s only so many times I can call my colleagues, family or my mum – sorry mum!

Having said that, there is certainly a growing community of us all having to WorkFromHome and stay isolated. Which is great, because we are NOT alone! But before we all head into another week of working from our new office *cough sofa* , here’s somethings we should all do next week to try and keep spirits and out mental health in check.

Keep to a routine

We might not have a train to catch, tube to jump on or a lengthy drive to the office, keeping your usual routine will help. Keep it in place and use those extra minutes to prepare your new work space. This will massively help when we all have to eventually head back to the office too.

Get Dressed

I haven’t had a hugely productive day when I have been in my pjs. I would hugely recommend getting dressed, even if its to trackies and a jumper. This will massively help your mindset and hopefully pull you from the ‘let’s just lounge and be sleepy’ mindset.

Do NOT work from bed

It’s mainly a comfy space to sleep in, so being hunched over your work laptop quickly becomes uncomfy. PLUS, It doesn’t help with your mental attitude towards being productive nor wanting to bog down and crack on. Keep your work to you dining table or office space if you can.

Check in with colleagues

You will no doubt be missing the chit chats, catch ups and banter you usually have over the kettle. And whilst it won’t be a 100% the same, be sure to check in with your colleagues often. Creating Whattsapp groups and team video calls frequently can help you feel in touch with your work family, and keep spirits high for the whole team.

Take a walk often

Whilst we are being advised not to leave our homes, it’s pretty important for our mental state to get out and breath in some fresh air. Head to open spaces, and keep your social distancing in mind, but heading for a quick walk around the block, park or estate can quickly elevate stress and offer some time to clear your mind.

Get a good Playlist

Upbeat, pumpy music can quickly boost your mood and with a quick dance, get your endorphins running. Play music where possible and switch off those moody, solemn tunes – sorry Adele. We only want upbeat, jovial music during this time.

It can be really hard working from home, especially when the world seems so crazy outside. There are so many of us doing the same, as well as those less fortunate who aren’t able to, working to keep us all safe and healthy, as well as those being asked to go unpaid!

Keep each other in mind and look after one another. Hoping you all stay safe and well.

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Get in shape, in the comfort of your own home – no equipment necessary!

Despite popular belief, you really don’t need to be hitting a gym weekly to get fit. Gyms = membership pricing, which for some, is not an option. Much rather, committing to some easy workouts from the comfort of your own home can wield the same results.

So whether you want save some cash, or shoehorn some work-outs in your lunch break, stick around, I have some easy, no equipment needed exercises to get in shape, at home.

SQUATS

These are both my friend and enemy. After a short while not only do your muscles cry, but your bum grows, like pure magic. As they say pain is gain, and this exercise is well worth it if you want that Kim K (or shall I say Khloe K) booty!

Why not kick it up a notch, with jump squats and weighted squats!

PLANKING

This is my worst kind of at home routine and the only time on earth a minute really does feel like a lifetime. Stop staring at the stop watch and just keep thinking of the toned tum you could get with this super easy but mighty tough at home exercise.

LUNGES

If you haven’t noticed I am more interested in my bum and legs, but this does both. A hell load of stretching, but it works. Keep them low and do walking lunges to feel the full effect.

WALL SIT

These are another that sound too easy. You instantly realise how stupid that thought was when you can no longer stand the burn after 10 seconds. Stick at it and power through to tone those thighs and bum. Keep your back straight to make it a little more bearable.

CRUNCHES

Target that tum with crunches. There are a variety of crunches, but I prefer the alternating crunch to target my legs too! Short bursts in between other small exercises breaks up the burn.

BRIDGE RAISES

These are my favourite and always do my target amount and more. With little to no pain, I feel it works the most target areas.

DONKEY KICKS

Another personal favourite, I love the simplicity but the effectiveness of this exercise. Vary your donkey kicks with pulses and keeping your leg raised and making small circles.


Make sure you use a yoga matt or on a soft surface to keep your knees from aching!

Working out at home can save cash, break up a day and give you a real opportunity to focus on your conscious areas, in your very own home.

Do you have any at home exercise routines? Are there some that I should try? I would love to know and try something new, so comment below.